SFMED- General Medical Terms

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General Medical Terms


Arterial Blood Gases; blood is measured for O2 content; indications: asthma, COPD, chest trauma


Stabilize heart rhythm; for heart arrhythmia

Altered LOC

Altered Level Of Consciousness, possibly from concussion or internal brain hemorrhage

Altered Mental State

Mental disorientation, such as in a drug overdose




The forward plane of the body

Apgar Scores

Taken at one minute and five minutes of life, reflect the general status of a newborn, including how well the baby is moving and breathing and other parameters. Perfect score is 10; many healthy babies score 9.


A drug used to speed up heart rate, or to treat cardiac arrest

Bilateral Tib-Fib Fractures

Broken tibia and fibula on both legs

Bleeding Out

Very severe hemorrhaging, could be fatal

Blood Culture

Blood is drawn and cultured for bacteria; indications high fever

Blood Gas

Blood sample from artery used to compute the blood level of O2, CO2, and pH

Blown Pupil

Abnormal pupil dilation; dilation following a blow to the head could mean increased intracranial pressure, usually caused by brain hemorrhage


Birth Out of Asepsis (non-sterile conditions)

Cardiac Enzymes

Enzymes released by damaged heart muscles


Complete Blood Count


Chief Complaint


cubic centimeters, a liquid unit of measurement equal to one milliliter

Chem 7

Measures basic electrolytes in blood: Na, Cl, K, CO2, blood urea N2 (BUN), creatinine, and glucose


Congestive Heart Failure

Coag Panel

Assess blood coagulation


Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Crack the Chest

Make a foot-long incision between two ribs on the left side to gain access to the heart, used in emergency conditions only

Crash Cart

Medical supply cart for cardiac and respiratory arrest


Cerebrospinal Fluid

D 50- 50% Dextrose

(for low blood sugar); one ampule via IV

Decubitus Ulcer

A bedsore, an open sore caused by pressure and lack of circulation, malnutrition may contribute to these ulcers associated with immobility


Sweaty skin associated with myocaridal infarction


Makes heart pump strongly


Drug to treat cardiac arrest

Failure to progress

Baby is not dropping or the woman's cervix is not dilating; depending on the stage of labor, do C-section or administer Pitocin


Fever of undetermined origin

Hematocrit ("Crit")

Measure number of RBC; decrease means hemorrhage or anemia in extremis at the point of death

IV Push (intravenous push)

Put in drug directly into IV all at once

Large-bore IV

to transfuse fluids very quickly


Washing out


Looks Good From Doorway (patient who complains but looks fine)


Myocardial Infarction


Mnemonic device for anion gap (Methanol, Uremia, Diabetic ketoacidosis, Paraldehyde, Iron, Lactic acidosis, Ethanol, Salicylate starvation). An anion gap will indicate one of of these conditions.


Antidote for heroin and other narcotics; 0.8 mg via IV

Normal Saline

Saline solution that has the same balance as fluids in the body -- the first type of fluid administered intravenously (IV) in emergencies


nil per os, "nothing by mouth" ("Put this patient NPO.")


Perforate; to burst


Pupils equally responsive to light...a neurologic test


Hormone given intravenously to stimulate uterine contractions


Blood factors that help blood to clot; reduced platelet count is a contraindication for many surgical procedures, since surgeons rely on the clotting process to keep a patient from bleeding out on the operating table.


Collapsed lung; this can be caused by any puncture wound to the chest deeper than an inch or so.


The rear plane of the body


Blood pressures at arteries, veins, and within the chambers


Premature Rupture Of Membranes (water broke too early and the unborn baby is at risk for infection)


Phaser wound

Ruptured Aortic Aneurism

Ruptured main artery

Send Him Redline

Send him directly and urgently

Sinus Rhythm

Normal heartbeat


Sexually transmitted disease


Fast heart rate; normal heart rate is 60-100 beats per minute

Tension Pneumothorax

Collapsed lung-- usually due to a puncture wound to the chest which forms a connective tissue "valve" in the thoracic wall-- in which air escapes into chest upon inspiration but cannot escape during expiration; increases pressure inside thoracic cavity, in particular on the heart and great vessels, and on the lungs. Tension pneumothorax is an emergent condition because pressure within the thoracic cavity continues to increase with each breath and displaces the lung and mediastinal cavity, which contains many vital organs, nerves, and vessels.

Throat Culture

Test for Streptococcus

Tox Screen

Drug Test


Temperature/pulse/respiration, the basic diagnostic values for most carbon-based life forms

Type and Cross

Draw blood, type it match with same type for transfusion


HR abnormally high

Vitamin H

Haldol, a very powerful sedating agent for combative people


Weak And Dizzy All Over

Walking Time Bomb

Someone with a disease that could be fatal any minute

White Count

WBC; increased count usually indicates infection


Within Normal Limits


  • Taken from The Los Angeles Times- "Behind the Scenes at ER"
  • Compiled by Takako Nagumo, additions by James Bowman