Definitions and Acronyms

In this medical journey, I’ve come across a lot of words to be defined and acronyms.  I’ll try to add them all here.

Please remember that this is a work in progress and incomplete.  If you come across any words or terms that you’d like to see added, please add a reply here or comment on one of the pages and I’ll see what I can do.


Artery:  Any of the tubular branching muscular- and elastic-walled vessels that carry blood from the heart through the body.


BG: Blood Glucose. The amount of glucose (sugar) present in the blood of a human or animal. The body naturally tightly regulates blood glucose levels as a part of metabolic homeostasis. Glucose is the primary source of energy for the body’s cells, and blood lipids (in the form of fats and oils) are primarily a compact energy store.

BP: Blood Pressure: Constant force placed on the walls of the arteries.


CABG:  Coronary Artery Bypass Graft. A surgical procedure whereby a new route is created around plaque within a coronary artery, using part of a vein as a graft. The procedure permits increased blood flow to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the heart muscle.

Cardiovascular: Of, relating to, or involving the heart and blood vessels.

Catheterization: Passage of a tubular, flexible, surgical instrument called a catheter into a cavity of the body.

Cholesterol: A waxy, fat-like substance contained in every cell in the body and in many foods. Some cholesterol in the blood is necessary – but a high level can lead to heart disease. Drugs like Lipitor are often used to help control high cholesterol.

CT-Scan: Computerized tomography scan. A series of X-ray views taken from many different angles and computer processing to create cross-sectional images of the bones and soft tissues inside your body.

The resulting images can be compared to looking down at single slices of bread from a loaf. Your doctor will be able to look at each of these slices individually or perform additional visualization to view your body from different angles. In some cases, CT images can be combined to create 3-D images. CT scan images can provide much more information than do plain X-rays.


DH, DS: Dear husband, Dear son

Diverticulitis: Small, bulging sacs or pouches of the inner lining of the intestine (diverticulosis) that become inflamed or infected. Most often, these pouches are in the large intestine (colon)


EKG: Electrocardiogram.  A simple, painless test that records the heart’s electrical activity. To understand this test, it helps to understand how the heart works.

With each heartbeat, an electrical signal spreads from the top of the heart to the bottom. As it travels, the signal causes the heart to contract and pump blood. The process repeats with each new heartbeat. The heart’s electrical signals set the rhythm of the heartbeat.

ER: Emergency Room. Also known as accident & emergency (A&E) or casualty department.  A medical treatment facility specializing in acute care of patients who arrive without prior appointment, either by their own means or by ambulance. The emergency department is usually found in a hospital or other primary care center.


Hematologist, Hematology: A doctor who specializes in diseases of the blood and blood-forming organs.


ICU: Intensive Care Unit. Also known as a Critical Care Unit (CCU), Intensive Therapy Unit or Intensive Treatment Unit (ITU). Intensive Care Units cater to patients with the most serious injuries and illnesses, most of which are life-threatening and need constant, close monitoring and support from specialist equipment and medication in order to maintain normal bodily functions. They are staffed by highly trained doctors and critical care nurses who specialise in caring for the most severely ill patients.

Incentive spirometer: An apparatus for measuring the volume of air inspired and expired by the lungs.


MRI: Magnetic Resonance Imaging  Also nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMRI), or magnetic resonance tomography (MRT). MRI provides good contrast between the different soft tissues of the body, which makes it especially useful in imaging the brain, muscles, the heart, and cancers compared with other medical imaging techniques such as computed tomography (CT) or X-rays. Unlike CT scans or traditional X-rays, MRI does not use ionizing radiation.


NIH: National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD. The National Institutes of Health (NIH), a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the nation’s medical research agency—making important discoveries that improve health and save lives.  Also, where I had my final Cushing’s diagnosis and surgery.


Phlebotomist: A phlebotomist draws blood for tests, transfusions, donations and research. S/he draws blood samples by venipuncture, skin puncture or arterial collection. For apparent reasons, safety precautions must be taken to prevent the transmission of infectious diseases. Phlebotomists must adhere to strict policies and procedures while treating patients with care. These healthcare professionals may work in hospitals, commercial laboratories, private physician offices, public health departments, clinics or blood banks.

PICC Line: A PICC line (Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter) is a semi-permanent IV line), which is inserted into a large vein, usually in your arm although other places may be used. This will allow fluids and injections to be given, and blood samples to be taken. It will save you the discomfort of repeated sticks.


Spirometer: An apparatus for measuring the volume of air inspired and expired by the lungs.


TIA: Transient Ischemic Attack. A neurological event with the signs and symptoms of a stroke, which go away within a short period of time. Also known as a mini-stroke, a TIA is due to a temporary lack of adequate blood and oxygen (ischemia) to the brain. This is often caused by the narrowing (or, less often, ulceration) of the carotid arteries (the major arteries in the neck that supply blood to the brain). TIAs typically last from 2 to 30 minutes and can produce problems with vision, dizziness, weakness or trouble speaking.


X-RAY:  An X-ray is a quick, painless test that produces images of the structures inside your body — particularly your bones.

X-ray beams can pass through your body, but they are absorbed in different amounts depending on the density of the material they pass through. Dense materials, such as bone and metal, show up as white on X-rays. The air in your lungs shows up as black. Fat and muscle appear as varying shades of gray.

4 responses to “Definitions and Acronyms

  1. Pingback: More on CABG (Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting) | MaryO'Medical

  2. Pingback: Monday – 3 Weeks Post-op | MaryO'Medical

  3. Pingback: Other Stuff, Part 3: Hole in Intestine | MaryO'Medical

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