27 medical definitions to help you understand ER
We love scrubbing up and stepping inside the Emergency Room, but sometimes the medical jargon goes a little over our heads.
Here’s some definitions to help you understand things better when you’re watching ER.
1. ABCs – how the doctors evaluate the seriousness of a trauma victim. A for airway, B for breathing, C for circulation.
2. Anaphylaxis – an extreme allergic reaction, usually involves heart failure and difficulty breathing.
3. Aneurysm – when blood swells up in the wall of an artery, aneurysms can burst and be catastrophic.
4. Angioplasty – a common heart procedure, where a balloon is inflated inside the artery to increase blood flow.
5. Bagging – a manual procedure to help somebody breathe, using a handheld squeezy bag and a face mask.
6. Blood culture – when a blood sample is incubated, so the bacteria can multiply and be tested.
7. Bounceback – a patient who comes back to hospital, with the same complaint, shortly after being discharged.
8. Code brown – when a patient doesn’t make it to the bathroom in time…
9. Crasher – somebody who passes out in the ER. Not usually a patient, but a loved one who is shocked or overwhelmed emotionally.
10. Cyanosis – a blush to the skin, usually appears when there isn’t enough oxygen in the blood.
11. Defibrillation – the act of restoring the heart to its normal rhythm.
12. DNR – do not resuscitate.
13. ECG – electrocardiogram, used to measure heart activity.
14. EEG – electroencephalogram, a test used to record electrical patterns in a patient’s brain.
15. Edema – an excessive build-up of fluid.
16. Endoscope – a long, bendy tube with a light on the end of it, used for internal observation.
17. Haemorrhage – dramatic and sudden loss of blood.
18. Hypertension – severe high blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease and strokes.
19. Intubation – inserting a plastic tube into the trachea, to help an unconscious person breathe.
20. IV – intravenous, meaning through the vein.
21. Lumbar puncture – withdrawing fluid from the spine, through a hollow needle. Also referred to as a spinal tap.
22. MRI – magnetic resonance imaging i.e taking a picture of somebody’s insides using strong magnetic fields and radio frequencies.
23. Myopathy – disease of the muscles, which reduces their strength and function.
24. Tachycardic – when a person’s heart rate exceeds a normal resting rate, usually over 100 beats per minute.
25. Triage – system used to prioritise patients in an emergency.
26. Veinpuncture – standard procedure of drawing blood from a vein, for testing purposes.
27. Wheezer – a patient that has asthma, or difficulty breathing.