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body mechanics

the proper use of the body to facilitate lifting and moving and prevent injury.

direct carry

a method of transferring a patient from bed to stretcher, during in which two or more rescuers curl the patient to their chests, then reverse the process to lower the patient to the stretcher.

direct ground lift

a method of lifting and carrying a patient from ground level to a stretcher in which two or more rescuers kneel, curl the patient to their chests, stand, then reverse the process to lower the patient to the stretcher.

draw-sheet method

a method of transferring a patient from bed to stretcher by grasping and pulling the loosened bottom sheet of the bed.

extremity lift

a method of lifting and carrying a patient during which one rescuer slips hands under the patient's armpits and grasps the wrists, while another rescuer grasps the patient's knees.

power grip

gripping with as much hand surface as possible in contact with object being lifted, all fingers bent at the same angle, hands at least 10 inches apart.

power lift

a lift from a squatting position with weight to be lifted close to the body, feet apart and flat on the ground, body weight on or just behind balls of feet, back locked in. The upper body is raised before the hips. Also called the squat-left position.

abdominal quadrants

four divisions of the abdomen used to pinpoint the location of a pain or injury: the right upper quadrant (RUQ), the left upper quadrant (LUQ), the right lower quadrant (RUQ), and the left lower quadrant (LLQ).


the pelvic socket into which the ball at the proximal end of the femur fits to form the hip joint.

acromioclavicular joint

the joint where the acromion and the clavicle meet.

acromion process

the highest portion of the shoulder.


the microscopic sacs of the lungs where gas exchange with the bloodstream takes place.

anatomical position

the standard reference position for the body in the study of anatomy. In this position, the body is standing erect, facing the observer, with arms down at the sides and the palms of the hands forward.


the study of body structure.


the front of the body or body part.


the largest artery in the body. It transports blood from the left ventricle to begin systemic circulation.


a small tube located near the junction of the small and large intestines in the right lower quadrant of the abdomen, the function of which is not well understood. Its inflammation, called appendicitis, is a common cause of abdominal pain.


the smallest kind of artery.


any blood vessel carrying blood away from the heart.


the two upper chambers of the heart. There is a right atrium (which receives unoxygenated blood returning from the body) and a left atrium (which receives oxygenated blood returning from the lungs).


the ability of the heart to generate and conduct electrical impulses on its own.

autonomic nervous system

the division of the peripheral nervous system that controls involuntary motor functions.


on both sides.

blood pressure

the force of blood against the walls of the blood vessels. Usually arterial blood pressure (the pressure in an artery) is measured. See also diastolic blood pressure; systolic blood pressure.

brachial artery

artery of the upper arm; the site of the pulse checked during infant CPR.


the two large sets of branches that come off the trachea and enter the lungs. There are right and left bronchi. Singular bronchus.


the heel bone.


a thin-walled, microscopic blood vessel where oxygen/carbon dioxide and nutrient/waste exchange with the body's cells takes place.

cardiac conduction system

a system of specialized muscle tissues which conduct electrical impulses that stimulate the heart to beat.

cardiac muscle

specialized involuntary muscle found only in the heart.

cardiovascular system

the system made up of the heart (cardio) and the blood vessels (vascular0; the circulatory system.

carotid arteries

the large neck arteries, one on each side of the neck, that carry blood from the heart to the head.


the wrist bones.

central nervous system (CNS)

the brain and spinal cord.

central pulses

the carotid and femoral pulses, which can be felt in the central part of the body.

circulatory system

See cardiovascular system.


the collarbone.

coronary arteries

blood vessels that supply the muscle of the heart (myocardium).


the bony structure making up the forehead, top, back, and upper sides of the skull.

cricoid cartilage

the ring-shaped structure that circles the trachea at the lower edge of the larynx.


the inner (second) layer of skin, rich in blood vessels and nerves, found beneath the epidermis.


the muscular structure that divides the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity. A major muscle of respiration.

diastolic blood pressure

the pressure remaining in the arteries when the left ventricle of the heart is relaxed and refilling.

digestive system

system by which food travels through the body and is digested, or broken down into absorbable forms.


farther away from the torso.


referring to the back of the body or the back of the hand or foot. A synonym for posterior.

dorsalis pedis artery

artery supplying the foot, lateral to the large tendon of the big toe.

endocrine system

system of glands that produce chemicals called hormones that help to regulate many body activities and functions.


the outer layer of skin.


a leaf-shaped structure that prevents food and foreign matter from entering the trachea.


a hormone produced by the body. As a medication it dilates respiratory passages and is used to relieve severe allergic reactions.


a passive process in which the intercostal (rib) muscles and the diaphragm relax, causing the chest cavity to decrease in size and causing air to flow out of the lungs. Also called expiration.

femoral artery

the major artery supplying the thigh.


the large bone of the thigh.


the lateral and smaller bone of the lower leg.

Fowler's position

a sitting position.


a sac on the underside of the liver that stores bile produced by the liver.


the bone of the upper arm, between the shoulder and the elbow.


inability of the body to adequately circulate blood to the body's cells to supply them with oxygen and nutrients.


the superior and widest portion of the pelvis.


away from the head; usually compared with another structure that is closer to the head (e.g., the lips are inferior to the nose).


an active process in which the intercostal (rib) muscles and the diaphragm contract, expanding the size of the chest cavity and causing air to flow into the lungs. Also called inspiration.


a hormone produced by the pancreas or taken as a medication by many diabetics.

involuntary muscle

muscle that responds automatically to brain signals but cannot be consciously controlled.


the lower, posterior portions of the pelvis.


the point where two bones come together.

large intestine

the muscular tube that removes water from waste products received from the small in testine and removes anything not absorbed by the body toward excretion from the body.


the voicebox.


to the side, away from the midline of the body.


tissue that connects bone to bone.


the largest internal organ of the body, produces bile to assist in breakdown of fats and assists in the metabolism of various substances in the body.


the organs where exchange of atmospheric oxygen and waste carbon dioxide take place.


protrusion on the side of the ankle. The lateral malleolus, at the lower end of the fibula, is seen on the outer ankle; the medial malleolus, at the lower end of the tibia, is seen on the inner ankle.


the lower jaw bone.


the superior portion of the sternum.


the two fused bones forming the upper jaw.


toward the midline of the body.


the hand bones.


the foot bones.

mid-axillary line

a line drawn vertically from the middle of the armpit to the ankle.

mid-clavicular line

the line through the center of each clavicle.


an imaginary line drawn down the center of the body, dividing it into right and left halves.


tissue that can contract to allow movement of a body part.

musculoskeletal system

the system of bones and skeletal muscles that support and protect the body and permit movement.

nasal bones

the bones that form the upper third, or bridge, of the nose.


the area directly posterior to the nose.

nervous system

the system of brain, spinal cord, and nerves that govern sensation, movement, and thought.


the bony structures around the eyes; the eye sockets.

oropharynx (OR-o-FAIR-inks)

the area directly posterior to the mouth.


referring to the palm of the hand.


a gland located behind the stomach that produces insulin and produces juices that assist in digestion of food in the duodenum of the small intestine.


the kneecap.


the basin-shaped bony structure that supports the spine and is the point of proximal attachment for the lower extremities.


the supply of oxygen to and removal of wastes from the cells and tissues of the body as a result of the flow of blood through the capillaries.

peripheral nervous system (PNS)

the nerves that enter and leave the spinal cord and travel between the brain and organs without passing through the spinal cord.

peripheral pulses

the radial, brachial, posterior tibial, and dorsalis pedis pulses, which can be felt at peripheral (outlying) points of the body.


the toe bones and finger bones.


the area directly posterior to the mouth and nose. It is made up of the oropharynx and the nasopharynx.


the study of body function.


a flat surface formed when slicing through a solid object.


referring to the sole of the foot.


the fluid portion of the blood.


components of the blood; membrane-enclosed fragments of specialized cells.


the back of the body or body part.

posterior tibial artery

artery supplying the foot, behind the medial ankle.


lying face down.


closer to the torso.


the medial anterior portion of the pelvis.

pulmonary arteries

the vessels that carry blood from the right ventricle of the heart to the lungs.

pulmonary veins

the vessels that carry oxygenated blood from the lungs to the left atrium of the heart.


the rhythmic beats caused by the beating heart as waves of blood move through and expand the arteries.

radial artery

artery of the lower arm. It is felt when taking the pulse at the wrist.


the lateral bone of the forearm.

recovery position

lying on the side. Also called lateral recumbent position.

red blood cells

components of the blood. They carry oxygen to and carbon dioxide away from the cells.

respiratory system

the system of nose, mouth, throat, lungs, and muscles that brings oxygen into the body and expels carbon dioxide.


the shoulder blade.


also known as hypoperfusion. The inability of the body to adequately circulate blood to the body's cells to supply them with oxygen and nutrients. A life-threatening condition.


the bones of the body.


the layer of tissue between the body and the external environment.


the bony structure of the head.

small intestine

the muscular tube between the stomach and the large intestine, divided into the duodenum, the jejunum, and ileum, which receives partially digested food from the stomach and continues digestion. Nutrients are absorbed by the body through its walls.


an organ located in the left upper quadrant of the abdomen that acts as a blood filtration system and a reservoir for reserves of blood.


the breastbone.


muscular sac between the esophagus and the small intestine where digestion of food begins.

subcutaneous layers

the layers of fat and soft tissues found below the dermis.


toward the head (e.g., the chest is superior to the abdomen).


lying on the back.

systolic blood pressure

the pressure created in the arteries when the left ventricle contracts and forces blood out into circulation.


the ankle bones.


tissue that connects muscle to the bone.


the chest.


the medial and larger bone of the lower leg.


the trunk of the body; the body without the head and the extremities.


the "windpipe"; the structure that connects the pharynx to the lungs.

Trendelenburg position

a position in which the patient's feet and legs are higher than the head. Also called shock position.


the medial bone of the forearm.


a structure that opens and closes to permit the flow of a fluid in only one direction.


any blood vessel returning blood to the heart.

venae cavae

the superior vena cava and the inferior vena cava. These two major veins return blood from the body to the right atrium. (Venae cavae is plural, vena cava singular.)


referring to the front of the body. A synonym for anterior.


the two lower chambers of the heart. There is a right ventricle (which sends oxygen-poor blood to the lungs) and a left ventricle (which sends oxygen-rich blood to the body).


the smallest kind of vein.


the 33 bones of the spinal column (singular vertebra).

voluntary muscle

muscle that can be consciously controlled.

white blood cells

components of the blood. They produce substances that help the body fight infection.

xiphoid process

the inferior portion of the sternum.

zygomatic arches

form the structure of the cheeks.


leaving a patient after care has been initiated and before the patient has been transferred to someone with equal or greater medical training.

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