Glossary of Terms

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stomach, stomach area, belly, tummy


to move your arm or leg away from your body


skill, are able to, can


cut, scratch, scrape




sore, wound, infection

absorb, absorption

take in, soak up


don't, don't use, don't have, go without


Harm that is done to a person. This can be things like hitting, stealing or not taking care of a person


hurry, speed up, make worse, make more severe


get to

entry, way in


usable, available, on hand, understandable

accessory muscle

muscles around your chest that help you breathe


house, give shelter, adjust, adapt


go with, take with


do, finish


add, gain, build up


add up, gather, collect


true, right, correct

acellular vaccine

a vaccine that has part of the virus in it

achilles tendon

attaches your calf muscles to your heel bone. You use this tendon to jump, walk, run and stand on the balls of your feet

achilles tendonitis

pain in your achilles tendon


too much acid in your blood


get, gain

acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)

a disease that makes it hard for your body to fight off infections and other diseases

action plan

a plan to help you manage your asthma


begin, start

active immunity

being able to fight off a disease when you have had it before

active labour

part of the first stage of labour

active labour happens when the cervix dilates from three to seven centimeters. Active labour lasts an average of two to four hours. The contractions during active labour are strong, long (40 to 60 seconds each), and frequent (three to four minutes apart)

activities of daily living (ADLs)

things you do everyday (work, homemaking and leisure), things you do to take care of yourself (bathing, dressing etc.)


new, sudden start, short term, quick

In medicine, an acute disease is a disease with a rapid onset, a short course, or both. Acute may be used to distinguish a disease from a chronic form, or to highlight the sudden onset of a disease. The word "acute" may also be used in the context of medicine to refer to the acute phase of injury, meaning the immediate post-injury healing processes.

acute coronary syndrome (ACS)

  chest pain or a heart attack

acute episode/asthma attack

when you or your child has a very hard time breathing because your air tubes have become swollen

acute kidney failure

when your kidneys stop working suddenly

rapid, sudden loss of kidney function, often reversible


habit forming


extra, added, more


talk about, discuss


enough, the right amount


stick with, follow


beside, next to, near, touching


something added to a vaccine to make it work better


give, manage, take care of


to slowly increase, slowly go back to normal

advance directives

legal papers that help you tell others your wishes and decisions ahead of time

advanced care planning

thinking about and sharing your wishes for your health and personal care. It can help you to tell others what is important to you if you are sick and can't tell them.

a chance for you to reflect on your preferences about your current and future healthcare decisions. These decisions are usually shared with your family members and health-care providers. It ensures that your wishes are respected in the future if you are unable to communicate your preferences on your own.


helpful, useful


bad, dangerous, hurtful, harmful

adverse event

a bad reaction, something that you didn't expect to happen


tell, warn, say


taking charge, support, support person


needs oxygen to live

aerobic exercise

slow and steady exercise, like walking, running, biking and swimming


spray, mist


yes, positive


others, other group, partner


make worse


altogether, added together, combined


pushy, dangerous, gets worse fast, fast growing


anxiety, restlessness, nervousness


sickness, illness, health problem, complaint


carried through the air


air moving through your body


windpipe, breathing tube, air tube

tubes that take air in from your nose and mouth to the lungs

airway remodelling

when your airways change shape because of injury


You may here different kinds of alarms in the hospital

Monitor alarms will sound when heart rate, respiratory rate or oxygen saturation fall outside an acceptable range

Medication pump alarms will sound to notify staff that a treatment or infusion is complete

Ventilator alarms will sound to notify staff of a disruption in the circuit or a change in the delivered support. Staff in the NICU/PICU set alarms to go off at the slightest change and before a serious problem arises. This may cause false alarms at times, but it allows us to observe your child closely. Alarms may also be observed from the nursing station.

Bed and chair alarms will sound to notify a healthcare provider of activity of a patient in their bed/chair

Patient safety alarms sound to notify healthcare providers that there is motion through the doorways.


when you blood doesn't have enough acid


things like pollen or mold that can cause your body to have a reaction, like sneezing or a rash

allergic rhinitis

hay fever


allergy doctor, a doctor that takes care of people with allergies


reaction to certain things such as some kinds of food or pollen, itch, rash, hives, breathing problems


ease, decrease, lessen


divide, give out, ration out




disease that causes hair loss from some or all areas of the body



alternate level of care (ALC)

when a hospital patient is well enough to leave the hospital


choice, option


tiny air bags/sacs in the lungs, these bags help bring oxygen to the blood


silver-coloured fillings in your teeth

ambu bag

an inflatable bag connected to oxygen that a physician, nurse or respiratory therapist can use to help you breathe


walk, move around


can walk, mobile, able to move about


make better


change, adjust, fix


memory loss, not being able to remember


A test for your baby's health that is done before it is born. Your doctor will take a small sample of amniotic fluid from around your baby

A diagnostic test to determine whether the fetus has any abnormalities. Performed anywhere between weeks 14 and 20 of pregnancy (though more commonly between weeks 16 and 18), amniocentesis tests the fluid inside the amniotic sac that surrounds the baby. The fluid, which contains the baby's skin cells, is drawn from the uterus through a hollow needle inserted through the expectant mother's abdominal wall and is tested for chromosomal abnormalities, genetic abnormalities, or other diseases.

amniotic fluid

water, fluid around your unborn baby in your uterus (womb)

amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

Lou Gehrig's disease, motor neuron disease


without oxygen


not being able to feel pain 

any intervention that reduces the sensation of pain.


pain killer, pain reliever

a medication that reduces the sensation of pain without loss of consciousness.


look at, study, examine


serious allergic reaction, shock


low iron, low blood count

a medical condition in which the number of red blood cells (your blood count) is reduced

anesthetic (general)

a medication or drug that puts you to sleep, or puts you "under"

a medication that produces a loss of sensation, either partially or completely

medication that makes a person unconscious and unable to feel pain. General anesthesia is sometimes used for emergency cesarean sections.

anesthetic (local)

a medication or drug that numbs an area of your body


bulging of a blood vessel wall


chest pain, chest pressure or heaviness

angio seal


a vascular closure device, also referred to as a plug, placed in the groin to seal the puncture site after an angiogram


An x-ray test that uses a special dye and camera to take pictures of the blood flow in an artery or vein. An angiogram can look at the arteries or veins in your heart, head, arms, legs or belly.

A test that takes x-ray pictures of the coronary arteries and the vessels that supply blood to the heart. During an angiogram, a special dye is released into the coronary arteries from a catheter (special tube) inserted in a blood vessel. This dye makes the blood vessels visible when an X-ray is taken. Angiography allows doctors to clearly see how blood flows into the heart. This allows them to pinpoint problems with the coronary arteries.

Angiography may be recommended for patients with angina (chest pain) or those with suspected coronary artery disease (CAD). The test gives doctors valuable information on the condition of the coronary arteries, such as atherosclerosis, regurgitation (blood flowing backwards through the heart valves) or pooling of blood in a chamber because of a valve malfunction.


Angioplasty opens blocked arteries so that blood can flow to your heart. It is done by putting a thin tube (catheter) in through a small puncture in your arm or leg artery up to your heart. A balloon is inflated and then removed. This opens the artery.

Angioplasty is a procedure to widen narrowed or obstructed arteries or veins. An empty, collapsed balloon, known as a balloon catheter, is passed over a wire into the narrowed locations and then inflated. The balloon forces expansion of the narrowed area within the vessel and the surrounding muscular wall, opening up the blood vessel for improved flow, and the balloon is then deflated and withdrawn. 

angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor (ACEI)

medication for high blood pressure

a medication used for cardiovascular protection and to lower blood pressure

angiotensin receptor blockers (ARB)

medication for high blood pressure

a medication similar to Angiotensin Converting Enzyme Inhibitor (ACEI) which provides blood pressure management and cardiac protection

ankle brachial index (ABI)

a quick way to test to see if the arteries in your legs are blocked. It compares the blood pressure in your ankle to the blood pressure in your arm

a measurement that looks at the blood flow in your leg.  A blood pressure cuff is attached to your leg and a reading is made, then a blood pressure reading is obtained in the arm


every year, once a year, each year


every year, once a year, each year


defect, change, difference, unusual, exception


not hungry, eating disorder


before birth

occurring or formed before birth; prenatal.




medicine that helps swelling go down

anti-rejection medications

when a new organ is placed inside your body (transplanted) your body's immune system thinks the organ is foreign tissue and tries to reject it. Anti-rejection medications help to stop your body from rejecting the organ.

medications given after an organ transplant to lower the body's immune system so that the transplanted organ is not rejected


medicine that fights bacteria or germs, medicine that fights infection


cells in your body that fight infection

a protein produced in the body to fight an invasion by foreign material (antigen)




blood thinner

a medication that prevents and treats blood clots, an example is Warfarin (Coumadin)

antifungal agent

medicine to treat fungal infections


germ, bacteria, virus, something in your body that helps it fight disease


a medication that stop blood cells called platelets from sticking together and forming a clot

a medication that decreases platelet aggregation and helps prevent clots, an example is aspirin (ASA)


medicine that fights viruses


fear, worry

aortic valve

Your heart has four main valves - two on the left and two on the right.  The aortic valve is one of the valves on the left side of your heart. It controls the flow of blood from your heart to the rest of your body

aortic valve replacement (AVR)

a type of open heart surgery used to treat problems with your heart's aortic valve

apgar score

A newborn baby's first test. Given one minute after a baby is born, then again five minutes later. The Apgar assesses the newborn's appearance (skin color), pulse, grimace (reflex), activity (muscle tone), and respiration. A perfect Apgar score is ten; typical Apgar scores are seven, eight, or nine.

aphasia, aphasic

trouble talking or understanding words, sometimes includes trouble reading and writing


pauses in breathing when you sleep

pauses in breathing that last 20 seconds or longer, may be associated with colour change and low heart rate. Infants may be described as apneic




Your normal desire for food


use, put on, rub onto

ask for


the time of day that you visit your Doctor, Nurse Practitioner or a clinic


about, guess, around, near, bring together




irregular heart beat, when your heart doesn't have a steady beat

an abnormal heart beat or rhythm because of an electrical problem in the heart 

arterial blood gas (ABG, blood gas)

blood test to see how much oxygen is in your blood

blood test that is done to determine the levels of oxygen, carbon dioxide and bicarbonate that is in the blood. This helps determine how much help the infant may need to breathe. This test may be done via artery, vein or a capillary sample.

arterial Line

catheter that goes into the artery in your arm or leg to monitor your blood pressure and take blood samples

flexible catheter inserted into an artery of the arm or leg to allow the continuous monitoring of blood pressure and the sampling of arterial blood to ensure adequacy of oxygen and carbon dioxide levels

arteriosclerosis or atherosclerosis

hardening of your arteries


a special tube that carries blood through your body

a blood vessel that takes blood from your heart to other parts of your body


pain in your joints


a disease of your joints that causes swelling, pain and stiffness


find out, learn

ascorbic acid

vitamin C


suffocate, choke, smother


to breath in food or fluid to your lungs

take out fluid or tissue to test


to breath in food or fluids into your lungs, fluid in your lungs



lab test


review of your general condition

test, interview

evaluation of a baby's general condition




associated with (association)

linked to, related to, connected to


a breathing disease

swelling in the airways (air tubes) of your lungs, lung disease where you have trouble breathing

asthma action plan

a plan you write with your doctor or nurse practitioner. It lists the medicines you take. It tells you what to do if your asthma gets worse or you have an asthma attack

asthma attack

when your breathing suddenly gets worse, when you have trouble breathing because your air tubes have become swollen


when you are sick, but don't feel or look sick, without symptoms

ataxia, ataxic

clumsy movement of your arms, legs or body


hardening of your arteries, clogged blood vessels

atrial fibrillation (AFib)

when your heart beat is not regular, sometimes your heart may beat too fast.

an irregular heart rhythm in the upper chambers of your heart 


when an illness happens suddenly




go to, show up, see to, manage, listen to

Attending Physician

Staff physician who oversees medical care of the infant.

augmentation of labour

if  your labor isn't progressing very well, your doctor may try to help it along (or "augment" it) by doing something to stimulate your contractions

what is done to help labour that has begun naturally to progress more rapidly. Often, Pitocin (a synthetic form of the hormone oxytocin) is used to make contractions stronger or to rupture the membranes.

auscultate (auscultation)

when someone listens to the sounds inside your body, lungs, stomach


brain disorder that can make it hard for someone to make sense of the world, talk to others, or to understand what others are thinking

autoimmune disease

disease that makes your body attack itself

automated or continuous cycler peritoneal dialysis (APD, CCPD)

a type of kidney dialysis

form of continuous peritoneal dialysis in which a machine called an automatic cycler performs regular exchanges throughout the night

autonomic nervous system

this controls our how internal organs work, things such as how our heart beats and our lungs breath


free, by itself, independent




armpit, underarm

axillary temperature

temperature that is taken by placing thermometer under your arm