Glossary B's

beta blocker

Definition:type of drug used to treat high blood pressure and heartdisorders by reducing the strength and rate of pumping bythe heart

barium enema

Definition:technique in which barium is placed into the largeintestine and rectum and then X-rays are taken to check forpossible disorders of these organs


Definition:any bacteria that is rod-shaped; responsible fordiphtheria, dysentery, tetanus, and tuberculosis, as well asother diseases


Definition:condition in which bacteria are present in thebloodstream; may occur after minor surgery or infection andmay be dangerous for people with a weakened immune system orabnormal heart valves


Definition:descriptive of a substance that stops the growth ofbacteria, such as an antibiotic


Definition:tiny, single-celled microorganism, commonly known as agerm; plural form is bacteria; some bacteria, calledpathogens, cause disease


Definition:bacteria in the urine; large amounts can indicatebladder, urethra, or kidney infection

balloon angioplasty

Definition:technique that uses a balloon catheter to open arteriesclogged with fatty deposits

balloon catheter

Definition:flexible, hollow tube with a small, inflatable balloonat the tip; used to open a narrowed artery or organ that hasbecome blocked

balloon pump machine

Definition:device that pumps air into an intra-aortic balloon usedas an emergency measure to help the heart pump more bloodand improve blood flow to the heart


Definition:protective covering of a sore or wound; also calleddressing


Definition:sedative drug that reduces activity in the brain;habit-forming and possibly fatal when taken with alcohol


Definition:a contrast material used in X-rays, includinggastrointestinal tract contrast X-rays

benign tumor

Definition:tumor that is not cancerous, which means it does notspread through the body, but may grow and become dangerous


Definition:descriptive of a condition that affects both sides ofthe body or two paired organs, such as bilateral deafness(deafness in both ears)


Definition:yellow-green liquid produced in the liver and secretedto the gall bladder where is it stored for release tofacilitate the digestion of fats

biliary colic

Definition:severe pain in the upper right section of the abdomen,usually caused by a gallstone passing out of the bladder orthrough the bile ducts

biliary tract

Definition:system of organs and ducts through which bile is madeand transported from the liver to the small intestine


Definition:pertaining to bile, the bile ducts or gall bladder


Definition:orange-yellow pigment in bile, causing jaundice if itbuilds up in the blood and skin; the level of bilirubin inthe blood is used to diagnose liver disease


Definition:technique used to gain control over a function that isnormally automatic (such as blood pressure or pulse rate);the function is monitored and relaxation techniques are usedto change it to a desired level


Definition:procedure involving obtaining a tissue sample foranalysis to assist in diagnosis

Bi-level Positive Airway Pressure(BiPAP)

Definition:form of respiratory support providing oxygen andpressure to the lungs to make it easier for patient to breathe

bipolar disorder

Definition:illness in which the patient alternates between oppositeextremes; the most notable bipolar disorder ismanic-depressive disorder, which is characterized by extremehighs and lows in mood

blood type

Definition:classification used to describe a person's bloodaccording to the kinds of proteins present on the surface ofthe red blood cells; there are four blood types, A, B, AB,and O

blood vessels

Definition:any of the passageways for blood, including arteries,arterioles, capillaries, venules, and veins


Definition:organ located in the pelvis to collect and store urineuntil it is expelled

blood clot

Definition:semisolid mass of blood that forms to help seal andprevent bleeding from a damaged vessel; a thrombus is a clotwhich forms within a blood vessel; if the clot moves in theblood vessel it is called an embolus

blood count

Definition:determination of the number of red blood cells, whiteblood cells and platelets in a person's blood


Definition:substance which circulates through the body and consistsof fluid (plasma) and suspended red blood cells, white bloodcells, and platelets; arterial blood (i.e., blood in thearteries) provides oxygen and nutrients to body tissues;venous blood (i.e., blood in the veins) carries carbondioxide and waste products for elimination from the body

basal metabolic rate

Definition:an individual's lowest metabolic rate (consumption ofenergy) expressed in minimum daily caloric intake required;at this rate, only absolutely necessary functions, such asbreathing, are maintained at minimal levels; measured twelvehours after eating, following a restful sleep, with noexercise, physical activity, or emotional excitementpreceding the measurement, which is conducted at roomtemperature

bone marrow transplant

Definition:surgical procedure in which defective or cancerous bonemarrow is replaced with healthy marrow, either from thepatient or a donor


Definition:inflamed, raised area of skin that is pus-filled;usually an infected hair follicle


Definition:poisoning from poorly preserved food contaminated with adangerous bacterial toxin that results in paralysis

blood pressure monitor

Definition:device that continuously monitors and displays bloodpressure

blood pressure

Definition:tension in the main arteries that is created by thebeating of the heart and the resistance to flow andelasticity of the blood vessels

brain damage

Definition:permanent death or damage of brain cells resulting indecreased mental ability

brain death

Definition:condition in which the brain stops functioning while theheart continues to beat

brain stem

Definition:lowest part of the brain, merges with the spinal cord


Definition:abnormally slow heart rate, usually below 60 beats perminute in adults

bronchial tube

Definition:a bronchus or any of its branches


Definition:tiny, thin-walled branch of a bronchus


Definition:infection caused by a virus in the bronchioles, mainlyaffecting young children


Definition:inflammation of the bronchus, usually secondary toinfection


Definition:substance that causes the lung airways to tighten up andbecome more narrow


Definition:drug that widens the airways in the lungs to improvebreathing and to relieve muscle contraction or buildup ofmucus


Definition:special endoscope used to perform bronchoscopy


Definition:procedure to visually examine the windpipe (trachea),bronchi or smaller air passageways of the lungs with abronchoscope, a special type of endoscope


Definition:temporary narrowing of the airways in the lungs, eitheras a result of muscle contraction or inflammation; may becaused by asthma, infection, lung disease, or an allergicreaction


Definition:either of the two primary branches of the trachea, eachone leading to a lung; plural form is bronchi

bedside monitor

Definition:device that displays the results of one or multiplediagnostic procedures being performed on a patient (e.g.,EEG, ECG, blood pressure, capnography, etc.)


Definition:classified into three degrees based on severity: a firstdegree burn is superficial with red skin and feeling intact,usually painful; a second degree burn is characterized byblistering and more intense pain; a third degree burn haspenetrated both layers of the skin (epidermis and dermis),which is dead and white, with no sensation


Definition:fluid-filled sac that cushions and reduces friction incertain parts of the body


Definition:inflammation and swelling of a bursa due to excessivepressure or friction, or from injury


Definition:surgical technique in which the flow of blood or anotherbody fluid is redirected around a blockage

bone marrow

Definition:fatty yellow or red tissue inside bones that isresponsible for producing blood cells

blood transfusion

Definition:transfer of blood or any of its parts to a person whohas lost blood due to an injury, disease, or operation