Glossary S's

septicemia

Definition:life-threatening condition in which bacteria multiply in the blood and produce toxic materials; commonly known as blood poisoning; also known as systemic inflammatory response syndrome

sinoatrial node

Definition:structure that regulates the heartbeat; a natural pacemaker

sacroiliitis

Definition:inflammation of the sacroiliac joints, which causes pain in the lower body

sacrum

Definition:triangular bone located at the bottom of the spine that is connected to the tailbone, the hipbones near the sacroilial joints, and the rest of the spine

saline

Definition:describes a salt solution or any substance that contains salt

salpingectomy

Definition:surgical removal of one or both fallopian tubes

salpingitis

Definition:inflammation of a fallopian tube

salpingo-oophorectomy

Definition:surgical removal of one or both of the fallopian tubes and one or both of the ovaries

sarcoidosis

Definition:rare disease with no known cause that leads to inflammation in tissues throughout the body, including the lymph nodes, lungs, liver, skin, and eyes

sarcoma

Definition:cancer in connective tissues such as bone or muscle

scarlet fever

Definition:infectious childhood disease, caused by streptococcus a bacterium that leads to a sore throat, fever, and rash

schizophrenia

Definition:group of mental disorders characterized by abnormal thoughts, moods, and actions; sufferers have a distorted sense of reality, and a split personality (i.e., thoughts do not logically fit together)

sciatic

Definition:prefix meaning pertaining to or affecting the hip

sciatica

Definition:pain along the sciatic nerve, which runs down the length of the leg to the foot; usually caused by pressure on the nerve due to a prolapsed disk, tumor, abscess, or blood clot

scleroderma

Definition:immune system disorder of varying degree that can affect many areas of the body

sclerotherapy

Definition:treatment of varicose veins by injection of a solution that destroys them

scrotum

Definition:sac containing the testicles

sebaceous cyst

Definition:swelling that occurs under the skin, most commonly on the scalp, face, ears, and genital; although usually harmless, can grow very large and become painful if infected

sedative

Definition:drug that has a calming effect and is used to treat anxiety and pain, bring on sleep, or help relax a person before surgery

semi-conscious

Definition:partially conscious, not completely aware of sensations

senile

Definition:pertaining to or characteristic of old age

sepsis

Definition:infection of a wound or tissue with bacteria, causing the spread of the bacteria into the bloodstream; also known as systemic inflammatory response syndrome caused by a microbe

septic arthritis

Definition:joint inflammation caused by a bacterial infection

septic shock

Definition:ife-threatening condition in which tissues become damaged and blood pressure drops due to bacteria multiplying and producing poisons in the bloodstream

serum

Definition:clear, watery fluid that separates from clotted blood

shingles

Definition:nerve infection caused by the chickenpox virus, causing areas of painful rash covered with blisters; also called varicella zoster

shock

Definition:condition of reduced flow of blood throughout the body, usually caused by severe infection, severe bleeding or a weak heart; without treatment, can lead to a collapse, coma, and death

shunt

Definition:artificially constructed or an abnormal passage connecting two usually separate structures in the body

sacroiliac joints/h3>

Definition:pair of joints located in the pelvis between the sacrum and the hipbones

sick sinus syndrome /h3>

Definition:abnormal functioning of the structure that regulates the heartbeat, causing episodes of abnormal heart rhythm

sickle cell anemia

Definition:genetic disorder in which the red blood cells are abnormal and deformed, causing anemia (i.e., reduced ability to transport oxygen in the blood) and clogging of blood vessels; bouts of fever, headache, and weakness result

sickle cell trait

Definition:less serious form of sickle cell anemia

side effect

Definition:a consequence other than the one for which a medication or procedure is used

sigmoidoscopy

Definition:examination of the rectum and the lowest part of the large intestine using a flexible viewing tube inserted through the anus

sinus bradycardia

Definition:abnormal heartbeat less than 60 beats per minute

sinus tachycardia

Definition:abnormal heartbeat over 100 beats per minute

sinus

Definition:cavity within bone or a channel that contains blood; also refers to an abnormal tract in the body

sinusitis

Definition:inflammation of the lining of the cavities (sinuses) in the bone surrounding the nose, usually as a result of a bacterial infection spreading from the nose

skin graft

Definition:method of treating damaged or lost skin in which a piece of skin is taken from another area of the body and transplanted in a damaged or missing section

skull

Definition:the bones that form the framework of the head and enclose and protect the brain and other sensory organs

sleep apnea

Definition:condition in which breathing stops for very short periods of time during sleep

small intestine

Definition:the long tube running from the stomach to the large intestine that is involved in digestion of foods and absorption of nutrients

smear

Definition:sample of cells spread across a glass slide to be examined through a microscope

skilled nursing facility (SNF)

Definition:health care facility which provides skilled nursing care or rehabilitation for inpatients on a daily basis

sodium bicarbonate

Definition:substance used as an antacid

sodium

Definition:mineral that plays a role in the body's water balance, heart rhythm, nerve impulses, and muscle contraction; present in table salt (sodium chloride)

somatic

Definition:pertaining to the body

soporific

Definition:causing or inducing deep sleep; also a drug which induces sleep

spasm

Definition:involuntary muscle contraction; can sometimes be powerful and painful

spastic paralysis

Definition:spasticity involving partial paralysis

spasticity

Definition:muscle stiffness caused by an increase in contractions of the muscle fibers

speech therapy

Definition:treatment to help someone overcome a problem communicating verbally

sphincter

Definition:ring of muscle fibers located around a naturally occurring passage or opening in the body that opens and closes to regulate passage of substances

spinal canal

Definition:canal that contains the spinal cord, spinal cord covering membrane and spinal fluid

spinal cord

Definition:the long tube of nerve tissue inside the spinal column, running from the brain down the length of the back inside of the spine

spinal fusion

Definition:surgical joining of two or more adjacent vertebrae using bone fragments; used to help severe back pain or prevent damage to the spinal cord

spinal tap

Definition:procedure in which a needle is inserted into the lower region of the spinal canal to remove a sample of spinal fluid or to inject a drug; also called a lumbar puncture

spine

Definition:the column of bones and cartilage running along the midline of the back that surrounds and protects the spinal cord and supports the head

spiral fracture

Definition:coiled break in a bone, resembling a corkscrew

spirometry

Definition:assessment of lung condition in which a person breathes into a device and the volume of air exhaled is measured

spleen

Definition:organ located in the upper left abdomen behind the ribs that removes and destroys old red blood cells and helps fight infection

splenectomy

Definition:surgical removal of the spleen

splint

Definition:device used to immobilize a part of the body

sputum

Definition:mucus and other material produced by the lining of the respiratory tract; also called phlegm

ST monitoring

Definition:highly sensitive monitoring of cardiac ischemia

staphylococci

Definition:common bacteria that cause skin infections and a number of other disorders

status asthmaticus

Definition:life-threatening asthma attack requiring immediate treatment

status epilepticus

Definition:life-threatening succession of epileptic seizures

sexually transmitted disease

Definition:infections that are most commonly spread through sexual intercourse or genital contact

stent

Definition:device placed within a tubular structure of the body, such as an artery, to hold the tubular structure open

sternum

Definition:the long, flat bone located at the center of the chest

steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

Definition:name for group of drugs, which resemble hormones produced in the body; used to decrease inflammation

steroids

Definition:group of drugs, including corticosteroids, which resemble hormones produced by the adrenal glands, and anabolic steroids, which are similar to the hormones produced by the male sex organs

stoma

Definition:surgically formed opening on a body surface

stool

Definition:bodily waste discharged through the anus; also called feces

strain

Definition:muscle damage resulting from excessive stretching or forceful contraction

strangulated hernia

Definition:hernia in which the protruding organ or tissue loses its blood supply, requiring emergency surgery

strep throat

Definition:inflammatory sore throat caused by streptococci bacteria and marked by fever, prostration and toxemia

streptococci

Definition:bacteria that cause a variety of diseases, including pneumonia and strep throat

stress fracture

Definition:a bone break resulting from repeated pressure on the bone

stroke

Definition:damage to part of the brain due to either insufficient blood supply caused by a blockage in an artery or the rupturing of a blood vessel; leads to complete or partial loss of function in the area of the body that is controlled by the damaged part of the brain

submucosa

Definition:layer of connective tissue under a mucous membrane

subcutaneous

Definition:located beneath the skin

suppository

Definition:solid cone or bullet-shaped object comprised of a base (i.e., a chemically inactive substance that is solid at room temperature but melts or dissolves at body temperature) and a medication that is inserted into the rectum or vagina or urethra

surgery

Definition:an operation

surgical

Definition:pertaining to or correctable by surgery

surrogate

Definition:adult, usually a family member, assigned by the court in some states to make decisions regarding a patient's health care when no advance directive by the patient exists and the patient is unable to make or express his/her preferences

suture

Definition:surgical stitch that helps close an incision or wound so that it can heal properly

sympathetic nervous system

Definition:the part of the autonomic nervous system that raises blood pressure and heart rate in response to stress

sacro

Definition:prefix meaning connected to or relation with the sacrum

salivary glands

Definition:group of glands that secrete saliva into the mouth

secondary

Definition:descriptive of a disease or disorder that follows or is caused by another one

seizure

Definition:sudden uncontrolled waves of electrical activity in the brain, causing involuntary movement or loss of consciousness

senile dementia

Definition:form of dementia caused by atrophy of the frontal lobes of the brain; leads to progressive deterioration of mental functioning

systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS)

Definition:condition characterized by having two of the following four clinical criteria: fever, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, and abnormal white blood cell count

systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)

Definition:disease of the immune system that causes inflammation of connective tissue in many areas of the body, including the skin, lungs, heart, joints, and kidneys

sphygmomanometer

Definition:a device used to measure blood pressure

sprain

Definition:tearing or stretching of the ligaments in a joint, characterized by pain, swelling, and an inability to move the joint

stenosis

Definition:narrowing of a body passageway

syndrome

Definition:group of symptoms that indicate a certain disorder when they occur together

syphilis

Definition:a sexually transmitted disease; initially causes only painless sores on the genitals but can be life-threatening if untreated

syringe

Definition:instrument used for injecting fluids into or withdrawing fluids from the body

systemic

Definition:descriptive of affecting the whole body

systolic pressure

Definition:blood pressure measured while the heart is contracting