Glossary R's

radical surgery

Definition:treatment of disease by surgically removing all tissue that is or may be affected

radiation therapy

Definition:treatment of a disease, such as cancer, using forms of radioactivity that damage or destroy abnormal cells


Definition:formation of images of the inside of the body using radiation projected through the body and onto film


Definition:the study of X-rays in the diagnosis of a disease


Definition:one of the two long bones of the forearm, located on the thumb side of the arm


Definition:abnormal crackling or bubbling sounds that occur when breathing, indicating abnormalities in the small air sacs (alveoli)

red blood cell

Definition:doughnut-shaped blood cell that carries oxygen from the lungs to body tissues

respiratory distress syndrome

Definition:condition experienced after an illness or injury damages the lungs, causing severe breathing difficulty and resulting in a life-threatening lack of oxygen in the blood

rectal prolapse

Definition:bulging of the lining of the rectum through the anus, usually due to straining during a bowel movement


Definition:nerve cell that responds to a stimulus and produces a nerve impulse; also refers to the area on the surface of a cell that a chemical must bind to in order to exert its effect


Definition:pertaining to the rectum; adverb is rectally


Definition:short tube located at the end of the large intestine, which connects the intestine to the anus

reduction of fracture

Definition:realignment of the broken ends of a bone

referred pain

Definition:pain felt in a part of the body remote from the site where pain originates


Definition:automatic, involuntary response of the nervous system to a stimulus


Definition:back flow of fluid; can refer to food and drink flowing back up from the stomach into the mouth or blood flowing back into the heart through a defective heart valve


Definition:treatment for an injury or illness aimed at restoring physical abilities


Definition:treatment for dehydration (an abnormally low level of water in the body) in which levels are restored by taking fluids containing water, salt, and glucose by mouth or, if severe, through a vein (intravenously)


Definition:return of a disease or symptom after it had disappeared

radionuclide scanning

Definition:imaging technique in which a radioactive substance is introduced into the body and its emitted radiation is detected; specific organs can be studied according to the amount of the radioactive substance that they absorb


Definition:temporary disappearance of a disease or its symptoms, either partially or completely; also refers to the time period in which this occurs

renal cell carcinoma

Definition:the most common type of kidney cancer

renal colic

Definition:severe pain on one side of the lower back, usually as a result of a kidney stone

renal failure

Definition:potentially life-threatening decline in the functioning of the kidneys; may be chronic (i.e., slow decline over time) or sudden

reflux esophagitis

Definition:back flow of gastric acid from the stomach to the lower esophagus, owing to a defect in the valve that separates them

renal tubular acidosis

Definition:inability of the kidneys to remove sufficient amounts of acid from the body, making the blood more acidic than normal


Definition:pertaining to the kidney


Definition:partial or complete surgical removal of a diseased organ or structure


Definition:long, narrow instrument passed up the urethra, which allows the surgeon to simultaneously view the prostate gland and cut away cancerous tissue in a procedure called a transurethral prostatectomy


Definition:physician who has completed medical school and an internship, is licensed by state law to practice medicine as a medical doctor and is receiving specialized training

respiratory arrest

Definition:condition in which a person suddenly stops breathing

respiratory system

Definition:collectively, the organs that carry out the process of respiration; includes the nose, throat, larynx, trachea, bronchi and lungs

respiratory failure

Definition:failure of the body to exchange gases properly, which leads to a buildup of carbon dioxide and a lack of oxygen in the blood


Definition:process by which oxygen is taken in and used by tissues in the body and carbon dioxide is released; also commonly used to mean breathing


Definition:pertaining to respiration


Definition:any disease or disorder of the retina; usually refers to damage to the retina caused by high blood pressure or diabetes mellitus


Definition:type of virus which causes many cancers

Rh factor

Definition:blood group classification indicating whether or not substances called Rhesus (Rh) factors are present on the surface of red blood cells; the positive or negative designation in blood classification (e.g., O negative)

rheumatoid arthritis

Definition:condition in which joints in the body become inflamed, stiff, painful, and sometimes deformed because of the body's own immune system attacking the tissues

rheumatic fever

Definition:disorder that follows a throat infection by the streptococcus bacteria and causes inflammation in body tissues


Definition:general disease marked by painful, often multiple local inflammations that usually affects the joints and muscles, but may extend to deeper organs, such as the heart

registered nurse (RN)

Definition:health care professional educated at an accredited school of nursing and licensed by state law to practice nursing

Rocky mountain spotted fever

Definition:rare disease transmitted to humans through the bites of ticks; characterized by small pink spots on the wrists and ankles that spread to other parts of the body, become larger, and bleed

rotator cuff

Definition:structure made up of four muscle tendons that reinforces the shoulder joint


Definition:discussion by hospital medical staff regarding patient status and future course of treatment


Definition:tear or break in an organ or tissue