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A collection of pus. It is a defensive reaction of the body to prevent the spread of infectious materials to other parts of the body.
Absence of breathing. Someone who is having apneic periods is having periods of not breathing.
- Arterial lines
like an IV but goes directly into an artery rather than a vein. Medical staff can obtain multiple blood samples to measure oxygen levels in the blood. Blood pressure can also be monitored with arterial lines.
Blood vessel that brings blood with nutrients from the heart to other parts of the body.
The decrease in muscle size, due to the muscle not being used. Also referred to as muscle wasting away.
Presence of bacteria in the blood.
Organisms that can cause infection (bacterial infection)
Not aggressive, not generally harmful to health. (Trick to remember difference between benign and malignant: B for Benign is Better)
- Blood poisoning
Abnormally slow heart
- Broad-spectrum antibiotics
- Central Venous Catheter
Also called a central line, a central venous catheter looks like an ordinary intravenous, but is inserted into a vein that goes directly to the heart. A central line is used the same way as an IV, but can usually stay in place for longer periods and can tolerate medications that may be too irritating for regular IVs.
- Cerebral function
- Computed tomography scan (CT scan)
Specialized scan that used a combination of x-rays and computer technology to provide a more in-depth view than x-rays.
- Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy (CRRT)
Kidney dialysis, cleaning blood when the kidneys cannot do it.
Substance found in blood and urine that results from normal body chemical reactions. A high blood creatinine level indicates kidney problems.
Tests that allow bacteria to grow in a lab so infections can be identified.
Inflammation of the bladder, often caused by a urinary tract infection (UTI).
Disease of the endocrine system, where the pancreas is unable to produce insulin or your body cannot effectively use insulin to metabolize glucose (sugar).
To learn about the connection with sepsis, check out Sepsis and Diabetes.
Someone who is diaphoretic is sweating heavily. Diaphoresis is sweating to an unusual degree.
- Drotrecogin alfa
Human activated protein C that helps the blood to clot and reduces inflammation in the body.
Swelling in part or all of the body caused by excess fluid.
- Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)
Graph of the electrical activity in the heart.
Inflammation of the endocardium, a thin, smooth membrane that lines the inside of the heart. The endocardium also forms the surface of the heart valves.
A fistula is an abnormal opening or connection between two body parts. For example, there can be a fistula between the vagina and the rectum.
- Hospital-acquired infections
Infections that patients develop while in a hospital or healthcare facility, also called nosocomial infections.
Abnormally high blood pressure.
Abnormally high body temperature.
Abnormally low blood pressure.
Abnormally low body temperature.
Not enough oxygen in your blood system to provide adequate oxygen levels to your body’s organs.
A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is given to relieve pain and reduce inflammation and fever. Brand names include Motrin and Advil, among others.
- Intravenous (IV)
Fluid that is given to a patient through a small catheter that is placed in the vein.
- IV bolus
Administration of large amounts of IV fluid over a short period of time.
Yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes that occurs when there is too much bilirubin in the blood system.
A jagged cut or wound.
- Lactate acid
Substance formed when sugars in the body are broken down for energy without the presence of oxygen. Usually indicates breathing difficulty.
A minimally invasive type of surgery. Unlike traditional surgery, laparascopic surgery is done through tiny incisions through which surgeons insert long instruments and a camera to guide them. Laparoscopies are often done for observation, to see what is happening inside without having to make large incisions.
A general feeling of discomfort, fatigue, and feeling unwell.
- Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
Bacteria that is resistant to many types of antibiotics.
Micro-organism that causes disease.
- Nasal canula
A narrow tube connected to an oxygen supply that rests just under the nose. Used instead of an oxygen mask.
Tissue cell death. Necrotic tissue is no longer living and is usually black. In most cases, necrotic tissue must be removed to prevent further complications.
- NG (nasogastric) tube
An NG tube, or nasogastric tube, is a hollow catheter that is inserted through the nose, follows the esophagus (the tube that brings food from your mouth to your stomach), and stops in your stomach. This tube can be used to drain fluids out of your stomach or to give you fluids, such as special nutrition if you cannot eat or drink.
- Normal saline (NS)
Water and sodium combination; commonly given by IV
- Nosocomial infection
Significant drop in urine production; making less urine than you should.
A medical doctor who has specialized in caring for patients who have cancer.
- Organ dysfunction
Body organ that is not working as it should.
- Organ failure
Body organ that has stopped working.
- Perforated bowel
A perforation (hole, tear, nick) in the bowel that allows the contents of the bowel, or intestine, to leak into the abdominal cavity.
Small blood cells that help are essential for blood clotting.
Infection in the lung or lungs
To learn more about pneumonia, hospital-acquired or community-acquired, please visit Sepsis and Pneumonia.
- Protein C
A substance in your blood that prevents it from clotting.
Red and purple tiny dots under the skin that may appear when someone has a low platelet count or “leaky” blood vessels.
A medical doctor who specializes in using imaging (x-rays, etc) to treat and manage certain illnesses, such as cancer.
Toxic response to infection or injury. It is a medical emergency that requires early detection and treatment for survival. (Click for full definition)
- Septic shock
The old term for sepsis, a life-threatening condition caused by bacteria and their toxins circulating in the blood stream.
- Severe sepsis
Your spleen is a small fist-sized organ located on the left side, just above your stomach, protected by your ribs on your left side. As part of your lymphatic system, your spleen helps fights infection among its other roles. It is possible to live without your spleen if it needs to be removed due to injury.
Phlegm, mucus from the respiratory tract
Abnormally fast heart rate.
A surgical procedure that creates an opening through the neck into the trachea. Once a tube is placed into the trachea through the opening, air can pass through. This trach tube or tracheostomy tube can be then hooked up to a ventilator.
Some people have permanent tracheostomies and can breathe through them without the use of a ventilator.
Assessing patients and sorting them into order of severity, giving priority to more seriously ill or injured patients.
Very narrow “tubes” that run from the kidneys – one from each – to the urinary bladder.
“Tube” that runs from the urinary bladder through which urine flows when urinating.
- Urinary bladder
A sac-like structure that acts as a holding tank for urine.
- Urinary catheter
- Urinary tract
- Urinary Tract Infection
Infection anywhere in the urinary tract.
- Urine dipstick
Quick test that can be done in an emergency room, clinic or doctor’s office, to detect signs of infection in the urine.
A medical doctor who specializes in the urinary system.
Man-made preparation that when injected or ingested, gives immunity against certain viruses.
Medications given to patients to raise their blood pressure, given if patients become dangerously hypotensive.
Blood vessels that bring blood back to the lungs and heart for nourishment.
Machine that breathes for you after you have been intubated.
- Wound Vac
A wound vac, or more correctly a V.A.C. (Vacuum Assisted Closure) is a special type of dressing that helps heal deep wounds from the inside out. It requires special equipment and regular dressing changes.