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Glossary of Terms

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


A

Abdomen/Abdominal Area between the chest and the hips that contains the stomach, small intestine, large intestine, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, and spleen.
Adhesion A band of scar tissue that joins normally separated internal body structures, most often after surgery, inflammation, or injury in the area.
Allergen Multi-Box Screen Allergen screen for immunoglobin E. A "box" is a category test, such as of trees or mold. If a tree category allergy is detected, then an allergen specific test would be done to determine which tree.
Allergen Specific Antigen Allergen screen for immunoglobin E. This is an individual test for a specific allergy.
ALT Alanine amino transferase.
Amniotic Fluid Clear liquid that surrounds and protects the fetus throughout pregnancy.
Anesthesiologist Specialist who administers anesthetics (drugs or other agents to prevent or relieve pain during medical procedures) to a patient before being treated.
Angiography X-ray that uses dye injected into arteries so that blood circulation can be studied.
Angioplasty The use of a small balloon on the tip of a catheter inserted into a blood vessel to open up an area of blockage inside the vessel.
Anteroposterior In x-ray imaging, taken or viewed from front to back (as opposed to from back to front, which is posteroanterior).
Aortic Aneurysm Swelling of the main blood vessel leaving the heart (aorta), usually representing an underlying weakness in the wall of the aorta at that location.
Aortic Valve The valve that regulates blood flow from the heart into the aorta.
Arthroscopy A minimally-invasive diagnostic and treatment procedure used for conditions of a joint. This procedure uses a small, lighted, optic tube (arthroscope) which is inserted into the joint through a small incision in the joint. Images of the inside of the joint are projected onto a screen; used to evaluate any degenerative and/or arthritic changes in the joint; to detect bone diseases and tumors; to determine the cause of bone pain and inflammation.
AST Aspartate amino transferase.

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B

Basic Metabolic Panel A group of eight tests used as a general screening tool.
Bilateral Affecting both sides of the body. For example, bilateral breast cancer is cancer occurring in both breasts at the same time.
Bilirubin Bilirubin is a substance formed when hemoglobin breaks down. A bilirubin test measures the amount of bilirubin in the blood.
Blood Type ABO A blood test that categorizes blood into one of four types: A, B, AB or O.
Blood Type Rh A blood test that checks for the presence or absence of the Rh antigen, also called the Rh factor.
Brain Lesion A destructive change in brain tissue, such as a wound, injury, or inflammation.

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C

Carotid Artery The major artery in the neck that supplies blood to the brain.
Carpal Tunnel Passageway in the wrist through which nerves and the flexor muscles of the hands pass.
Cautery Instrument or substance used to destroy tissue by burning it with a hot iron, electric current, caustic, or by freezing it.
C Difficile Clostridium difficile: an intestinal bacteria that can be detected by a culture.
Cervical Spine The area of the spinal cord located in the neck.
Cervix Relating to the lower, narrow part of the uterus (womb) located between the bladder and the rectum. It forms a canal that opens into the vagina, which leads to the outside of the body.
Cesarean Section Surgical procedure to deliver a baby through an incision in the lower abdomen and uterus.
Charge Specialist Contact a John C. Lincoln Health Network Charge Specialist.
Chlamydia A sexually transmitted disease.
Colon Large intestine.
Comprehensive Metabolic Panel A group of 14 tests used as a general screening tool.
Contrast A substance that is opaque to x-rays; when administered it allows a radiologist to examine the organ or tissue it fills.
Coronary Coronary arteries come from the aorta to provide blood to the heart muscle.
Coronary Bypass Surgical procedure in which a healthy blood vessel is transplanted from another part of the body into the heart to replace or bypass a diseased vessel.
Coronary Catheterization Minimally invasive procedure to access the coronary circulation and blood-filled chambers of the heart using a catheter. It is performed for both diagnostic and interventional (treatment) purposes.
CPK Creatine phosphokinase: an enzyme present in various tissue types.
CPT Code Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) is a code used by all hospitals, physicians and insurance companies to identify a specific type of service or procedure.
Creatinine A waste product formed by the breakdown of a substance (creatine) important for converting food into energy (metabolism).
CT Scan Computed Tomography (CT) is a non-invasive, diagnostic procedure that uses a series of x-rays to show a cross-sectional view of the inside of the body.
Cystocele Condition in which weakened pelvic muscles cause the base of the bladder to drop from its usual position down into the vagina.

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D

Diagnostic X-Ray Diagnostic test which uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal tissues, bones, and organs onto film.
DRG Code Diagnosis-Related Group (DRG) is a code system used to classify hospital cases for the purpose of reimbursements from programs such as Medicare.
Drug-Eluting Stent A stent is a small, lattice-shaped, metal tube inserted permanently into an artery to hold it open so that blood can flow through it. Drug-eluting stents are stents that contain drugs that reduce the chance the arteries becoming blocked.
Duodenum The first section of the small intestine.

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E

Endarterectomy The surgical removal of plaque or blood clots in an artery.
Endometrium Mucous membrane lining of the inner surface of the uterus that grows during each menstrual cycle and is shed in menstrual blood.
Endoscopic Relating to a procedure that uses an endoscope, a long, flexible, lighted tube, to diagnose or treat a condition.
Enterocele Prolapse of the small intestine through the top of the vagina.
Esophageal Sphincter A circular band of muscle which connects the esophagus to the stomach.
Estimated Average Charge The estimated average charge is an approximate calculation of the total hospital charges for a specific service or procedure at a John C. Lincoln Health Network facility in Grand Rapids. It is not a fixed quote. An estimated average charge does not include other fees from your surgeon, anesthesiologist, pathologist or radiologist.
Ethmoid Sinus Sinus of the meatuses (passageways) of the nasal cavity (behind the bridge of the nose).
Extremity That part of a limb that is farthest from the torso.

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F

Fallopian Tubes Thin tubes that extend from each side of the uterus, toward the ovaries, as a passageway for eggs and sperm.
Femur Thighbone.
Ferritin A protein in the body that binds to iron.
Fetus/Fetal Unborn baby from the eighth week after fertilization until delivery.
Fibroids Non-cancerous growths in, on, or within the walls of the uterus.
Fibula Calf bone; the outer and thinner of the two bones of the human leg between the knee and ankle.
Fibular Relating to the fibula (calf bone), the outer, narrower, and smaller of the two bones of the lower leg, extending from the knee to the ankle.
Fluoroscopy Study of moving body structures, similar to an x-ray "movie." A continuous x-ray beam is passed through the body part being examined, and is transmitted to a TV-like monitor so that the body part and its motion can be seen in detail.
Forearm The part of the arm between the elbow and the wrist.
Free T4 A test to help evaluate thyroid function.
Fusion Correction of an unstable part of the spine by joining two or more vertebrae; usually done surgically but sometimes done by traction or immobilization.

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G

Gastroenterostomy Surgical creation of an opening between the stomach wall and the small intestines; performed when the normal opening has been eliminated.
GC PCR A test to identify the bacteria Neisseria Gonorrhoeae, responsible for the sexually transmitted disease gonorrhoea.
Glucose Test A test to measure the amount of a type of sugar in the blood.
Glycated Hemoglobin Test (Hgb A1C) A test to measure the amount of glucose concentration over a period of time.

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H

Hemoglobin Hemoglobin is a substance within red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout your body.
Hematocrit This test measures the amount of space (volume) red blood cells occupy in the blood.
Hernia Protrusion of part of an organ through the muscle that surrounds it.
HIV Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that attacks the immune system, making it difficult for the body to fight infection and disease.
Hysterectomy Surgical removal of the uterus.

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I

Image Post-Processing Manipulating the information from the CT scan to better visualize the part of the body that is being examined.
Incarcerated/Strangulated Compressed, constricted, or obstructed so as to cut off the flow of blood or other fluid.
Incisional Relating to the surgically cutting of or into body tissues or organs.
Inguinal Relating to or near the groin.
Inpatient Procedure A procedure that requires the patient to stay at the hospital at least one night.
Insurance (Commercial/Private) An employer provided or personally purchased insurance policy that provides coverage for health care services. Deductibles, coinsurance, out-of-pocket limits and types of coverage vary.
Internal Fixation The stabilization of broken bones by direct fixation to one another with surgical wires, pins, screws, or plates.
Ionized Calcium Test A test to measure the amount of calcium that is not bound to protein in the blood.

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L

Laparoscopic Relating to the use of a viewing tube with a lens or camera (and a light on the end), which is inserted through a small incision in the abdomen to examine the contents of the abdomen and remove tissue samples.
LAP-BAND Laparoscopic (Laparoscopic Gastric Banding) A common bariatric procedure which involves the placement of an adjustable silicone elastic band on the upper part of the stomach typically using a laparoscopic technique.
Lead Test A test to measure the amount of lead present in the blood.
Ligation The tying of a duct or blood vessel with a ligature to prevent bleeding during surgery.
Lipase Lipase is an enzyme that helps digest fats.
Lipid Panel A group of tests used to measure lipids, or fatty substances, in the body. The panel includes total cholesterol, types of cholesterol and triglycerides.
Liver/Hep Function Panel A group of tests used to detect and monitor liver disease or damage.
Lumbar Relating to or near the lower back between the ribs and the hipbones.
Lumbosacral Relating to or near the small of the back and the back part of the pelvis between the hips.
Lymph Node(s) Small organs located in the channels of the lymphatic system which store special cells to trap bacteria or cancer cells traveling through the lymph vessels.

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M

Magnesium Level A test to measure the amount of magnesium in the blood.
Mammogram X-ray of the breast tissue.
Mammography Diagnostic procedure to detect breast tumors by the use of X-rays.
Mastectomy Surgical removal of all or part of the breast.
Meniscus Crescent-shaped cartilage between the upper end of the tibia (shin bone) and the femur (thigh bone).
Microalbumin Test A test that measures the amount of albumin in the urine. Albumin is a protein that is produced in the liver and released into the blood.
Mono Test A test for mononucleosis, an infectious disease caused by a virus.
MRA (Magnetic Resonance Angiogram) Diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of a large magnet, radiofrequencies and a computer to produce detailed images of the blood vessels.
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) Diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body.

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N

Nasal Septum Partition of bone and cartilage between the nasal cavities.
Natriuretic Peptide/Brain Natriuretic Peptide (BNP) Test A test for natriuretic peptide or brain natriuretic peptide, a hormone that is an indicator of how efficiently the heart is working.

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O

Obstetric Panel A group of blood tests performed before and during a pregnancy.
Occult Blood Screen A test to detect blood in the stool by placing a small sample of stool on a chemically treated card, pad or wipe.
Other Charges Estimated average hospital charges DO NOT INCLUDE physicians fees such as your surgeon, anesthesiologist, pathologist or radiologist. They will bill you separately for their services.
Outpatient Location A non-hospital surgical facility dedicated to providing outpatient surgery and procedures.
Outpatient Procedure A procedure that does not require the patient to stay overnight at the hospital.

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P

Pathologist Physician who identifies diseases by studying cells and tissues under a microscope.
PCR Polymerase chain reaction, a technique used in a number of laboratory tests.
Pelvic Floor Muscles and connective tissue providing support for pelvic organs; e.g. bladder, lower intestines, uterus (in females); also aids in continence as part of the urinary and anal sphincters.
Pelvis Basin-shaped structure that supports the spinal column and contains the sacrum, coccyx, and hip bones (ilium, pubis, and ischium).
Peritoneal Relating to the peritoneum, or the lining of the abdominal cavity.
PET A noninvasive, painless procedure that combines the technology from a positron emission tomography (PET) and a computed tomography (CT) to create one highly powerful diagnostic imaging system.
Phosphorous Phosphorus is a component of DNA and RNA and is necessary for all living cells.
Potassium Potassium is an essential component necessary for all living cells.
Procedure Code A code used by all hospitals, physicians and insurance companies to identify a specific type of service or procedure.
Prolapsing A condition that occurs when an internal organ slips from its normal position.
Prosthesis Artificial body part replacement.
Protime (INR) A test to measure the clotting tendency of blood.
PSA A prostate-specific antigen screen to evaluate the possibility of prostate cancer.
PTT Partial thromboplastin time measures the time it takes the blood to clot.
Pulmonary Embolisms Blockage of the pulmonary (lung) artery by foreign matter or by a blood clot.

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Q

Quality of Care Learn about John C. Lincoln Health Network's quality of care.
Quality Report Card View John C. Lincoln Health Network's quality report cards.

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R

Radiological Marker Placing a needle into the area that may be surgically removed.
Radiologist Physician specializing in the field of radiology (x-rays or other imaging technologies, such as ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging) to diagnose or treat disease.
Rectocele Condition in which weakening of the lower vaginal wall causes the rectum to bulge into the vagina.
Recurrent To occur again; reappearance of cancer cells at the same site or in another location.
Reducible Permitting of reduction; capable of being reduced.
Reduction of Fracture Correction or realignment of a broken bone.
Retroperitoneal Relating to the area behind the abdominal cavity, including: kidneys, bladder, and portions of the duodenum, pancreas, and colon.
Rotator Cuff Muscles and tendons that form a cuff over the shoulder joint and attach the scapula to the bone in the upper arm (humerus); major function is to control and produce rotation of the shoulder.
Roux-en-Y Laparoscopic A form of gastric bypass surgery that can also be performed as an open procedure when necessary.

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S

Sacral Referring to the sacrum, the wedge-shaped bone consisting of five fused vertebrae forming the posterior part of the pelvis.
Scrotum Bag of skin that holds the testicles.
SED Rate A sedimentation rate test measures the speed in which blood cells settle to the bottom of a test tube. Abnormalities in the blood can cause cells to sink more rapidly.
Shunt A connector to allow blood flow between two locations.
Skin Lesion Destructive change in skin tissue, such as a wound, injury, or inflammation.
Spinal Canal The passageway in successive vertebrae through which the spinal cord passes.
Stoma Mouth like surgical opening on the surface of the body to create access to an internal organ.
Supine Lying face upward.
Surgeon Physician who specializes in surgery.

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T

Thin Prep Pap Screen A type of test used to screen for cervical cancer.
Thoracic Relating to the chest or thorax.
Throat Culture A test to detect and identify a bacterial, fungal or viral infection in the throat.
Thyroid Gland Endocrine gland located in the neck that regulates metabolism (the chemical processes in the body) and growth; the gland produces thyroid hormone.
Tibia Shin bone or larger bone of the lower leg.
Transurethral Through the urethra (narrow channel through which urine passes from the bladder out of the body).
Transvaginal Through the vagina (the passageway through which fluid passes out of the body during menstrual periods).
TSH Thyroid stimulating hormone is a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland that is used to regulate thyroid function.

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U

Ultrasound Diagnostic imaging technique which uses high-frequency sound waves and a computer to create images of blood vessels, tissues, and organs. Ultrasounds are used to view internal organs as they function, and to assess blood flow through various vessels.
Umbilical Referring to the rope-like cord connecting the fetus to the placenta. The umbilical cord contains two arteries and a vein, which carry oxygen and nutrients to the fetus and waste products away from the fetus.
Uninsured View payment options for the uninsured.
Urinalysis A physical or chemical test of the urine.
Urine Pregnancy Test A test to look for human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), also called the pregnancy hormone. This hormone is only present during pregnancy.

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V

Vascular Pertaining to blood vessels.
Vena Cava Either of two large veins that return oxygen-depleted blood to the right atrium of the heart.
Ventral Toward or on or near the belly.
Vitamin B12 Vitamin B12 is necessary for creating new red blood cells, maintaining nervous system health, and growth and development in children.

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X

X-Ray Diagnostic test which uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal tissues, bones, and organs onto film.

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Additional Sources

Additional sources referenced for glossary term definitions include:

  1. Wordnet.princeton.edu - WordNet 2.1 Copyright 2005 by Princeton University. All rights reserved. WordNet is an online lexical reference system developed by the Cognitive Science Laboratory at Princeton University.
  2. Thefreedictionary.com: Copyright 2006 by Farlex, Inc.
  3. The American Heritage Stedmans Medical Dictionary, Second Edition - Houghton Mifflin
  4. FDA.gov: U. S. Food and Drug Administration, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville MD 20857-0001
  5. Labtestsonline.org: Copyright 2001-2007 by the American Association for Clinical Chemistry

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