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- Examples are: Tonsillitis & Appendicitis
- Abnormal Condition
- Examples are: cyanosis (blueness due to lack of oxygen)
- inside the head (brain)
- encephalitis (inflammation of the brain)
- anencephalic (born without a brian)
- cephalgia (a headache)
- membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord
- meningitis (inflammation of the membranes)
- spinal cord
- myelogram (x-ray of the spinal cord)
- neuroma (tumor)
- neuritis (inflammtion)
- difficult, painful, abnormal
- dyslexia (difficulty reading)
- hernia, abnormal protrusion of structure out of normal anatomical position
- Meningomyelocele (protrusion of the membranes and spinal cord)
- disease, abnormality
- Encephalopathy (disease of the brain)
- Neuropathy (disease of the nerves)
- Aplasia (no development)
- Hyperplasia (over development)
- Hemiplegia (paralysis of one side of the body)
- Quadriplegia (paralysis of the whole body)
- to cut out (remove)
- to cut into
- tracheotomy (windpipe, temp. opening)
- to make a "mouth"
- Colostomy- permanet opening in colon (bag)
- without, none
- Anemia (no blood, but means few red cells)
- Microstomia (abnormally small mouth)
- Macrostomia - abnormally large mouth
- to look, observe
- recording an image
- Mammography - imaging the breast
- the image (x-ray)
- to study, specialize in
- Cardiologist, nephrologist (study of heart and kidney)
Two major categories of Medical terms: 1) discriptive
- 1) Describing shape, color, size, functions.
- 2) putting a name upon. The doctor who names the proccedure
Myo(P) card(root) itis(S)
- myo = muscle
- card = heart
- itis = inflammation
Prefix change for MyoCarditis
- myo carditis - muscle layer of heart inflammed
- peri carditis - outer layer of the heart inflammed
- endo carditis - inner layer of the heart inflammed
Suffix Change for myocarditis
- card iologist - a physician specialing in the heart
- card iomyopathy - gamage to the heart muscle layer
- card iomegaly - enlargement of the heart
- lingual nerve
- large intestine
- anus, rectum
- Renal Artery
- unterine tubes
- Rhinitis (runny nose)
- Within, inside of
- Endoscopy - to inspect the inside of an organ with a lighted instrument
- Perianal - around the Anus
- Retrosternal - behind the chestbone
- Transurethral - throught the urinary exit duct
- Endocarditis, myocarditis, pericarditis (inflammation of the lining, the muscle layer, the outer layer of the heart)
- Bradycardia (rate<60) tachycardia (rate>100)
- Angiography, angiogram (X-ray of artery)
- Venogram (X-ray of veins), phlebitis (inflammation of veins)
- to stop
- Hemostasis (to stop bleeding), hemostat (a clamp-like instrument)
- Erythrocytes, leucocytes (red, white blood cells)
- Hypoxemia (low oxygen), hematosalpinx (blood in the uterine tubes)
Literally, "hardening of the fatty stuff". High fat diets can lead to formation of fatty plaques lining blood vessels. These fatty areas can become calcified and hard leading to arteriosclerosis, hardening of the arteries. When blood vessels become less stretchable, blood pressure rises and can result in heart and kidney damage and strokes. Double cheese bacon burger, anybody?
You know we are talking about heart muscle, right, myocardial? An infarction is blockage of blood flow resulting in death of muscle tissue. Layman's language for this is a "heart attack". The blockage occurs in one of the arteries of the heart muscle itself, a coronary artery. Depending upon how much tissue dies, a victim of an MI may survive and undergo cardiac rehabilitation, strengthening the remaining heart muscle, or may die if too much muscle tissue is destroyed. Did you exercise at the gym this week?
Mitral prolapse, stenosis, regurgitation
Blood flows through four chambers in the heart separated by one-way valves. A major valve is the one separating the upper and lower chambers on the left side of the heart. The left side is especially important because freshly oxygenated blood returning from the lungs is circulated out of the heart to the rest of the body. The left valve, called atrioventricular, for the chambers it separates, is also called the mitral valve, because it is shaped like an upside down Bishop's hat, a miter. If the flaps of this valve tear away due to disease, the process is called prolapse, "a falling forward". This results in leakage and backward flow called "regurgitation" (get the picture?). Sometimes a valve is abnormally narrow causing partial obstruction constricting flow. Stenosis means "a narrowing".
Literally, "pain in the chest". But, this is a special kind of pain associated with the heart and is distinctive as "crushing, vise-like", and often accompanied by shortness of breath, fatigue and nausea. Anginal pain indicates not enough blood is getting to the heart muscle, and the heart is protesting and begging for more. People with a history of angina often take nitroglycerine tablets to relieve the pain by increasing blood flow to the heart muscle.
Abnormal heart rates and rhythms all have special names like ventricular tachycardia, fibrillation, but generically are termed arrhythmias or dysrhythmia, meaning "no rhythm" and "abnormal rhythm". There are fine distinctions between the two, but they are often used interchangeably
Sometimes the heart muscle is not getting enough blood flow, more importantly, the oxygen the blood carries is insufficient to sustain muscle which has a very high metabolic rate, and oxygen demand. The term loosely means "not quite enough blood". Typically, the patient suffers angina pain (see above) and they may think they are having a heart attack. And, they may be!
a physician specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the circulatory system, especially, the heart. However, after diagnosis, he/she may refer to a cardiovascular surgeon. A cardiologist does not do surgery.
a physician specializing in diseases of the blood.
a printout recording of the electrical activity of the heart. A frequently used instrument in the hands of a cardiologist.
using ultra high frequency sound waves (beyond human hearing), similar to "sonar", to form an image of the inside of the heart. This procedure can demonstrate valve damage, congenital (before birth) defects and other abnormalities.
a long hollow tube, a catheter, can be threaded into an artery up into the heart. Then material opaque to X-rays can be released into the blood flow through the heart imaging the details of coronary arteries. Typically used to identify a blockage and location in the coronary circulation.
the specially trained nurse or technician draws blood for lab tests and may also start IV's (intravenous fluids). The Greek and Latin versions of "cutting into a vein".
- Literally, "many hardenings", MS is a disease of unknown cause that manifests
- as multiple hard plaques of degeneration of the insulating layer of nerve fibers
- in the central nervous system. The loss of insulation allows "short circuiting"
- of nerve impulses. Depending upon where the degeneration occurs, patients may
- suffer paralysis, sensory disturbances or blindness
Cerebrovascular accident (CVA
- the fancy name for a "stroke". A blood vessel in the brain may burst causing
- internal bleeding. Or, a clot may arise in a brain blood vessel (a thrombus), or
- arise elsewhere (embolus) and travel to get stuck in a brain vessel which then
- deprives brain tissue of oxygen. Depending upon the area of the brain involved,
- the patient may suffer paralysis, loss of speech or loss of vision.
Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)
- "Ischemia" was introduced previously in the circulatory diseases module
- referring to the heart. It literally means "not quite enough blood". A short
- period of insufficient blood supply to the brain can have the same signs and
- symptoms as a stroke such as weakness in an arm, a partial loss of vision, but
- the problem lasts less than 24 hours. People who get TIA's are at increased risk
- of having a stroke in the future.
- a Greek word for "seizure". Convulsions is another term used. Seizures may have
- many causes and not all seizures are epilepsy. High fevers in young children may
- trigger seizures which are short in duration, easily controlled and, typically,
- have no permanent aftereffects. Epilepsy is a specific condition which may occur
- at any age, seizures are more intense, longer lasting in duration, and recur
- with some frequency. The condition may be controlled with medication, or if
- unresponsive to drugs, may require surgery
- loss of speech. The speech centers are located on the left side of the brain in
- a majority of people. If someone suffers a "stroke" (cerebrovascular
- accident-CVA), or traumatic brain injury, and it involves the left side of the
- brain, they may suffer speech impediments that vary over a spectrum of problems
- from difficulty in finding the right word, speaking slowly and with difficulty,
- or complete loss of speech. Actually, there are two speech centers. Injury
- described above involves the motor speech area, the area of the brain that
- produces language by integrating thoughts of speech with the movements of the
- larynx, lips and tongue. There is a second speech area, the receptive or sensory
- area, that enables us to understand speech. Injury to the latter results in
- still fluent speech, but the individual does not understand what they are
- nside the head (brain)
- Encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) Anencephalic (born without a brain)
- Membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord
- Meningitis (inflammation of the membranes)
- Spinal cord
- Myelogram (X-ray of the spinal cord)
- Neuroma (tumor) Neuritis (inflammation)
- Difficult, painful, abnormal
- Dyslexia (difficulty reading)
- Hernia, abnormal protrusion of structure out of normal anatomical position
- Meningomyelocele (protrusion of membranes and spinal cord)
- Disease, abnormality
- Encephalopathy (disease of the brain) Neuropathy (disease of the nerves)
- Development, formation, growth
- Aplasia (no development) Hyperplasia (over development)
- Hemiplegia (paralysis of one side of the body) Quadriplegia (paralysis of all four limbs)
a physician specializing in diseases of the brain, spinal cord and nerves. He/she may refer a patient to a neurosurgeon. Neurologists do not do surgery.
Lumbar (spinal) puncture or tap (LP
introducing a needle between the lower bony vertebrae of our spinal column allows a physician to sample the fluid, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Lab tests on the fluid are used for diagnostic purposes such as presence of bacteria in meningitis, special proteins in multiple sclerosis, or blood cells.
introducing a radioactive element into the blood can image possible tumors in the brain. The radioactive dose is very low and detectable only with special, very sensitive instruments that are much more sophisticated than the old Geiger counters.
Wow, what a mouthful, but take it apart. Starting at the end of the word: an image (in this case a written recording) of the brain's electrical activity. EEG's are used to diagnose different types of seizure disorders such as epilepsy, brain tumors, and are used in sleep research to identify stages of sleep.
Computed tomography (CT)
a specialized X-ray machine that takes multiple images of a body area from different angles and has a computer that integrates the multiple images into "slices" of the body. The resolution is much better than standard X-rays, lower X-ray doses are used, and there is better differentiation of types of tissue (bone, air, solid organ).
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Although the image produces the "slices" through the body seen by CT (see above), no X-rays are involved. The patient's body is placed in a strong magnetic field. Radio pulses affect the resonance or "spin" of atoms in the tissues. A computer analyzes this information to show subtle differences in tissue molecular structure producing very high resolution and better differentiation of soft tissue, such as a tumor within the liver.
- Gastritis, Gastrectomy
- Hepatitis (inflammation of), hepatoma (tumor of)
- Gall, bile
- Cholecystitis, cholecystectomy (inflammation of, removal of gallbladder)
- Emesis (vomiting), emetic (stimulating vomiting), antiemetic (stopping vomiting)
- Cholelithotomy (removal of gall stones)
- Abdominal wall
- Laparotomy (cutting into the abdomen)
- To puncture
- Abdominocentesis (puncturing and draining
- To crush
- Cholelithotripsy (smashing gall stones with sound waves)
- Abnormal condition
- Cholelithiasis (presence of gall stones causing symptoms)
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD
Severe "heartburn" in laymen's language. Weakness of the valve between the esophagus and stomach may allow stomach acid to reflux (regurgitate, backup) into the esophagus and irritate and inflame the lining. This results in chest pain which can mimic that of angina (pain of cardiac ischemia or an MI).
Literally means "yellow" in French. Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes from a backup of bile metabolic by-products from the blood into body tissues. May result from blockage of the ducts draining bile from the liver into the intestines or excessive breakdown of red blood cells. Hemoglobin from destroyed RBC' s is broken down, and in part, ends up in bile secretions
Small pouches may form along the walls of the large intestine called diverticuli which if symptomatic, causing discomfort to the patient, is called diverticulosis. These abnormal outpocketings may collect and not be able to empty fecal material which can lead to inflammation, diverticulitis.
Cirrhosis - Literally, "orange-yellow" in Greek. A degenerative disease of the liver that often develops in chronic alcoholics, but can have other causes. The name refers to the gross appearance of the organ.
A potential complication of chronic alcoholism resulting in liver damage and obstruction of venous blood flow through the liver. The rising blood pressure in the veins between the gastrointestinal tract and liver causes engorgement of veins around the umbilicus (navel). The characteristic radiating pattern of veins is called a "caput medusae" (head of Medusa). Medusa was the "snake-haired lady" in Greek mythology.
bulging, engorged veins in the walls of the esophagus are often a complication of chronic alcoholism (see portal hypertension). The thin-walled, swollen veins are at risk of tearing resulting in severe, possibly fatal, bleeding.
Difficulty swallowing. May be related to GERD (see above), esophageal tumor or other causes
a chronic inflammatory disease primarily of the bowel. Typical symptoms are abdominal pain, weight loss, diarrhea. There may also be rectal bleeding that can lead to anemia. Special X-rays and tests are needed to differentiate Crohn's from other diseases with similar symptoms.
Inflammation of the lining of the abdominal cavity. Before antibiotics, people would die from peritonitis if an inflamed appendix burst. Indications of peritonitis are called "peritoneal signs": tender abdomen, rebound pain (pain when manual pressure released from examining abdomen), board-like rigidity of abdominal muscles, no bowel sounds (gurgles). The peritoneal membrane is very sensitive to exposure to foreign substances. Contact with blood, bile, urine, pus will cause peritoneal signs.
a physician specializing in diseases of the digestive system including esophagus, stomach and intestines. These specialists do not do surgery. Patients needing surgery are referred to a general surgeon.
a physician specializing in diseases of the rectum and anus. Proctology is a surgical subspecialty.
Guaiac Test (Hemoccult, Fecult)
a special chemical test to identify blood in the stool (feces). Blood in the stool may have many causes including cancer and hemorrhoids.
Upper GI series
a series of X-rays of the esophagus and stomach and small intestines having the patient swallow a "milkshake" of barium. The element barium is opaque, i.e. blocks , X-rays. This procedure may be used to identify problems with swallowing, stomach ulcers, twisting of the small intestines.
Lower GI series
a series of X-rays using a barium enema to show the large intestine and rectum. This procedure can be used to identify problems such as diverticulitis/diverticulosis, and tumors.
use of a flexible fiberoptic instrument attached to a video camera that can be used to directly visualize the esophagus, stomach and large bowel. Special names may be used for each area explored such as colonoscopy.
a procedure using high frequency sound waves to visualize internal organs. Primarily used to visualize abdominal and pelvic organs, such as the pregnant uterus.
You should be getting pretty good at making sense of medical terminology. But, nothing beats practical application! Following is an abstract of a simulated patient's medical record. Note words in italics. Take them apart. Look for the "root" meaning. Read the record and answer the questions that follow to yourself.
A 48 year old male complains of abdominal discomfort after meals, especially, high fat meals. At those times he also has aching in his right shoulder and back. An ultrasound of the upper abdomen revealed cholelithiasis. A consult with a gastroenterologist determined that cholelithotripsy was considered but it was decided that alaparoscopic cholecystectomy would be the first procedure attempted. If complications were encountered then an open cholecystectomy would be performed.
Significant medical history: patient had a coronary angiography performed at age 46 following suspectedmyocardial infarct.
- What is the diagnosis (the patient's current medical problem)?
- Did the procedure performed to aid in the diagnosis involve use of X-rays?
- Was a specialist appropriate to the diagnosis consulted?
- What treatments were considered?
- What significant event was in the patient's medical history?
- What procedure was performed in the patient's medical history?
A 48 year old male complains of abdominal discomfort after meals, especially, high fat meals. At those times he also has aching in his right shoulder and back. A procedure using high frequency sound waves to image the upper abdomen revealed stones in the gallbladder. A consult with a specialist in diseases of the digestive tract determined that crushing the gallbladder stones with sound waves was considered but it was decided that a removal of the gallbladder using a scope and instruments inserted into the abdominal wall would be the first procedure attempted. If complications were encountered then opening up the abdomen and removing the gallbladder would be performed.
- Significant medical history: The patient had a heart attack. The patient's heart arteries were imaged by injecting a dye opaque to X-rays into an artery to show area of blockage of blood flow to heart muscle.
- Surprised at how much you understood? I'm not!
- Before taking the quiz, you may want to check back to "Basics" and review the word stems for mouth, tongue, gums, stomach, small and large intestines and liver.
- Rhinitis, rhinorrhea (inflammation of and "runny" nose)
- Larynx, "voice box"*
- Laryngotomy, Laryngectomy (cutting into, surgically removing the larynx)
- Trachea, "windpipe"
- Tracheotomy, tracheostomy (temporary and permanent openings)
- Lung air passageways
- Bronchoscopy (looking into the bronchi)
- Breath, air, lung
- Tachypnea, dyspnea, apnea (accelerated, difficult/painful, cessation of breathing)
- Spitting (coughing)
- Hemoptysis (spitting or coughing up blood from lungs)
- Rhinoplasty (surgical reconstruction of nose)
literally, "an abnormal condition of dust in the lungs". A generic name for conditions where toxic particles become trapped in the lungs and cause symptoms and disability such a "black lung" or "miner's lung" disease. Terms specific to the particulate matter may be given such as asbestosis.
want a fancier name for a "nosebleed"? You got it!
an inheritable disease that affects not only the lungs but other systems producing mucous such as the digestive system. Patients suffer frequent lung infections that are hard to treat because mucous is thick and sluggish and result in increased scarring (fibrosis) of the lungs. They also take multiple enzyme pills because of digestive abnormalities related to abnormal mucous production.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, of which emphysema is one of, results in progressive destruction of the air sacs in the lungs and loss of respiratory membrane for oxygen exchange. The bane of long term smokers.
a collapsed lung. Literally, "an imperfect expansion" in Greek.
a physician specializing in diseases of the lungs. Patients needing surgery are referred to a general surgeon.
a specially trained technician who administers, among other treatments, inhalation therapy to patients with lung disease.
special X-rays of the vessels of the lungs.
visual examination of the larynx.
passing a special air-tube into the trachea so oxygen can be reliably supplied directly to the lungs without risk of inhaling vomit from the stomach. Typically done for surgery or whenever general anesthesia is administered among other situations where the patient's airway must be secured.