Dictionary Definitions

an•es•thet•ic | “an-uh-sthe-tick”
An agent that temporarily depresses neuronal function, effectively numbing the area and producing a loss of sensation.
Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, gives patients an exhilarating feeling while serving as an anesthetic to help reduce pain.
an•ti•bi•ot•ics | “an-ty-by-ot-icks”
A substance produced or derived from certain fungi, bacteria, or other organisms that can destroy infections and disease.
Doctors prescribed antibiotics to treat his ear infection.
ar•ter•y | “ar-teh-ree”
A part of the circulatory system made up of branching vessels moving blood to various parts of the body from the heart.
One of the main arteries can be found in the neck.
ar●thri●tis |“ar-thry-tiss”
Acute or chronic inflammation of a joint characterized by stiffness and pain.
Staying active can help ward off a variety of health concerns that happen as you get older like obesity and arthritis.
The fluid made up of plasma, red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets that circulates in the vascular system, and transports oxygen and nutrients to the body and waste materials away from tissue.
The patient lost a lot of blood after severely cutting her arm.
Blood Transfusion
An injection of blood from one person or animal into the bloodstream of another.
The blood bank is asking for donations because numerous people require blood transfusions after a major car accident.
Blood type
The specific category of blood each individual has, consisting of four major types; O, A, B, and AB. These types are based on the presence or absence of specific antigens in red blood cells.
Once doctors locate a heart donor, it is matched with candidates based on their blood type, body size and medical condition.
The blood flowing through the circulatory system in the living body.
IV medication goes straight into the patient’s bloodstream.
Blood sugar (High)
The result of not having enough insulin in the body.
Patients with high blood sugar may experience blurred vision, weight loss, and the need to constantly use the restroom.
Blood sugar (Low)
The result of having an abnormally low level of glucose in the body.
Patients with low blood sugar can experience irritability, confusion and may even pass out.
cann•u•la | “can-yah-luh”
A thin plastic tube used for insertion into the body to draw off fluid or to introduce medication.
The cannula goes into the vein to deliver medication.
car●bo●hy●drate |“car-bo-high-drayt
Organic compounds that form the supporting tissues of plants and are the main source of energy in the body.
Bread and pasta are great sources of carbohydrates.
cath•e•ter | “kath-ih-terr”
A thin tube inserted into the body for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes.
The fluids flow from the container, through the catheter and into the patient.
Central Line Associated Bloodstream Infection (CLABSI)
An infection that occurs when bacteria or viruses enter the bloodstream through the central line.
The patient suffering from CLABSI has a fever and soreness around the central line.
Central Venous Catheter
cen•tral  ve•nous  cath•e•ter | “sen-trull vee-nuss kath-ih-ter”
A catheter placed into a vein in the neck, chest or groin for an extended period of time.
The dialysis patient required the use of a central venous catheter.
chem•o•ther•a•py | “kee-mo-ther-uh-pee”
A treatment that uses chemicals with toxic effects upon the illness-producing microorganisms or that selectively target cancerous tissue.
The doctors prescribed chemotherapy to treat the cancerous cells in her lung.
Compartment Syndrome
com●part●ment syn●dro●me
A painful and dangerous condition caused by pressure buildup from internal bleeding or swelling of tissues.
The patient was diagnosed with compartment syndrome due to an IV infiltration.
D5W | Dextrose 5% in Water
A solution that is a form of glucose and moves fluid into cells.
Healthcare providers use D5W to replace lost fluids and provide carbohydrates to the body.
de•hy•dra•tion | “dee-hi-dray-shun”
An abnormal loss of water from the body, especially from illness or physical exertion.
Heat and humidity combined with physical exertion are a major trigger of dehydration.
dex●trose |“deck-strohs”
A form of glucose found in animal or plant tissue, or derived synthetically from starch.
Dextrose is often used in baking to sweeten foods.
di●a●be●tes |“dye-uh-bee-tees”
A metabolic condition characterized by inadequate production or utilization of insulin, resulting in excessive amounts of glucose in the blood sugar or urine.
Doctors link the intake of too much refined sugar to everything from heart disease to diabetes.
dis●lodge●ment |“dis-loj-ment
To unintentionally remove an IV from a previously fixed position.
His arm got caught on the catheter resulting in the dislodgement of the line from the patient.
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
deep vein “throm-boh-sis”
The formation of a blood clot inside a deep vein, normally found in the leg.
Injuring a vein can prevent blood from circulating and clotting correctly, which can lead to a case of Deep Vein Thrombosis.
e●de●ma |“eh-dih-muh”
An accumulation of an excessive amount of fluid in cells or tissues.
The patient’s edema was mainly caused by salt retention, resulting in excess fluid in their body.
e●lec●tro●lyte |“eh-leck-tro-lyt”
A chemical compound required by cells to regulate the electric charge and flow of water molecules across the cell membrane.
It’s important to drink lots of fluids and replenish your body’s electrolytes after vigorous exercise on a hot day.
Ex•tra•va•sa•tion | “ik-strav-uh-zay-shun”
The accidental infiltration of a vesicant or chemotherapeutic drug into the surrounding IV site.
The extravasation caused pain and infection due to the ill effects of the vesicant.
Liquid that carries electrolytes, nutrients, medicine or other vital chemicals to and through tissue cells.
The nurse administered fluids through an IV to treat the dehydrated patient.
The act of clearing intravenous lines of any medicine or perishable liquids to keep the lines and entry area clean and sterile.
The nurse flushed the IV with saline after the medication was delivered into the patient.
A sugar found in the blood that serves as the major energy source for the body.
People with low blood sugar do not have the appropriate amount of glucose in their body.
HAI | Hospital Acquired Infection
An infection that occurs in a hospital and is caused by a viral, bacterial or fungal pathogen.
Surgeons carefully wash their hands and wear sterile clothing during surgery to prevent the occurrence of HAIs.
in•fec•tion | “in-feck-shun”
An invasion of the body by pathogenic microorganisms that may cause harm to a bodily part or tissue.
The patient needs an injection of antibiotics to fight off the infection.
In•fil•tra•tion | “in-fill-tray-shun”
The delivery of fluid and/or medication outside the vein and into the surrounding soft tissue.
The patient suffered an infiltration when the tip of the catheter slipped out of their vein.
in●flam●ma●tion |“in-fluh-may-shun”
The reaction of living tissue to injury or infection, characterized by heat, redness, swelling, and pain.
She sprained her ankle while running and experienced inflammation around her foot and leg.
Irritant drug
ir●ih●tant dr●ug
Medication that may cause severe and irreversible tissue injury.
The patient experienced an extravasation after an irritant drug was administered through the IV.
Iron infusion
The delivery of iron into the body via IV therapy to treat iron deficiency.
The anemic patient receives iron infusion treatment to treat the condition.
in●su●lin |“in-suh-lin”
A protein hormone secreted by the pancreas that controls the concentration of glucose in the blood.
Insulin deficiencies typically result in the onset of diabetes.
in•tra•ve•nous | “in-truh-vee-nuss”
Administered by entering a vein.
The doctor prescribed an intravenous medication.
Intravenous (IV) therapy
in•tra•ve•nous  ther•a•py | “in-truh-vee-nuss  ther-uh-pee”
The delivery of liquid substances directly into the vein to treat a bodily disorder.
Intravenous (IV)  therapy was used to treat dehydration.
IV (or infusion) pump
A device that infuses fluids, medication or nutrients into a patient’s circulatory system.
The nurse uses an IV (or infusion) pump to administer medication directly into the patient’s vein.
Medical Device
med•i•cal  de•vice | “med-ih-kull  duh-vhys”
An instrument or machine used to prevent, diagnose or treat an illness or disease, or for detecting, measuring, correcting or modifying bodily functions.
The patients may need a medical device to diagnose their ailment.
Midline Catheter
Mid•line  cath•e•ter | “mid-lyne kath-ih-ter”
A catheter placed into the upper arm above the elbow and below the neck for more than five days, but less than a month.
The patient with hard to reach veins needed a midline catheter.
mor●phine |“moor-feen”
An addictive drug derived from opium that health care professionals use for sedation to relieve the pain of patients.
Opium and morphine are routinely used by doctors to treat patients.
ne●cro●sis |“nuh-kroh-sis”
The death of tissue in the body, usually within a localized area due to an interruption of the blood supply to that body part.
Doctors performed an amputation to remove the patient’s arm after an IV infiltration led to severe necrosis.
nu•tri•ent | “nu-tree-unt”
A substance that acts as a source of nourishment, particularly an ingredient in food.
When digesting food moves through the small intestines, it mixes with chemical and breaks down allowing the body to absorb the nutrients.
Parenteral Nutrition
par●en●ter●al nu●tri●tion |“pa-ren-ter-uh-l noo-trish-uh-n”
The delivery of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals into the body via IV therapy.
Patients that cannot eat due to illness or injury receive essential vitamins and minerals through parenteral nutrition.
Peripheral Venous Catheter (Peripherally Inserted Venous Catheter- PIV)
per•iph•er•al  ve•nous  cath•e•ter | “puh-riff-er-ull  vee-nuss  kath-ih-ter”
Also known as a Standard Line, the most common intravenous access method where the line is placed in the arms, hands, legs or feet.
Peripheral intravenous catheters deliver medications, hydration fluids, blood products and nutritional supplements to emergency room patients.
Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter (PICC line)
A form of intravenous access that can remain in the patient for extended periods of time to allow them to receive medicines, blood or fluids.
The doctor placed a PICC line in her patient who required a continuous dose of medication for two weeks.
phle●bi●tis |“fluh-by-tis
Inflammation of a vein.
Phlebitis has many potential causes including mechanical, chemical or infection.
A small medical appliance that doctors install beneath the skin below a patient’s collarbone and connect to a catheter to administer drugs and draw blood samples.
Using a port drastically reduces the number of needle sticks a patient must endure.
Sa•line | “say-leen”
A sterile solution of sodium chloride used to dilute medications for intravenous therapy or to maintain adequate hydration.
The patient was given saline to treat their dehydration.
Saline lock IV
An IV that is flushed with saline before being capped off.
The nurse saline locked the IV after continuous fluids were completed.
An electrolyte and mineral that is naturally abundant, especially in salt added to foods, seasoning or preservation, and helps to maintain fluid inside and outside of the body’s cells.


High sodium: Also known as hypernatremia, the result of not having enough water or too much sodium in the blood. Severe cases can lead to confusion, muscle twitching, seizures, coma, and death.

Low sodium: Also known as hyponatremia, the result of either too much water or not enough sodium in the blood. Can cause loss of consciousness, seizures, coma, and death.

Eating large amounts of salty foods can, over time, result in excessive sodium levels in the body that can cause hypertension and other health problems.
Sodium chloride
Sodium chlor•ide | “so-dee-um klor-eye-d”
The same as common table salt.
Sodium chloride helps to replenish electrolytes in the body and irrigates wounds.
throm•bo•sis | “throm-boh-sis”
The development of a blood clot in the circulatory system.
Depending on where thrombosis occurs, the results can include a stroke or heart attack.
A collection of similar cells and organic material acting together to perform specific functions in the body.
There are four basic types of tissue in the human body.
Vascular Access Devices (VADs)
A device that’s inserted into the veins for diagnostic or therapeutic reasons, such as blood sampling, central venous pressure readings, and blood transfusions.
The nurse inserted a vascular access device into the patient to deliver medication into their system.
vein | “vayn”
A part of the circulatory system made up of branching vessels moving blood from various parts of the body to the heart.
The caregiver inserted the needle into the patient’s vein.
Vesicant drug
Ves•i•cant | “vess-ih-kent”
An agent that causes destruction of tissue.
The introduction of vesicant medication resulted in blisters forming on the patient’s skin.
vi•ta•mins |“vy-tuh-mins”
A group of organic substances found in natural food, beverages, or synthetically produced items that are essential to normal bodily functions.
A healthy diet consists of carbs, proteins, fats, minerals, and vitamins.
Vitamin IV therapy
A blend of vitamins and minerals infused into the body via catheter.
Vitamin IV Therapy can help patients who lack essential nutrients due to a diet rich in processed foods.
A device that uses ultrasonic waves to treat ailments or to provide an image of internal structures.
The nurse used an ultrasound for assistance viewing the patient’s veins when placing a peripheral venous catheter.

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