Science and terminology
  1. Abduct

    To move away from the centre line of the body, or from a neighbouring part.
  2. Ablation

    Surgical removal of a body part.
  3. Absorption

    The assimilation of substances into cells, either by diffusion or osmosis.
  4. Actrapid

    An insulin product for diabetics.
  5. Acute

    A condition with rapid onset or short duration.
  6. Adduct

    Moving a limb towards the centre line of the body.
  7. Adeno-

    Pertaining to glands.
  8. Adsorption

    The attachment of one substance to another, such as when a liquid bonds with a vapour.
  9. Aetiology

    The study of the causes of disease.
  10. Afferent

    From the periphery to the centre.
  11. Analeptic

    A drug which stimulates the central nervous system.
  12. Analgesia

    Relief of pain.
  13. Angi-

    Pertaining to a blood vessel.
  14. Anion

    A negatively charged ion.
  15. Anodyne

    A pain relieving drug.
  16. Ante-

  17. Anti-

  18. Antibiotic

    A substance which destroys or prevents growth of bacteria.
  19. Anticonvulsant

    Substance which relieves convulsions eg, Phenytoln.
  20. Anxiolytic

    Substances which relieve anxiety eg, Benzodiazapines such as Diazepam.
  21. Apheresis

    Extraction of a specific component from donated blood, with the remainder being returned to the donor.
  22. Artefact

    Something introduced or made by man, which may create misleading results.
  23. Aspiration

    (1) Inhalation, (2) Drawing off fluid from a cavity.
  24. -asthenia

  25. Atoms

    • Atomic Number: The number of protons of an element.
    • Mass Number (nucleon number, A): The total number of protons and neutrons in the nucleus of an atom.
    • Unified Atomic Mass Unit (Dalton, symbols Da, u): 1/12 the mass of the nucleus of an atom of Carbon-12. (Mass of 1 nucleon)
    • Atomic Mass: The mass of an isotope of an element, measured in Atomic Mass Units. (Carbon-12 = 12 AMUs)
    • Relative Atomic Mass (Ar) (Old term: Atomic weight): The ratio of the weighted average mass of all isotopes of an element, to 1/12 of the mass of an atom of Carbon-12.
    • Relative Formula Mass: Of a compound, is the total of the Relative Atomic Masses (Ar) of all of the atoms in its chemical formula. Eg, the Mr of Carbon dioxide is 12 (Ar of Carbon) plus 32 (2 * Ar of O2 = 2 * 16) = 44. Therefore, one Mole of Carbon Dioxide has a mass of 44g and Relative Formula Mass of 44.
    • Relative Molecular Mass (Mr): The same as Relative Formula Mass, but for a molecule, rather than a compound.
    • Molar Mass (M): Mass per mole of a substance, in kilograms per mole (historically, g/mol). eg, Oxygen is 15.9994 g/mol, and O2 is 31.9988 g/mol.
  26. Autoclave

    A device for sterilizing instruments, using high pressure steam.
  27. Bas-

    Refers to the base of something.
  28. Becquerel

    S.I. derived unit of radiation measurement.
  29. Beta Lactam antibiotics

    A family of antibiotics which includes:
    • Penicillins
    • Cephalosporins
    • Cephamycins
    • Carbapenems
    • Monobactams
    • Beta-lactamase inhibitors
    Beta-lactam antibiotics inhibit the growth of bacteria by inactivating a set of enzymes located in the bacterial cell membrane, which are involved in the third stage of cell wall synthesis.
  30. Blood transfusion

    See  Anaesthetics
  31. Brady-

  32. Cannula

    A hollow tube, inserted into a vessel, to allow administration of fluids.
  33. Cata-

  34. Catheter

    A hollow flexible tube for insertion into a body cavity, duct, or vessel, to allow the drainage of fluids.
  35. Cation

    A positively charged ion.
  36. Caudal

    Synonym for posterior.
  37. Cefalexin (Cephalexin)

    A broad spectrum cephalosporin antibiotic, used to treat such things as urinary, joint, and bone infections.

    Cefalexin prevents bacteria from forming cell walls, which are vital for their survival, because they keep unwanted substances from entering their cells, and stop the contents leaking out. Cefalexin impairs the bonds that hold the bacterial cell wall together. This allows holes to appear in the cell walls, which kills the bacteria.

    Cefalexin is one alternative to patients with Penicillin allergy.
  38. Cephal-

    Referring to the head.
  39. Cephalad

    Towards the head or anterior section.
  40. Cephalosporin

    A cephem sub-class of beta-lactam antibiotics, used as prophylaxis and treatment against Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria. Patients who are allergic to Penicillin, may also be allergic to Cephalosporins.
  41. -centesis

  42. Chole-

    Referring to bile/gallbladder.
  43. Chronic

    A long lasting disease state.
  44. Cleido-

    Referring to the clavicle.
  45. Concentration

    The ratio of solute to its solvent. A high ratio means the solution is concentrated; if the the ratio is low, then the solution is diluted.
  46. COSHH

    Control of Substances Hazardous to Health. A regulation of the Health and Safety at Work Act. See   Guidelines
  47. Cost-

    Referring to the rib.
  48. Cross matching

    The testing of compatibility between a sample of blood from a donor, and the blood of a recipient. The mixed blood is analysed, by microscope, for clumping of the blood. An absence of clumping indicates a successsful match. The process takes approximately 40 minutes.
  49. Cruciate

    Cross shaped.
  50. Cyst-

    Referring to the bladder.
  51. Cyto-

    Referring to cells.
  52. Cytology

    The study of cells.
  53. Cytotoxic

    A toxic effect on cells.
  54. Diffusion

    The movement of particles, in a gas or liquid, from a region of high to low concentrtation.
  55. Displacement Volume

    The volume occupied by a powder when reconstituted with a diluent (solvent). For example, if 250 mg of a drug has a displacement volume of 0.2 ml, and 4.8 diluent is added to it, then the solulion formed will be 250 mg in 5 ml.
  56. Dissolving

    When a solute becomes a homogenous mixture (solution) with another substance (solvent). The solute breaks down from a large crystalline formation, into smaller groups of molecules. For example, in salt water, the water (solvent) breaks off salt molecules from the lattice of salt crystals. This is achieved by the natural polarity of water molecules tending to envelope salt molecules.
  57. Dolorimetry

    The measurement of pain.
  58. Dys-

  59. Ecto-

    Referring to the outside.
  60. -ectomy

    Removal of, for example, an organ.
  61. Ectopic

    Away from the normal position or place.
  62. Efferent

    From the centre to the periphery
  63. EMLA cream

    Eutectic Mixture of Local Anaesthetic (lignocaine and prilocaine): Applied 1-5 hours prior to venepuncture. Once removed, the anaesthetic effect wears off rapidly within 20-30 minutes. It can cause vasoconstriction, so Ametop is often preferred, Not suitable for children under 1 year.
  64. Endo-

    Referring to the inside.
  65. Enter-

    Referring to the intestines.
  66. Epi-

  67. Eversion

    Turning something inside out.
  68. Exo-

  69. Excise

    To cut something out.
  70. First intention

    The healing of a clean wound, with new tissue formation and minimal scarring.
  71. Fluid challenge

    A method of determining hypovolaemia.   More
  72. Foley Catheter

    A flexible tube, which is passed through the urethra, and into the bladder. The tube has two separated channels, or lumens, running down its length. One lumen is open at both ends, and allows urine to drain out into a collection bag. The other lumen has a valve on the outside, which connects to a balloon at the tip; the balloon is inflated with sterile water, when it lies inside the bladder, in order to stop it from slipping out.
  73. Formalin

    Solution of formaldehyde in water, used for preserving body tissue.
  74. Gamgee Tissue

    A surgical dressing invented by Dr. Joseph Sampson Gamgee, Birmingham, in 1880. An absorbent gauze and cotton tissue, for cushioned wound protection. Gamgee is used for highly exuding wounds, such as cavity and surgical wounds, and can also be used for basic padding, but is not designed for pressure point protection.
  75. Gastro-

    Referring to the stomach.
  76. Group and Save

    The determination of a patient´s ABO blood group, and screening serum for the presence of antibodies to common red cell antigens which cause transfusion reactions.

    For a patient who is not expected to need a blood transfusion, the group testing will save time, in case a transfusion does become necessary, because only a cross match test will then be needed. The process takes approximately 40 minutes. (Use pink topped bottles for sending to blood bank.)
  77. Haem-

    Referring to the blood.
  78. Hepato-

    Referring to the liver.
  79. Hist-

    Referring to tissue.
  80. Histology

    The study of tissues.
  81. Hypertonic

    Excessive tension of a blood vessel or muscle. A solution with higher osmotic pressure than normal body fluid.
  82. Iatrogenic

    Injury caused by a doctor/practitioner.
  83. Infra-

  84. Insufflation

    The act of blowing a substance into the body, such as breathing gases during IPPV, or using carbon dioxide to expand the abdominal cavity, during laparoscopic procedures.
  85. Inter-

  86. Intra-

  87. Intrathecal

    Introducing something into the space under the arachnoid membrane of the brain or spinal cord.
    See  Spinal anaesthesia
  88. Ion

    An atom which has either lost (cation) or gained (anion) an electron, giving it a positive (cation) or negative (anion) charge.
  89. Isch-

    Too little of something.
  90. Iso-

    Equal (in pressure, temperature, concentration...).
  91. Isotonic

    Substances having equal pressure. Fluids with equal osmotic pressure eg, saline solution and blood.
  92. Isotope

    An instance of a particular atom which varies acording to the number of neutrons it contains.
  93. -itis

  94. Juxta-

    Adjacent to.
  95. Laparo-

    Referring to the abdomen.
  96. Lumen

    The space inside a tube.
  97. Masto-

    Referring to the breast.
  98. Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency

    The  MHRA is the UK Competent Authority for blood safety. It has responsibility to ensure that there is a mechanism for the reporting and recording of serious adverse blood reactions and events. This mechanism is realised by  SABRE, an online system which allows the submission of notifications and subsequent confirmations of blood related adverse events.
  99. -megaly

  100. Mento-

    Referring to the Mentum (chin).
  101. Molality

    The number of Moles of a substance (solute) when contained in 1 kg of solvent.
  102. Molar solution

    One mole of solute per litre of solution.
  103. Molarity

    The number of Moles of a substance when contained in 1 litre of solution.
  104. Mole

    The SI unit of measurement for the amount of substance which contains as many elementary entities (such as atoms, ions, and electrons) as there are in 12g of isotope carbon-12. The numerical value of a substance's atomic mass is the same as that of it's molar mass: the mass of one mole of that substance in grams.
  105. Myo-

    Referring to muscle.
  106. Naloxone

    An opioid antagonist, which counters depression of the central nervous system, caused by opioids.
  107. National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence

    NICE is the NHS body which publishes evidence based opinions and guidelines on healthcare issues, and which healthcare professionals are expected to take into account when exercising clinical judgement.  Guidelines are available for many conditions, such as Surgical Site Infections and Inadvertent Hypothermia.
  108. Neuroleptic drugs

    Drugs which act on the nervous system.
  109. Newton

    Unit of force, which gives a mass of 1 kg an acceleration of 1 metre per second/per second.
  110. Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

    A widely used class of drugs which have three main uses...
    • Pain relief - particularly post-operatively
    • Reduce inflammation
    • Reduce temperature (fever)

    High risk groups: Heart problems, Strokes, Aged 75+, Diabetics, Smokers, Hypertensives.

    Not recommended for: Pregnancy, Breastfeeding, Kidney disease, Liver disease, Stomach ulcers.

    Examples: Diclofenac, Ibuprofen, Celecoxib, Aspirin.
  111. Obtund

    To deaden or dull the sensitivity of something.
  112. Obturator

    Something which closes an opening.
  113. -oma

    Referring to a mass, such as a tumour.
  114. Onco-

    Suffix for the name of a tumour.
  115. Oncology

    The study of tumours.
  116. Oo-

    Referring to the ovum.
  117. Opiate

    Natural alkaloids from the resin of the opium poppy. Used in the production of Morphine and Codeine.
  118. Opioids

    Chemicals with good analgesic properties. Opioids bind to opioid receptors, found principally in the central and peripheral nervous system, and the GI tract.  More Opiods
  119. Orchi-

    Referring to the testiss.
  120. Ortho-

    Greek: "straight"
  121. Orthogonal

    Involving right angles, such as when two things are perpendicular to each other.
  122. Os-

    Referring to bone.
  123. Osmolality

    The concentration of osmotically active particles, in a solution, measured as osmoles of solute, per kg of solvent.
  124. Osmolarity

    Osmotic concentration: The concentration of osmotically active particles, in a solution. Measurement is given as osmoles of solute per litre of solution.
  125. Osmole

    Measurement of the number of moles of a solute which contribute to the osmotic pressure of a solution.
  126. Osmosis

    The diffusion of fluid (the solvent), through a partially permeable (for the solvent - not the solute) membrane, from a low concentration solution of solutes, to a higher concentration solution. This movement, driven by the internal energy of the solute molecules, tends to equalize the concentration of solute on each side, with the result that the amount of solvent on each side is not equal. Osmosis does not require input of energy, but does use kinetic energy.
  127. Osmotic pressure

    The pressure, which has to be applied to a solution, to prevent the net flow of solvent across the membrane, thus maintaining equilibrium.
  128. -ostomy

    Surgically created opening.
  129. -otomy

    Referring to an incision to make an opening.
  130. Oximetry

    Measurement of peripheral haemoglobin oxygen saturation, using an infrared electromagnetic wave sensor.
  131. Pachy-

    A thickening.
  132. Partition coefficient

    The ratio of the amount of substance, in one phase, such as liquid or gas, to the amount in another phase, at a particular temperature, with the two phases being of equal volume, and at equilibrium with each other.

    The blood:gas coefficient is the ratio of the amount of anaesthetic in blood and gas, when the two phases are of equal volume and pressure, and in equilibrium, at 37 degrees C. It is the partial pressure of the agent in the blood which, at equilibrium, equals the partial pressure in the brain, that produces anaesthesia.

    Agents with a low blood:gas coefficient exert a high partial pressure and, therefore, a more rapid onset and offset of action.

    The oil:gas coefficient is an index of potency, and is inversely related to MAC. According to the Meyer-Overton theory, the action of an anaesthetic agent is thought to be related to the lipid solubility.

  133. Pascal

    Unit of pressure, equivalent to the force of 1 Newton on 1 square metre. 100 kP is equal to 1 Bar. Mean atmospheric pressure, at mean sea level, is 101.345 kP, which equals 10.334 M/H2O, or 760.15 mm/Hg, or 1.01345 Bar.
  134. Penicillin alternatives

    Cephalosporins (Cefuroxime), Carbapenems (Imipenem and Meropenem), Macrolides (Erythromycin, Clarithromycin), Vancomycin, Bactrim.
  135. Perle

    A capsule of medicine.
  136. Pharmacokinetics

    What the body does to a drug, in terms of absorption, distribution, and elimination, either by metabolism or excretion.
  137. Phleb-

    Referring to the veins.
  138. Phren-

    Referring to the diaphragm.
  139. -pnea

    Referring to the breath.
  140. Posology

    The study of drug dosages.
  141. Postpartum

    The period shortly after giving birth.
  142. -pril

    Antihypertensive drugs - ACE inhibitors.
  143. Pressure

    Force per unit area. The standard unit of pressure is the pascal (Pa), which is equivalent to 1 Newton of force over 1 square Metre.
    Standard Atmospheric Pressure (1 atmosphere) is used as a reference for gas densities and volumes; defined, at sea-level and 273 degrees (Kelvin), as 1.01345 bar, or 101.325 kPa.
    Basics   ||   Gas pressure   ||   Gas laws  
  144. Prognosis

    Predicted outcome of an illness.
  145. QDS (Quater in Die Sumendus)

    Prescription instruction to take 4 times a day.
  146. Rachi-

    Referring to the spine.
  147. Radical

    Removing rather than treating a problem.
  148. Recrudescence

    A resumption of a condition, or symptoms, some days after a remission period.
  149. Relapse

    A resumption of a condition, or symptoms, some time (weeks/months/years) after a remission period.
  150. Ren-

    Referring to the kidneys.
  151. -rrhage

    Referring to a discharge.
  152. -rrhea

    Referring to a flow.
  153. SABRE

    Serious Adverse Blood Reactions and Events. The system for reporting problems encountered during the transfusion of blood and blood products.  SABRE protocol.
  154. Saline solution

    Sodium chloride dissolved in water. A 0.9% solution is isotonic with blood.
  155. Salping-

    Referring to the fallopian tubes.
  156. Sarc-

    Referring to the flesh.
  157. Scler-

  158. Sliding Scale Insulin administration

    A regime for intravenous administration of short-term insulin according to blood glucose levels (eg, 5 mmol/litre), sometimes to supplement long acting insulin. The sliding scale approach is used when, for example, the diabetic patient is ill, or hospitalised.

    Finger prick capillary glucose levels are monitored every 1-2 hours, and the insulin dose is titrated according to those readings. Because sliding scale insulin injections are given in reaction to glucose levels, it is not necessary for a Doctor to be consulted each time.

    The sliding scale approach can result in large swings in glucode levels, and does not prevent high levels of glucose from occurring, because it is not a proactive way of managing blood glucose levels.

    NHS Diabetes
  159. Solubility

    The affinity of a solute for a medium, such as blood or fat tissue.
  160. Solution

    If two substances are mixed, such that the composition becomes uniform throughout the mixture, then that is called a homogeneous mixture, or solution. If the mixture does not have a uniform composition, throughout the sample, it is called a heterogeneous mixture.

    Solutions can contain solid, liquid, or gas components, or a combination of these phases. See also Dissolving

  161. Solvent

    The component of a solution which is present in the greatest amount.
  162. Soma-

    Referring to the body of something.
  163. Specific gravity

    The ratio of the density, ρ (rho), of an object to the density of a reference value, such as water (1 kg/litre).
  164. Spondyl-

    Referring to the spine.
  165. Sten-

  166. Sterets

    Brand of alcohol swab for cleaning skin prior to injection.
  167. -stomy

    An opening.
  168. Supra-

    Over or above.
  169. Sym/syn-

  170. Tarso-

    Referring to the ankle.
  171. Tetracycline

    A broad spectrum polyketide antibiotic, typically used to treat urinary and respiratory tract infections.
  172. Tonicity

    The relative concentration of two solutes, in a solution, and separated by a semi-permeable membrane. Also described as the measure of the effective osmotic pressure gradient, as defined by the water potential of the two solutions. The relative concentration determines the direction and amount of diffusion.
  173. The Productive Operating Theatre (TPOT)

    Scheme to improve four key dimensions of quality in Operating Theatres:
    • Team performance and staff wellbeing
    • Safety and reliability of care
    • Value and efficiency
    • Patient experience and outcomes
  174. -tripsy

    Referring to a crushing.
  175. Vas-

    Referring to a vessel.
  176. Vallecula

    A crevice, depression, or furrow in something.
  177. Vasopressor

    An agent which produces vasoconstriction - constriction of the blood vessels - with consequent rise in blood pressure.  More Vasopressor
  178. Viscosity

    An internal property of a fluid which offers resistance to flow.
  179. Viscus

    Pertaining to organs within the body cavites, such as the abdomen.
  180. Zithromax

    A macrolide sub-class antibiotic, derived from Erythromycin, and used for bacterial infections.