18 A

abdominal (ab-DOM-ĭ-năl): Pertaining to the abdomen.

abdominocentesis (ab-dom-i-nō-sen-TĒ-sis): Surgical puncture to aspirate fluid from the abdomen.

abdominoplasty (ab-DOM-i-nō-plas-tē): Surgical repair of the abdomen.

ablation (a-BLĀ-shŏn): Destruction of abnormal or excessive tissue by eroding, vaporizing or melting; Using extreme heat or extreme cold to destroy cells in part of the heart which were causing abnormal rhythms.

abortion (ă-BOR-shŏn): Termination of a pregnancy before the fetus is viable.

abrasion (ă-BRĀ-zhŏn): Scrape (by injury or mechanical process).

abruptio placentae (ă-BRŬP-shē-ō plă-SENT-ā): Pre-mature separation of the placenta from the uterine wall.

abscess (AB-ses): Localized collection of pus.

acanthosis nigricans (ak-an-THŌ-sis NĪ-grĭ-kăns): A disorder that causes darkening and thickening of the skin on the neck, groin, underarms or skin folds.

acapnia (ă-KAP-nē-ă): Condition of absence (less than normal level) of carbon dioxide (in the blood).

acne (AK-nē): Clogging of pores, which can lead to infection and inflammation.

acoustic neuroma (ă-KOOS-tĭk noor-Ō-mă): A benign tumor in the internal auditory canal.

acrochordons (ak-rŏ-KOR-don): Skin tags, teardrop-sized pieces of skin that can be as large as raisins and are typically found in the armpits or neck area.

acromegaly (ak-rō-MEG-ă-lē): Enlargement of the extremities,

acronym: Term derived from the first letters of a phrase and are spoken as if they are a word on their own.

acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) (ă-KWĪRD im-yŭ-nō-dĕ-FISH-ĕn-sē SĬN-drōm): Advanced, chronic immune system suppression caused by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). infection.

active immunity (AK-tĭv im-Ū-nĭt-ē): Immunity developed from an individual’s own immune system.

acute inflammation (ă-KŪT in-flă-MĀ-shŏn): Inflammation occurring for a limited time period; rapidly developing.

adaptive immune response (ad-ap-TĬV i-MŪN ri-SPONS): Relatively slow but very specific and effective immune response controlled by lymphocytes.

adenectomy (ad-ĕn-EK-tŏ-mē): Excision of a gland.

adenitis (ad-ĕ-NĪT-is): Inflammation of the gland.

adenoidectomy (ad-ĕ-noy-DEK-tŏ-mē): Excision of the adenoids.

adenoiditis (ad-ĕ-noyd-ĪT-is): Inflammation of the adenoids.

adenomegaly (ă-dēn-ō-MEG-ă-lē): Enlarged gland.

adenotome (AD-ĕ-nō-tōm): Instrument used to cut the adenoids.

adhesion (ad-HĒ-zhŏn): Band of scar tissue that binds anatomic surfaces to each other.

adipocytes (AD-ĭ-pō-sīts): Fat cells.

adipose (AD-ĭ-pōs): Fat tissue.

adrenalectomy (ă-drē-nă-LEK-tŏ-mē): Excision of the adrenal glands.

adrenalitis (ă-drē-nă-LĪT-is): Inflammation of adrenal glands.

adrenocorticohyperplasia (ă-drē-nō-kor-tĭ-kō-hī-pĕr-PLĀ-zh(ē-)ă): Excessive development of the adrenal cortex.

adrenomegaly (ă-drēn-ō-MEG-ă-lē): enlargement of one or both adrenal glands.

adrenopathy (ă-drēn-ŎP-ă-thē): Disease of the adrenal gland(s).

adventitial (ad-ven-TĬSH-al): The outermost layer of the wall of a blood vessel.

afferent lymphatic vessels (AF-ĕ-rĕnt lim-FAT-ik VES-ĕls): Lead into a lymph node.

afferent nerves (AF-ĕ-rĕnt nĕrvs): Nerves that carry sensory signals (nerve impulses) toward the CNS from the periphery.

albinism (AL-bĭ-nizm): Genetic disorder that affects the coloring of skin, hair, and eyes.

albuminuria (al-bū-mĭ-NOO-rē-ă): Albumin in the urine.

allergens (AL-ĕr-jĕns): Antigens that evoke type 1 hypersensitivity (allergy) responses.

Allergist (AL-ĕr-jist): Specialist who studies and treats allergies.

allergy (AL-ĕr-jē): Inflammatory response due to a hypersensitivity to a substance.

alpha-fetoprotein test (AFP) (AL-fă fēt-ō-PRŌ-tēn): A maternal blood test to detect potential fetal abnormalities such as neural tube defects or multiple pregnancies; The AFP is taken between 14 and 19 weeks gestation.

alveolar (ăl-VĒ-ŏ-lăr): Pertaining to the alveolus.

alveolar duc (ăl-VĒ-ŏ-lăr dŭkt): A tube composed of smooth muscle and connective tissue.

alveolitis (al-vē-ŏ-LĪT-ĭs): Inflammation of the alveoli.

amblyopia (am-blē-Ō-pē-ă): Reduced vision in one eye. Associated with strabismus (lazy eye).

amenorrhea (ā-men-ŏ-RĒ-ă): Absences of the flow of menses, no period; one of the first signs of pregnancy or menopause.

amniocentesis (am-nē-ō-sen-TĒ-sĭs): Surgical puncture to remove a small amount of amniotic fluid through a needle via the abdomen. The fluid is tested for any potential fetal abnormalities.

amniochorial (am-nē-ō-KŌ-rē-ăl): Pertaining to the amnion and chorion.

amnionitis (am-nē-ō-NĪ-tis): Inflammation of the amnion.

amniorrhea (am-nē-ŏ-RĒ-ă): Discharge (escape) of amniotic fluid.

amniorrhexis (am-nē-ŏ-REK-sis): Rupture of the amnion.

amniotomy (am-nē-OT-ŏ-mē): Incision into the amnion to induce labor.

amphiarthrosis (am-fē-ar-THRŌ-sĭs): Joints with some movement.

ampulla (am-PU-lă): A sac-like enlargement of a canal or duct.

anal (ĀN-ăl): Pertaining to the anus.

anaphylactic shock (an-ă-fĭ-LAK-tik shok): Also called anaphylaxis. An inhaled, ingested or injected (bee sting) allergen causes a significant drop in blood pressure along with contractions of smooth muscles of the airways.

anaphylaxis (an-ă-fĭ-LAK-sĭs): Exaggerated reaction to a previously encountered antigen may start out as mild reaction but can quickly become severe resulting in anaphylactic shock.

anatomical position (ăn-ă-TOM-ik pŏ-ZISH-ŏn): That of the body standing upright, with the feet at shoulder width and parallel, toes forward. The upper limbs are held out to each side, and the palms of the hands face forward.

androgens (AN-drŏ-jĕns): Hormones that affect growth and reproduction. Typically referred to as “male hormones,” however the female body produces small amounts of androgens as well.

andropathy (ăn-DROP-ă-thē): Disease of male

anemia (ă-NĒ-mē-ă): Reduction in number of erythrocytes.

anesthesia (an-ĕs-THĒ-zhă): Without (loss of) feeling or sensation.

aneurysm (AN-yŭ-rizm): Weakening of the wall of a blood vessel, causing it to thin and balloon out, and possibly eventually burst, resulting in internal bleeding.

angina pectoris (an-JĪ-nă): Chest pain.

angiogram (AN-jē-ŏ-gram): An x-ray of the coronary blood vessels using a special catheter and an injection of dye.

angiography (an-jē-OG-ră-fē): Radiographic imaging of blood vessels.

angioma (an-jē-Ō-mă): Tumor composed of blood vessels.

angioplasty (AN-jē-ŏ-plas-tē): A balloon-tip catheter is fed through a blood vessel up to the site of the narrowing, the balloon is inflated to re-open the artery. A stent is sometimes placed at the site to reinforce the arterial wall and to prevent re-occlusion.

angioscope (AN-jē-ŏ-skōp): Instrument used for visual examination of blood vessels.

angioscopy (an-jē-OS-kŏ-pē): Visual examination of blood vessels.

angiostenosis (an-jē-ō-stĕ-NŌ-sĭs): Narrowing of a blood vessel.

anisocoria (an-ī-sō-KŌR-ē-ă): Condition of absence of equal pupil (size).

ankylosis (ang-kĭ-LŌ-sĭs): Abnormal condition of stiffness.

anoplasty (Ā-nŏ-plas-tē): Surgical repair of the anus.

anorchism (ă-NOR-kĭ-dizm): State of absence of testis.

anosmia (a-NOZ-mē-ă): Without smell/inability to smell.

anoxia (ă-NOK-sē-ă): Condition of absence (deficiency) of oxygen.

antagonistic (an-TAG-ŏ-nĭs-tic): In opposition to each other.

antepartum (ăn-tē-PĂR-tŭm): Before childbirth referencing the mother.

anterior (or ventral) (an-TĒR-ē-ŏr): Describes the front or direction toward the front of the body.

anteriorly (an-TĒR-ē-ŏr-lē): Pertaining to front.

anti-B antibodies (ANT-i-bod-ēs): Proteins that will mount an immune response against B antigens.

anti-virals (ant-i-VI-răl): Treatments that work effectively against a virus.

antiandrogens (ant-ē-AN-drŏ-jĕns): A group of medications that counteract the effects of male hormones.

antibiotics (ant-i-bī-OT-iks): Medications that stop bacterial infections.

antibodies (ANT-i-bod-ēs): Proteins produced by B lymphocytes in response to a non-self antigen.

antibody (ANT-i-bod-ē): Antigen-specific protein secreted by plasma cells, immunoglobulin.

antigen (ANT-i-jĕn): Molecule recognized by the receptors of b and t lymphocytes.

antigens (ANT-i-jĕns): A substance that provokes an immune response. This happens because the immune system sees the antigen as foreign, or ‘non-self” (does not belong in that body).

antihypertensives (ant-i-hī-pĕr-TEN-siv): Class of medications used to treat high blood pressure.

antiretrovirals (ant-i-re-trō-VĪ-răls): Treatment that works against the virus replication.

antrectomy (an-TREK-tŏ-mē): Excision of the antrum (of the stomach).

anuria (ă-NOOR-ē-ă): Absence of urine.

aortic stenosis (ā-OR-tĭk stĕ-NŌ-sĭs): Narrowing, pertaining to the aorta.

aortogram (ā-OR-tŏ-grăm): Radiographic image of the aorta.

Apgar score (AP-gar skōr): Evaluation of a newborn’s physical condition within one to five minutes after birth.

aphakia (ă-FĀ-kē-ă): Condition of no lens.

aphasia (ă-FĀ-zh(ē-)ă): Loss of language function.

aphonia (ā-FŌ-nē-ă): Condition of absence of voice.

apical (AP-ĭ-kăl): Relating to or denoting an apex.

apnea (ap-NĒ-ă): Absence of breathing.

apocrine sweat gland (AP-ŏ-krĕn swet gland): A type of gland that is found in the skin, breast, eyelid, and ear.

apoptosis (ap-ŏp-TŌ-sĭs): Programmed cell death.

appendectomy (ap-ĕn-DEK-tŏ-mē): Excision of the appendix.

appendicitis (ă-pen-dĭ-SĪT-ĭs): Inflammation of the appendix.

appendicular skeleton (ap-ĕn-DIK-yŭ-lăr SKEL-ĕt-ŏn): Consists of all the bones in the upper and lower limbs.

arachnoid mater (ă-RAK-noyd MĀT-ĕr): Middle layer of the meninges named for the spider-web–like trabeculae that extend between it and the pia mater.

arrhythmias (ā-RITH-mē-ă): Absence of a regular heart rhythm.

arterial blood gas (ar-TĒR-ē-ăl blŭd gas): This test measures blood pH, oxygen and CO2 levels in a sample of arterial blood, usually taken from the wrist.

arteries (ART-ĕ-rēs): Blood vessels that transport blood away from the heart.

arteriogram (ar-TĒR-ē-ŏ-gram): Radiographic image of an artery.

arterioles (ar-TĒR-ē-ōl-es): A very small artery that leads to a capillary.

arteriosclerosis (ar-tēr-ē-ō-sklĕ-RŌ-sĭs): Hardening of arteries.

arthralgia (ar-THRAL-j(ē-)ă): Joint pain.

arthritis (ar-THRĪT-ĭs): Inflammation of the joints.

arthrocentesis (ar-thrō-sen-TĒ-sĭs): Surgical puncture to aspirate fluid from a joint.

arthroclasia (ar-thrō-KLĀ-zh(ē-)ă): Surgical breaking of a joint.

arthrodesis (ar-THROD-ĕ-sĭs): Surgical fixation of a joint.

arthrography (ar-THROG-ră-fē): Process of recording a joint.

arthroplasty (AR-thrŏ-plas-tē): Surgical repair of a joint.

arthroscopy (ar-THROS-kŏ-pē): Process of viewing a joint.

articulations (ar-tik-yŭ-LĀ-shŏn): also known as joints, where bones meet bones or where bones meet cartilage

artificial insemination (art-ĭ-FISH-ăl in-sem-ĭ-NĀ-shŏn): The medical procedure of injecting concentrated sperm into the vagina or uterus.

ascites (ă-SĪT-ēz): Abnormal intraperitoneal accumulation of fluid with large amount of proteins and electrolytes.

aspermia (ā-SPĔR-mē-ă): Condition of without sperm.

asphyxia (ăs-FIK-sē-ă): Deprivation of oxygen to tissues, suffocation.

aspirate (AS-pĭ-rāt): Suction of fluid, inhalation of fluid.

asthma (AZ-mă): Chronic condition characterized by inflammation, edema of the airway, and bronchospasms which can inhibit air from entering the lungs.

astigmatism (Ast) (ă-STIG-mă-tizm): Blurry vision due to irregular curvature of the cornea or lens.

astrocyte (AS-trŏ-sīt): Glial cell type of the CNS that provides support for neurons and maintains the blood-brain barrier.

asymptomatic (ā-simp-tŏ-MAT-ik): Pertaining to without symptoms.

atelectasis (at-ĕl-EK-tă-sĭs): Incomplete expansion.

atherectomy (ath-ĕr-EK-tŏ-mē): Excision of fatty plaque.

atherosclerosis (ath-ĕ-rō-sklĕ-RŌ-sĭs): A hardening of the arteries that involves the accumulation of plaque.

atom (AT-ŏm): Smallest unit of pure substances (elements); made up of subatomic particles such as the proton, electron, and neutron.

atrioventricular (AV) (ā-trē-ō-ven-TRIK-yŭ-lăr): The area of the heart where the atria and ventricles meet.

atrioventricular valves (ā-trē-ō-ven-TRIK-yŭ-lăr valv): Mitral (bicuspid) valve allows blood to flow from left atrium to left ventricle, tricuspid valve allows blood to flow from right atrium to right ventricle.

audiogram (OD-ē-ō-gram): Graphic record (radiographic image) of hearing.

audiologist (od-ē-OL-ŏ-jĭst): Specialist who studies and treats the hearing.

audiology (od-ē-OL-ŏ-jē): Study of the hearing.

audiometer (od-ē-OM-ĕt-ĕr): Instrument used to measure hearing.

audiometry (od-ē-OM-ĕ-trē): Measuring hearing.

aural (OR-ăl): Pertaining to the ear.

auscultation (os-kŭl-TĀ-shŏn): Listening to the heart using a stethoscope.

autocrine (OT-ō-krin): Chemical signal that elicits a response in the same cell that secreted it.

autoimmune disease (OT-ō-im-yūn diz-ĒZ): A disease caused by the inability for the body to distinguish its own (self) cells from foreign substances, producing antibodies that attacks its own tissues.

autoinoculation (ot-ō-in-ok-yŭ-LĀ-shŏn): Self inoculation.

autonomic (ot-ŏ-NOM-ik): Unconsciously regulates.

autonomic nervous system (ANS) (ot-ŏ-NOM-ik NĔR-vŭs SIS-tĕm): Functional division of the nervous system that is responsible for homeostatic reflexes that coordinate control of cardiac and smooth muscle, as well as glandular tissue.

avascular (ă-VĂS-kū-lăr): Without blood vessels.

axial skeleton (AK-sē-ăl SKEL-ĕt-ŏn): Forms the vertical, central axis of the body and includes all bones of the head, neck, chest, and back.

axilla (ak-SIL-ă): The armpit.

axon (AK-son): Single process of the neuron that carries an electrical signal (action potential) away from the cell body toward a target cell.

axon hillock (AK-son HĬL-ŏk): Tapering of the neuron cell body that gives rise to the axon.

axon segment (AK-son Seg-mĕnt): Single stretch of the axon insulated by myelin and bounded by nodes of Ranvier at either end (except for the first, which is after the initial segment, and the last, which is followed by the axon terminal).

axon terminal (AK-son TĔR-mĭ-năl): End of the axon, where there are usually several branches extending toward the target cell.

axoplasm (AK-sŏ-plazm): Cytoplasm of an axon, which is different in composition than the cytoplasm of the neuronal cell body.

azoospermia (ā-zō-ŏ-SPĔR-mē-ă): Absence of viable sperm in the semen.

azotemia (ā-zō-TĒ-mē-ă): Urea in the blood.


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Medical Terminology Student Companion Copyright © 2022 by Stacey Grimm; Colleen Allee; Heidi Belitz; Traci Gotz; Micheal Randolph; Elaine Strachota; and Laurie Zielinski is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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