Glossary

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  • Air Embolism

    A blockage in the blood vessel caused by air bubbles.

    When air accidentally enters the veins or arteries, it can create an air embolism.

  • Amputation

    The removal of all or part of a limb or digit of the body.

    The surgeon had to amputate the patient's leg due to the severity of his injury.

  • Anemia

    A condition where a person does not have enough healthy red blood cells to deliver oxygen throughout the body.

    People who do not get enough iron in their diets may have anemia, causing them to feel tired or weak.

  • Anesthetic

    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.

  • Antibiotics

    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.

  • Artery

    ar•ter•y | “ar-teh-ree”

    A part of the circulatory system made up of branching vessels moving blood from various parts of the body from the heart.

    One of the main arteries can be found in the neck.

  • Arthritis

    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.

  • Back Check Valve
    A device that allows flow in one direction and automatically prevents reverse flow if the fluid in the line reverses direction.

    Back check valves can offer greater safety during IV therapy by preventing fluid exchange or backflow.

  • Blanching

    The occurrence of skin becoming white or pale due to lack of blood flow in the area.

    Blanching of the skin typically means there's an obstruction preventing blood from moving to that part of the body.

  • Blood
    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 the tissue.

    The patient lost a lot of blood after severely cutting her arm.

  • Blood Pressure

    The pressure of a person’s blood against the inner walls of the blood vessels that changes during different phases of the heart’s contraction or under varying conditions of health.

    High blood pressure, if left untreated, can cause heart disease or stroke.

  • 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 high blood sugar may experience blurred vision, weight loss and the need to constantly use the restroom.

  • 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(...)

  • Bloodstream

    The blood flowing through the circulatory system in the living body.

    IV medication goes straight into the patient’s bloodstream.

  • Brain

    The most complex organ in the body that serves as the control center of the central nervous system.

    The brain is made up of a complex network of billions of nerve cells called neurons, as well as other kinds of cells.

  • Butterfly wings

    A medical device consisting of a short needle with two flexible wings to hold the IV infusion equipment in place.

    The use of butterfly wings allows patients more freedom of movement.

  • Cancer

    A disease composed of abnormal cells that can grow rapidly and invade surrounding tissue.

    Smoking can lead to a variety of ailments including lung cancer.

  • Cannula

    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.

  • Catheter

    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

    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.

  • Chemical Phlebitis

    Irritation and inflammation that occurs in the vein and around or near the IV site as a direct result of the drug being administered.

    Nurses must be vigilant about monitoring a patient's reaction to medication(s) to prevent chemical phlebitis from occurring.

  • Chemotherapy

    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.

  • Circulatory System

    The system of organs and tissues including the heart, blood and blood vessels that work to circulate blood through the body.

    Healthcare professionals administer IV therapy via the circulatory system.

  • 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.

  • Clotting

    The interaction of white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets that causes a chemical reaction and forms a soft, insoluble mass.

    Blood clotting is an important process that prevents excessive bleeding when a blood vessel is injured.

  • Deep Vein Thrombosis

    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.

  • Dehydration

    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.

  • Diabetes
    A metabolic condition characterized by inadequate production or utilization of insulin, resulting in excessive amounts of glucose in the blood or urine.

    Doctors link the intake of too much refined sugar to everything from heart disease to diabetes.

  • Dialysis

    A medical procedure that removes metabolic waste products or toxic substances from the blood when a person's kidneys are unable to.

    Kidney disease was once a major cause of death, but is now very treatable due to dialysis.

  • Dislodgement

    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.

  • Drip Chamber

    A device that allows air to rise out from a fluid so that it does not pass downstream.

    Using a drip chamber helps to prevent air embolisms and allows healthcare providers to estimate the rate at which fluid enters a patient.

  • 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.

  • Extravasation

    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.

  • Fluids

    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.

  • Flushing

    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.

  • Gauge

    A measurement for the length of the thickness of a needle, the outside diameter of a catheter.

    Pediatric patients who require IV therapy typically need a smaller gauge catheter.

  • Gravity Method

    A method of IV administration that uses gravity instead of an infusion pump to move the IV fluid through the line and into the patient.

    To effectively use the gravity method, a healthcare provider must hang the bag higher than the IV line.

  • Heart

    The hollow, muscular organ in the chest whose contractions move blood through the circulatory system.

    A human heart beats an average of 75 times per minute and circulates about five liters of blood per minute.

  • ICU

    A section of a hospital or healthcare facility that cares for ill or injured adults who require the highest levels of care.

    A patient suffering from a major head injury needed to be admitted to the ICU.

  • Infection

    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.

  • Infectious Phlebitis

    Irritation and inflammation that occurs in the vein and around or near the IV site when bacteria enters the vein.

    Improper sterilization prior to receiving IV therapy has been found to increase the risk of infectious phlebitis.

  • Infiltration

    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.

  • Inflammation

    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.

  • Insulin
    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.

  • Intensive Care Unit

    A section of a hospital or healthcare facility that cares for ill or injured adults who require the highest levels of care.

    A patient suffering from a major head injury needed to be admitted to the ICU.

  • Intravenous

    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.

  • Iron

    An important component of hemoglobin, which helps the body make healthy, oxygen-carrying red blood cells.

    Eggs, broccoli and spinach are all foods that are rich in iron.

  • 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.

  • IV Failure

    The occurrence of a mistake, malfunction or complication during the administration of IV therapy.

    Dislodgement, infiltration and extravasation are common types of IV failure.

  • Kidney Disease

    When the kidney becomes impaired or damaged and is unable to filter out waste.

    Chronic kidney disease causes diabetes, uncontrolled high blood pressure, and a variety of other serious medical conditions.

  • Kidneys

    A pair of organs that regulate the fluid balance in the body and filter out wastes from the blood in the form of urine.

    All of our blood passes through our kidneys roughly 60 times per day.

  • Lactated Ringers

    A sterile solution used to replace fluid lost by the body.

    Surgical patients receive Lactated Ringers to replenish their calcium, potassium, sodium, and water levels because they're unable to rehydrate on their own while under anesthesia.

  • Lidocaine

    An anaesthetic used to numb tissue or reliever pain.

    Doctors administer Lidocaine to help patients deal with pain.

  • Lung

    One of two saclike respiratory organs that oxygenates blood and removes carbon dioxide from the body.

    Smoking cigarettes can significantly affect the lungs' capacity for air.

  • Marrow

    The soft, fatty, inner tissue of the bone that serves as the major site of blood cell production.

    Unlike donors of vital organs like kidneys, marrow donors can give over and over again.

  • Mechanical Phlebitis

    Irritation and inflammation that occurs in the vein and around or near the IV site due to catheter movement.

    Mechanical phlebitis can occur when the cannula is too big for the 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.

  • Medication Dosing Errors

    When a patient receives the wrong amount of a drug.

    When the patient's IV infiltrated, it was also a medication dosing error because the patient was given an amount different than what was prescribed.

  • 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.

  • Necrosis

    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.

  • Neonatal

    The description of newborns during the first month of their lives.

    Premature newborns are typically admitted to the neonatal clinic.

  • Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

    A section of a hospital or healthcare facility that cares for ill and premature newborns who require the highest levels of care.

    Doctors monitor babies in the NICU for life-threatening issues like apnea and bradycardia.

  • Nervous System

    The system of nerves and nerve centers that include the brain, spinal cord, nerves and ganglia.

    A human's nervous system consists of all the nerves in their body together with the brain and spinal cord.

  • NICU

    A section of a hospital or healthcare facility that cares for ill and premature newborns who require the highest levels of care.

    Doctors monitor babies in the NICU for life-threatening issues like apnea and bradycardia.

  • Nutrient

    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.

  • Pediatric Intensive Care Unit

    A section of a hospital or healthcare facility that cares for ill and injured infants, toddlers and adolescents who require the highest levels of care.

    Children experiencing severe breathing problems, serious infections, or certain heart conditions may need to enter the PICU .

  • 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(...)

  • Phlebotomist

    A trained healthcare worker who specializes in drawing blood for testing or donation.

    If you become a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician, you'll likely spend your days in a hospital or laboratory.

  • PICU

    A section of a hospital or healthcare facility that cares for ill and injured infants, toddlers and adolescents who require the highest levels of care.

    Children experiencing severe breathing problems, serious infections, or certain heart conditions may need to enter the PICU .

  • Plasma

    The liquid part of the blood.

    Plasma infusions can help patients who are sick survive an infection.

  • Platelets

    Tiny cell fragments found in blood plasma that promote blood clotting.

    Platelets contribute to blood clotting by sticking to damaged blood vessels and helping to prevent bleeding.

  • Red Blood Cells

    Cells that carry fresh oxygen throughout the body and remove carbon dioxide by transporting it to the lungs prior to being exhaled.

    Red blood cells are used to distribute oxygen throughout the systems.

  • Roller clamp

    A device, typically made of plastic, that has a small roller that can be adjusted to increase or decrease fluid.

    She used her thumb to adjust the roller clamp and increase the flow of medication to the patient.

  • Saline

    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.

  • Skin

    The tissue that forms an external protective covering made up of the epidermis and dermis.

    Severe burns can be very harmful to the skin.

  • Slide clamp

    A device, typically made of plastic, used to regulate the flow of an IV solution.

    The nurse adjusted the patient's slide clamp to decrease the amount of pain medication he was receiving.

  • Sodium

    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.

    Eating large amounts of salty foods can, over time, result in excessive sodium levels in the body that can(...)

  • 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.

  • Sterile

    Free from disease-causing germs or microorganisms.

    The surgeon and her staff ensured the operating room was sterile before they began the procedure.

  • Swelling

    The abnormal enlargement of a body part caused by an accumulation of fluid in the tissue.

    His ankle immediately began swelling after he sprained it.

  • Syringe

    An instrument used to inject fluids into or from the body.

    Needle syringes have hypodermic needles attached to plastic or glass tubes that contain plungers to create force or suction.

  • Taut

    Tightly drawn; little or no slack.

    A patient's skin can become taut with an IV infiltration.

  • Tissue

    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.

  • Trocar

    A sharp pointed surgical instrument used with a cannula to create an opening and provide an access port to withdraw blood or administer medication, blood or fluids.

    Doctors will sometimes use a trocar to establish an IV site.

  • Ultrasound

    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.

  • 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.

  • Vascular System

    The system of arteries and veins that carry blood and lymph through the body.

    The vascular system delivers oxygen and nutrients throughout the body and takes away waste.

  • Vein

    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.

  • Vein porosity

    The level of which fluids and blood can move from the bloodstream and through their vein walls into the body.

    Poor vein porosity results in the body not being able to receive important vitamins and nutrients.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Vitamins

    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.

  • Volumetric Pump

    A mechanical device that controls and measures the amount of IV fluid that flows into a patient.

    Volumetric pumps allow healthcare providers to administer small doses of medication in short intervals without the need to do so manually.

  • White Blood Cells

    Colorless cells that exist in the body to fight invading microorganisms and foreign particles that can cause sickness.

    Having a healthy immune system means having plenty of white blood cells to fight disease-causing germs.

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