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acetaminophen (ah-seet-ah-MIN-oh-fen)

Medication that reduces pain and fever without the side effects of NSAIDs.


the Chinese practice of inserting fine needles through the skin at specific points to cure disease or relieve pain (restore the flow of qi)

adverse drug reaction

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

albuminuria (al-byou-mih-NEW-ree-ah)

The presence of the protein albumin in the urine that is a sign of impaired kidney function.


agent that relieves pain without causing loss of consciousness (Tylenol, Advil, Motrin)


any medicine that lowers body temperature to prevent or alleviate fever

arthrocentesis (ar-throh-sen-TEE-sis)

Surgical puncture of the joint space to remove synovial fluid for analysis.

auscultation (aws-kul-TAY-shun)

Listening through a stethoscope for respiratory, heart, and abdominal sounds within the body.

bacteriuria (back-tee-ree-YOU-ree-ah)

The presence of bacteria in the urine.


A radiopaque contrast medium used primarily to visualize the gastrointestinal tract.

basic metabolic profile

Group of 8 specific blood tests that provide important information about the current status of the patient's kidneys, electrolyte balance, blood sugar and calcium levels

also known as a CHEM7 or CHEM8. Tests creatinine, CO2, chloride, glucose, potassium, sodium, BUN (and maybe calcium)


Twice daily

blood pressure/BP

the pressure that is exerted by the blood against the walls of blood vessels

blood urea nitrogen/BUN

blood test to determine the level of urea in the blood (by-product of protein metabolism); a high level indicates the inability of one or both kidneys to excrete urea

bruit (BREW-ee)

An abnormal intermittent musical sound heard in auscultation of a vein or artery; usually due to a partially blocked, narrowed or diseased artery.

calciuria (kal-sih-YOU-ree-ah)

The abnormal presence of calcium in the urine.

complete blood cell count/CBC

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


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

Computed Tomography/CT

Uses x-radiation with computer assistance to produce multiple CROSS-SECTIONAL views of the body


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

creatinuria (kree-at-ih-NEW-ree-ah)

An increased concentration of creatine in the urine.


a noninvasive diagnostic procedure that uses ultrasound to study to structure and motions of the heart

endoscope (EN-doh-skope)

A fiber optic instrument used for endoscopy and named for the body parts involved.

endoscopy (en-DOS-koh-pee)

The visual examination of the interior of a body cavity or organ by means of an endoscope.

erythrocyte sedimentation rate (eh-RITH-roh-site)/ ESR

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

Elevated rate indicates the presence of inflammation in the body

fluoroscopy (floo-or-OS-koh-pee)

An imaging technique used to visualize body parts in motion by projecting x-ray images on a luminous fluorescent screen.

glycosuria (glye-koh-SOO-ree-ah)

The presence of glucose in the urine

Hematocrit (hee-MAT-oh-krit)/Hct

A blood test that measures the PERCENTAGE by volume of packed red blood cells in a whole blood sample.

This test is used to diagnose abnormal states of hydration, polycythemia (excess red blood cells) and anemia (deficient red blood cells)

hematuria (hee-mah-TOO-ree-ah)/ Hct

The presence of blood in the urine.


A blood test that measures the amount of hemoglobin found in whole blood.

Elevated levels indicate polycythemia or dehydration.
Low levels indicate anemia, recent hemorrhage, or fluid retention.

hyperthermia (high-per-THER-mee-ah)

An extremely high fever.

hypothermia (high-poh-THER-mee-ah)

An abnormally low body temperature.

idiosyncratic reaction (id-ee-oh-sin-KRAT-ick)

An unexpected reaction to a drug.

interventional radiology

use of the radiographic imaging to guide a procedure such as a biopsy. Also to guide placement of an inserted object such as a stent or feeding tube

intradermal injection/ID

The administration of medication by injection into the middle layers of the skin.

intramuscular injection/IM

The administration of medication by injection directly into muscle tissue.

intravenous injection/IV

The administration of medication by injection directly into a vein.

ketonuria (kee-toh-NEW-ree-ah)

The presence of ketones in the urine.

laparoscopy (lap-ah-ROS-koh-pee)

The visual examination of the interior of the abdomen with the use of a laparoscope.

lithotomy position (lih-THOT-oh-mee)

An examination position in which the patient is supine with the feet and legs raised and supported in stirrups

magnetic resonance angiography/ MRA

A specialized MRI study using a contrast medium to locate problems with blood vessels throughout the body

magnetic resonance imaging/ MRI

An imaging technique that uses a combination of radio waves and a strong magnetic field to create signals that are sent to a computer and converted into images of any plane through the body

ophthalmoscope (ahf-THAL-moh-skope)

An instrument used to examine the interior of the eye.

ophthalmoscopy (ahf-thal-MOS-koh-pee)

The visual examination of the fundus of the eye with ophthalmoscope; also known as funduscopy.

otoscope (OH-toh-skope)

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

palliative (PAL-ee-ay-tiv)

A substance that eases the pain or severity of a disease but does not cure it.

parenteral administration (pah-REN-ter-al)

The administration of medication by injection through a hypodermic syringe.


after meals

percussion (per-KUSH-un)

A diagnostic procedure to determine the density of a body area that uses the sound produced by tapping the surface with the finger or an instrument.

perfusion (per-FYOU-zuhn)

The flow of blood through the vessels of an organ.

pericardiocentesis (pehr-ih-kar-dee-oh-sen-TEE-sis)

A surgical puncture to draw fluid from the pericardial sac for diagnostic purposes or to relieve pressure on the heart.

phlebotomy (fleh-BOT-oh-mee)

The puncture of a vein for the purpose of drawing blood; also known as venipuncture.

placebo (plah-SEE-boh)

A substance containing no active ingredients that is given for its suggestive effects.


by mouth

positron emission tomography/PET

An imaging technique that combines tomography with
radionuclide tracers to produce enhanced images of selected body organs or areas.


as needed

Prone position

the patient is lying on the abdomen face down

proteinuria (proh-tee-in-YOU-ree-ah)

The presence of an abnormal amount of protein in the urine.


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

pyuria (pye-YOU-ree-ah)

The presence of pus in the urine.


once daily


every hour


four times daily

radiolucent (ray-dee-oh-LOO-sent)

A substance that ALLOWS x-rays to pass through and appears BLACK or DARK GRAY on the resulting film

radiopaque (ray-dee-oh-PAYK)

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

rale (RAHL)

An abnormal rattle or crackle-like respiratory sound heard while breathing in.


adj. in a reclining position, lying down, in the posture of one sleeping or resting

red blood cell count

A blood test that is performed to determine the number of erythrocytes in the blood

respiratory rate

the rate at which a person inhales and exhales

rhonchus (RONG-kus)

An added musical sound occurring during breathing that is caused by a partially obstructed airway; also known as wheezing.


prescription, treatment


let it be labeled

Sims' position

examination position in which the client is lying on his or her left side with right knee flexed.


A nuclear imaging technique in which pictures are taken by one to three gamma cameras after a radionuclide tracer has been injected into the blood

speculum (SPECK-you-lum)

An instrument used to enlarge the opening of any canal or cavity to facilitate inspection of its interior.

sphygmomanometer (sfig-moh-mah-NOM-eh-ter)

An instrument used to measure blood pressure.

stethoscope (STETH-oh-skope)

An instrument used to listen to sounds within the body and during the measurement of blood pressure.

stridor (STRYE-dor)

An abnormal, high-pitched, harsh or crowing sound heard during inspiration that results from a partial blockage of the pharynx, larynx, and trachea.

subcutaneous injection/ SQ or SC

The administration of medication by injection into the fatty layer just below the skin.

Vital Signs

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


three times daily

transdermal medications

The administration of medication through the unbroken skin so that it is absorbed continuously to produce a systemic effect.

transesophageal echocardiography (trans-eh-sof-ah-JEE-al eck-oh-kar-dee-OG-rah-fee) /TEE

An ultrasonic imaging technique that is performed from inside the esophagus to evaluate heart structures.

ultrasonography (ul-trah-son-OG-rah-fee) U/S

The imaging of deep body structures by recording the echoes of pulses of sound waves above the range of human hearing; also known as ultrasound and diagnostic ultrasound.

urinalysis (you-rih-NAL-ih-sis) U/A, UA

The examination of urine to determine the presence of abnormal elements.

white blood cell count/ WBC

A blood test to determine the number of leukocytes in the blood.

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