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overview of diagnostic procedures and pharmacology


the evaluation or appraisal of a condition

vital signs

indicates systems are functioning: temperature, pulse, respiration, and blood pressure

98.6 F

average normal temperature


abnormally low body temperature


an extremely high fever


the rhythmic pressure against the walls of an artery caused by the contraction of the heart

respiratory rate

also known as respiration, the number of complete respirations per minute

blood pressure

the force of blood against the walls of the arteries


measures blood pressure

systolic pressure

occurs when the ventricles contract, is the highest pressure against the walls of an artery

diastolic pressure

occurs when the ventricles are relaxed, is the lowest pressure against the walls of an artery


can be a 5th vital sign

acute pain

pain that comes on quickly, can be severe and lasts for a short time

chronic pain

pain that can be mild or severe, persists over a long period of time


means listening for sounds within the body and is usually performed thorugh a stethoscope


also known as a crackle, is an abnormal rattle or crackle-like respiratory sound heard during inspiration


also known as wheezing, is an abnormal sound heard while listening to the chest during inspiration, expiration, or both


abnormal hgih-pitched harsh sound heard during inhalation


an abnormal sound heard during auscultaion of an artery

heart murmur

an abnormal heart sound that is most commonly a sign of abnormal function of the heart valves

abdominal sounds

also known as bowel sounds, are normal noices made by the intestines


an examination technique in which the examiner's hands are used to feel the texture, size, consistency, and location of certain body parts


a diagnostic procedure designed to determine the density of a body part by the sound produced by tapping the surface with the fingers


an eye instrument used examine the interior of the eye


an instrument used to visually examine the external ear canal and tympanic membrane


an instrument used to enlarge the opening of any canal or cavity to facillitate inspection of its interior


an instrument used to listen to the sounds within the body

recumbent position

describes any position in which the patient is lying down

prone position

patient is lying on the belly face down

horizontal recumbent position

also known as supine position, patient is lying on the back with the face up

dorsal recumbent position

the patient is lying on the back with knees bent

Sims' position

patient is lying on left side with the right knee and thigh drawn up with the left arm placed along the back

knee-chest position

patient is lying face down with the hips bent so that the knees and chest rest on the table

lithotomy position

patient is lying on the back with the feet and legs raised and supported by stirrups


results are needed immediately


tests that are frequently performed as a group on automated multichannel laboratory testing equipment


an individual trained and skilled in phlebotomy


also known as venipuncture, the puncture of a vein for the purpose of drawing blood

capillary puncture

technique used when only a small amount of blood is needed as a specimen for a blood test

complete blood count

series of tests performed as a group to evaluate several blood conditions

erythrocyte sedimentation rate

also known as sed rate, a test based on the speed at which the red blood cells separate from the plasma and settle to the bottom of the container


describes the percentage, by volume, of a blood sample occupied by red cells

platelet count

measures the number of platelets in a specified amount of blood and is a screening test to evaluate platelet function

red blood cell count

a determination of the number of erythrocytes in the blood

total hemoglobin test

usually part of the complete blood count

white blood cell count

determination of the number of leukocytes in the blood

white blood cell differential test

determines what percentage of the total count is composed of each of the five types of leukocyte

basic metabolic panel

group of eight specific blood tests that provide important information about the current status of the patient's kidneys, electrolyte balance, blood sugar, and calcium levels

blood urea nitrogen test

measures the amount of nitrogen in the blood due to the waste product urea


major end product of protein metabolism found in urine and blood

crossmatch tests

performed to determine the compatibility of donor and recipient blood before a transfusion


clumping together of the red blood cells, indicates donor is not a match

C-reactive protein test

performed to identify high levels of inflammation within the body

lipid panel

measures the amount of total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, and triglycerides in a blood sample

prothrombin time

also known as pro time, a test used to diagnose conditions associated with abnormalities of clotting time and to monitor anticoagulant therapy

serum bilirubin test

measures the ability of the liver to take up, process, and secrete bilirubin into the bile

thyroid-stimulating hormone assay

measures circulating blood levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone that can indicate abnormal thyroid activity


the examination of the physical and chemical properties of urine to determine the presence of abnormal elements

routine urinalysis

performed to screen for urinary and systemic disorders

microscopic examination

peformed when more detailed testing of the specimen in necessary


fibrous or protein materials, such as pus and fats, that are thrown off into the urine in kidney disease


the degree of acidity or alkalinity of a substance


excessive acid in the body fluids, pH below 7

alkaline urine

pH above 7

specific gravity

reflects the amount of wastes, minerals, and solids present in the urine

low specific gravity

dilute urine

high specific gravity

concentrated urine


sweet, fruity odor, found in small quantites of normal urine


presence of the protein albumin in the urine and is the sign of impaired kidney function


a form of protein found in most body tissues


the presence of bacteria in the urine


the presence of calcium in the urine


an increased concentration of creatine in the urine


a waste product of muscle metabolism that is normally removed by the kidneys

drug-screening urine test

a rapid method of identifying the presence in the body of one or more drugs of abuse


presence of glucose in the urine, most commonly caused by diabetes


presence of blood in the urine

gross hematuria

presence of blood can be detected without magnification

microscopic hematuria

urine is clear, blood cells can be seen under a microscope


presence of ketones in the urine


formed when the body breaks down fat


the presence of an abnormal amount of protein in the urine


presence of pus in the urine

urine culture and sensitivity tests

laboratory tests that are used to identify the cause of a urinary tract infection and determine which antibiotic would be the most effective treatment


visual examination of the interior of a body cavity

endoscopic surgery

a surgical procedure performed through very small incisions with the use of an endoscope and specialized instruments


a small flexible tube with a light and lens on the end


visual examination of the interior of the abdomen with the use of a laparoscope tha is passed through a small incision in the abdominal wall


a surgical puncture to remove fluid for diagnostic purposes or to remove excess fluid


surgical puncture of the abdominal cavity to remove fluid


surgical puncture of the joint space to remove synovial fluid for analysis to determine the cause of pain or swelling in a joint


also known as cardiopuncture, puncture of a chamber of the heart for diagnosis or therapy


puncture of the pericardial sac for the purpose of removing fluid


surgical puncture of the tympanic membrane with a needle to remove fluid or pus from an infected middle ear

contrast medium

administered by swallowing, via an enema, or intraveneously to make specific body structures visible


substance does not allow x-rays to pass through and appears white or light gray on the resulting film


substance, such as nitrogen gas, does allow x-rays to pass through and appears black or dark gray on the resulting film

radiography (X-ray)

uses x-radiation passing through the patient to expose a film or create a digital image that shows the body profile

computed tomography (CT)

uses x-radiation with computer assistance to produce multiple cross-sectional views of the body

magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

uses a combination of radio waves and a strong magnetic field to produce images

intraveneous contrast medium

injected into a vein to make the flow of blood through blood vessels and organs visible


a radiopaque contrast medium used primarily to visualize the gastrointestinal tract


also known as x-rays, an image of hard-tissue internal structures created by the exposure of sensitized film to x-radiation


a physician who specializes in diagnosing and treating diseases and disorders with x-rays and other forms of radiant energy

radiographic positioning

describes the body placement and the part of the body closest to the x-ray film

radiographic projection

describes the path that the x-ray beam follows through the body from enterance to exit

anteroposterior projection

patient positioned with the back parallel to the film

posteroanterior projection

patient positioned facing the film and parallel to it

lateral projection

patient positioned at right angles to the film

oblique projection

patient positioned so the body is slanted sideways to the film

extraoral radiography

film is placed and exposed outside of the mouth

panoramic radiograph

also known as panorex, shows all the structures in both dental arches in a single film

intraoral radiography

film is placed within the mouth and exposed by a camera positioned next to the exterior of the cheek

periapical radiographs

show the entire tooth and some surrounding tissue

bite-wing radiographs

show the crowns of teeth in both archs on one side of the mouth

magnetic resonance angiography (MRA)

combines MRI with the use of a contrast medium to locate problems within blood vessels throughout the body


visualization of body parts in motion by projecting x-ray images on a luminous fluorescent screen


recording of images as they appear in motion on a fluorescent screen


also known as ultrasound, imaging of deep body structures by recording the echoes of pulses of sound waves that are above the range of human hearing


image created by ultrasonography


technician trained to take a sonogram


an ultrasonic diagnostic procedure used to evaluate the structures and motion of the heart

doppler echocardiogram

measures the speed and direction of the blood flow within the heart

fetal ultrasound

noninvasive procedure used to image and evaluate fetal development during pregnancy

transesophageal echocardiography

also known as TEE, an ultrasonic imaging techinque used to evaluate heart structures

carotid ultrasonography

use of sound waves to image the carotid artery to detect an obstruction

nuclear medicine

radioactive substances are administered for either diagnostic or treatment purposes


radioactive substance used for diagnostic or treatment purposes

nuclear imaging

images document the structure and function of organs being examined

nuclear scan

also known as a scintigram, a diagnostic procedure that uses nuclear medicine technology to gather information about the structure and function of organs or body systems that can not be seen on conventional x-rays

bone scan

nuclear scanning test that identifies new areas of bone growth or breakdown

thyroid scan

a radiopharmaceutical containing radioactive iodine is administered

single photon emission computed tomography

also known as SPECT, a type of nuclear imaging test that produces 3D computer-reconstructed images showing profusion through tissues and organs


means the flow of blood through and organ

positron emission tomography

also known as PET imaging, combines tomography with radionuclide tracers to produce enhanced images of selected body organs


the study of the nature, uses, and effects of drugs for medical purposes


licensed specialist who formulates and dispenses prescribed medications


medication that can legally be dispensed only by a pharmacist with an order from a licensed professional such as a physician or dentist


also known as OTC, medication that can be purchased without a prescription

generic drug

usually named for its chemical structure and is not protected by a brand name or trademark

brand-name drug

sold under the name given the drug by the manufaturer.


compulsive, uncontrollable dependence on a drug, alcohol, or other substance

adverse drug reaction (ADR)

also known as a side-effect, an undesirable reaction that accompanies the principal response for which the drug was taken


patient's consistency and accuracy in following the regimen prescribed by a physician or other health care professional


a factor in the patient's condition that makes the use of a medication or specific treatment dangerous or ill advised

drug interaction

result of drugs reacting with each other, often in ways that are unexpected or potentially harmful

idiosyncratic reaction

an unexpected reaction to a drug that is peculiar to the individual


a substance that eases the pain or severity of the symptoms of a disease, but does not cure it

paradoxical reaction

the result of medical treatment that yields the exact opposite of normally expected results

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