Emergency Care 13th Edition Chapters 1-39 Glossary Terms

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Designated Agent

An EMT or other person authorized by a Medical Director to give medications and provide emergency care. The transfer of such authorization to a designated agent is an extension of the Medical Director’s license to practice medicine


Description of medical techniques or practices that are supported by scientific evidence of their safety and efficacy, rather than merely by supposition and tradition

Medical Direction

Oversight of the patient care aspects of an EMS system by the Medical Director

911 System

A system for telephone access to report emergencies. A dispatcher takes the information and alerts EMS or the fire or police departments as needed. Enhanced 911 has the additional capability of automaticall identifying the caller’s phone number and location

Off-Line Medical Direction

Standing orders issued by the Medical Director that allow EMTs to give certain medications or perform certain procedures without speaking to the Medical Director or another physician

On-Line Medical Direction

Orders from the on-duty physician given directly to an EMT in the field by radio or telephone

Patient Outcomes

The long-term survival of patients


list of steps, such as assessments and interventions, to be taken in different situations. Protocols are developed by the Medical Director of an EMS system

Quality Improvement

A process of continuous self-review with the purpose of identifying and correcting aspects of the system that require improvement

Standing Orders

A policy or protocol issued by a Medical Director that authorizes EMTs and others to perform particular skills in certain situations


The introduction of dangerous chemicals, disease or infectious materials

Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM)

A comprehensive system that includes education and resources to both prevent stress and to deal with stress appropriately when it occurs


The removal or cleaning of dangerous chemicals and other dangerous or infectious materials

Hazardous Material Incident

The release of a harmful substance into the environment

Multiple-Casualty Incident (MCI)

An emergency involving multiple patients


The organisms that cause infection, such as viruses and bacteria

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Equipment that protects the EMS worker from infection and/or exposure to the dangers of rescue operations

Standard Precautions

A strict form of infection control that is based on the assumption that all blood and other body fluids are infectious


A state of physical and/or psychological arousal to a stimulus


Having to do with patients who are significantly overweight or obese

Body Mechanics

The proper use of the body to facilitate lifting and moving and prevent injury

Direct Carry

A method of transferring a patient from bed to stretcher, during which two or more rescuers curl the patient to their chests then reverse the process to lower the patient to the stretcher

Direct Ground Lift

A method of lifting and carrying a patient from ground level to a stretcher in which two or more rescuers kneel, curl the patient to their chests, stand, then reverse the process to lower the patient to a stretcher

Draw-Sheet Method

A method of transferring a patient from bed to a stretcher by grasping and pulling the loosened bottom sheet of the bed

Extremity Lift

A method of lifting and carrying a patient during which one rescuer slips hands under the armpits and grasps the patients knees

Power Grip

Gripping with as much hasnd surface as possible in contact with the object being lifted, all figers bent at the same angle and hands at least 10 inches apart (palms up)

Power Lift

A lift from a squatting position with weight to be lifted close to the body, feet apart and flat on the ground, bodyweight on or just behind the balls of the feet, and back locked in. The upper body is raised before the hips. Also called the squat-lift position.


Leaving the patient after care has been initiated and before the patient has been transferred to someone with equal or greater medical training

Advance Directive

A DNR order, instructions written in advance of an event


Placing a person in fear of bodily harm


Causing bodily harm to or restraining a person


The obligation not to reveal information obtained about a patient except to other health care professionals involved in the patient’s care or under subpoena or in a court of law or when the patient has signed a release of confidentiality


Permission from the patient for care for other action by the EMT

Abdominal Quadrants

Four divisions of the abdomen used to pinpoint the location of a pain or injury. The right upper quadrant (RUQ), the left upper quadrant (LUQ) the right lower quadrant (RLQ) and left lower quadrant (LLQ)

Anatomic Position

The standard reference position for the body in the study of anatomy. In this position, the body is standing erect, facing the observer, with arms down at the sides and teh palms of the hands forward


The study of body structure


The front of the body or body part


on both sides

Combining Form

A word root with an added vowel that can be joined with other words, roots or suffixes to form a new word. For example, the combining form therm/o to meter makes thermometer


A word formed from two or more whole words. Example the compond small pox formed from small and pox


farther away from the torso


Referring to the back of the body or the back of the hand

Fowler Position

A sitting position


Away from the head, usually compared with another structure that is closer to the head (higher up)


To the side, away from the midline of the body —->


Toward the midline of the body


A line drawn vertically from the middle of the armpit to the ankle

Mid-Clavicular line

The line thru the center of each clavicle (2)


An imaginary line drawn down the center of the body dividing it into right and left halves


Referring to the palm of the hand


The study of body function


A flat surface formed when slicing thru a solid object


Referring to the sole of the foot


The back of the body or body part


Word part added to the beginning of a root or word to modify or qualify its meaning. Example: the prefix bi-added to the word lateral forms the word bilateral


lying face down


Closer to the torso <——

Recovery Position

Lying on the side. Also called lateral recumbent position


Foundation of a word that is not a word that can stand on its own. Example: the root Cardi means heart in words such as cardiac and cardiology


Word part added to the end of a root or word to complete its meaning. Example: the suffix -itis added to the root laryng forms the word laryngitis


Toward the head


Lying on the back


The trunk of the body, or the body without the head and extremeties


Limited to one side


Referring to the front of the body. A synonym for anterior

Root: Broncho/Pulom


Root: Cardi


Root: Gastro


Root: Hepat


Root: Neur


Root: Nas


Root: Or


Root: Pneumo

Air or Lungs

Prefix: Ab-

Away from

Prefix: Ad-

Toward or near

Prefix: Ante


Prefix: Brady-

Slow/below normal

Prefix: Contra-


Prefix: Dys

Difficult or painful

Prefix: Hyper-

Above normal, high

Prefix: Hypo

Below normal, low

Prefix: Inter-


Prefix: Peri-


Prefix: Poly-


Prefix: Post-


Prefix: Pre-


Prefix: Super/Supra-

Above or in excess

Prefix: Tachy

Above normal, rapid

Prefix: Uni-


Suffix: -ac

Pertaining to

Suffix: -algia


Suffix: -emesis


Suffix: -itis


Suffix: -ology

Study of

Suffix: -plegia


Suffix: -pnea


Suffix: -rrhea


Suffix: -spasm


Suffix: -al

Pertaining to

Suffix: -ist

One who specializes in


The pelvic socket into which the ball at the proximal end of the femur fits to form the hip joint

Acromiclavicular Joint

The joint where the acromion and the clavicle meet

Acromion Process

The highest portion of the shoulder


The microscopic sacs of the lungs where gas exchange with the bloodstream takes place


The study of body structure


The largest artery in the body. It transports blood from the left ventricle to begin systemic circulation


A small tube located near the junction of the small and large intestines in the right lower quadrant of the abdomen, the function of which is not well understood. Its inflammation, called appendicitis is a common cause of abdominal pain


The smallest kind of artery


Any blood vessel carrying blood AWAY from the heart


The two upper chambers of the heart. There is a right atrium (which receives unoxygenated blood returning from the body) and a left atrium (which receives oxygenated blood returining from the lungs) Singular: atrium


The ability of the heart to generate and conduct electrical impulses on its own

Autonomic Nervous System

The division of the peripheral nervous system that controls involuntary motor funtions


The round sac-like organ of the renal system used as a reservoir for urine

Blood Pressure

The pressure caused by blood exerting force against the walls of blood vessels. Usually arterial blood pressure (the pressure in an artery) is measured. See also : Diastolic Pressure/Systolic Blood Pressure

Brachial Artery

Artery of the upper arm; the site of the pulse checked during infant CPR


The two large sets of branches that come off the trachea and enter the lungs. There are right and left bronchi. Singular: Bronchus


The heel bone


A thin-walled, microscopic blood vessel where the oxygen/carbon dioxide and nutrient/waste exchange with the body’s cell takes place

Cardiac Conduction System

A system of specialized muscle tissues that conducts electrical impulses that stimulate the heart to beat

Cardia Muscle

Specialized involuntary muscle found only in the heart

Cardiovascular System

The system made up of the heart (cardio) and the blood vessels (vascular) Sometimes called the circulatory system

Carotid Muscle

Specialized involuntary muscle found only in the heart


The wrist bones

Central Nervous System (CNS)

The brain and spinal cord

Central Pulses

The carotid and femoral pulses, which can be felt in the centrap part of the body


The collarbone

Coronary Arteries

Blood vessels that supply the muscle of the heart (myocardium)


The top, back and sides of the skull

Cricoid Cartilage

The ring-shaped structure that forms the lower portion of the larynx


The inner (second) layer of skin, rich in blood vessels and nerves, found beneath the epidermis


The muscular structure that divides the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity. A major muscle of respiration

Diastolic Blood Pressure

The pressure in the arteries when the left ventricle is refilling : systolic/diastolic

Digestive System

System by which food travels throught the body and is digested, or broken down into absorbable forms

Dorsalis Pedis Artery

Artery supplying the foot, lateral to the large tendon of the big toe

Endocrine System

System of glands that produce chemicals called hormones that help to regulate many body activities and functions


The outer layer of the skin


A leaf-shaped structure that prevents food and foreign matter from entering the trachea


A hormone producted by the body. As a medication, it dilates respoitatory passages and is used to relieve severe allergic reactions


A passive process in which the intercostal (rib) muscles and the diaphragm relax, causing the chest cavity to decrease in size and air to flow out of the lungs

Femoral Artery

The major artery supplying the leg


The large bone of the thigh


The lateral and smaller bone of the lower leg


A sac on the underside of the liver that stores bile produced by the liver


The bone of the upper arm, between the shoulder and the elbow


Inability of the body to adequately circulate blood to the body’s cells to supply them with oxygen and nutrients. A life-threatening condition. Also called Shock. See also Perfusion.


The superior and widest portion of the pelvis


An active process in which the intercostal (rib) muscles and the diaphragm contract, expanding the size of the chest cavity and causing air to flow into the lungs


A hormone produced by the pancreas or taken as a medication by many diabetics

Involuntary Muscle

Muscle that responds automatically to brain signals but cannot be consciously controlled


The lower, posterior portions of the pelvis


The point where two bones come together


Organs of the renal system used to filter blood and regulate fluid levels in the body

Large Intestine

The muscular tube that removes water from waste products received from the small intestine and moves anything not absorbed by the body toward excretion from the body


The voice box


Tissue that connects bone to bone


The largest organ of the body, which produces bile to assist in breakdown of fats and assists in the metabolism of various substances in the body


The organs where exchange of atmospheric oxygen and waste carbon dioxide take place

Lymphatic System

The system composed of organs, tissues, and vessels that help to maintain the fluid balance of the body and contribute to the body’s immune system


Protusion on the side of the ankle. The lateral malleolus at the lower end of the fibula, is seen on the outer ankle; the medial malleolus, at the lower end of the tibia, is seen on the iner ankle


The lower jaw-bone


The superior portion of the sternum


Two fused bones forming the upper jaw


The hand bones


The foot bones


Tissue that can contract to allow movement of a body part

Musculoskeletal System

The system of bones and skeletal muscles that support and protect the body adn permit movement

Nasal Bones

The nose bones


The area directly posterior to the nose

Nervous System

The system of brain, spinal cord, and nerves that govern sensations, movement and thought


The bony structures around the eyes, the eye sockets


The area directly posterior to the mouth


Egg-producing organs within the female reproductive system


A gland located behind the stomach that produces insulin and juices that assist in digestion of food in the duodenum of the small intestine


The kneecap


The basin-shaped bony structure that supports the spine and is the point of proximal attachment for the lower extremities


The organ of male reproduction responsible for sexual intercourse adn the transfer of sperm


The supply of oxygen to and removal of wastes from the cells and tissues of the body as a result of the flow of blood through the capillaries

Peripheral Nervous System (PNS)

The nerves that enter and leave the spinal cord and travel between the brain and organs without passing through the spinal cord

Peripheral Pulses

The radial, brachial , posterior tibial and dorsalis pedis pulses, which can be felt at peripheral (outlying) points of the body


The toe bones and finger bones


The area directly posterior to the mouth and nose. It is made up of the oropharynx and the nasopharynx


The study of body function


The fluid portion of the blood


Components of the blood; membrane-enclosed fragments of specialized cells

Posterior Tibial Artery

Artery supplying the foot behind the medial ankle


The medial anterior portion of the pelvis

Pulmonary Arteries

The vessels that carry deoxygenated blood from the right ventricle of the heart to the lungs

Pulmonary Veins

The vessels that carry oxygenater blood from the lungs to the left atrium of the heart


The rhythmic beats caused as waves of blood move through and expand the arteries

Radial Artery

Artery of the lower arm; the artery felt when taking the pulse at the thumb side of the wrist


The lateral bone of the forearm

Red Blood Cells (RBC)

Components of the blood. They carry oxygen and carbon dioxide away from the cells

Renal System

The body system that regulates fluid balance and the filtration of blood. Also called the urinary system

Reproductive System

The body system that is responsible for human reproduction

Respiration (cellular)

The process of moving oxygen and carbon dioxide between circulating blood and the cells

Respiratory System

The system of the nose, mouth, throat, lungs and muscles that brings oxygen into the body and expels carbon dioxide


The shoulder blade


See hypoperfusion


The bones of the body


The layer of tissue between the body and the external environment


The bony structure of the head

Small Intestine

The muscular tube between the stomach and the large intestines, divided into the duodenum, the jejunum and the ileum which receives partially digested food from the stomach and continues digestion. Nutrients are absorbed by the body through its walls


An organ located in the left upper quadrant of the abdomen that acts as a blood filtration system and a reservoir for reserves of blood


The breastbone


Muscular sac between the esophagus and the small intestine where digestion begins

Subcutaneous Layers

The layers of fat and soft tissues below the dermis

Systolic Blood Pressure

The pressure created in the arteries when the left ventricles contracts and forces blood out into circulation Systolic/Diastolic


The ankle bones


Tissue that connects muscle to bone


The male organs of reproduction used for the production of sperm


The chest

Thyroid Cartilage

The wing-shaped plate of cartilage that sits anterior to the larynx and forms the Adam’s apple


The medial and larger bones of the lower leg


The trunk of the body; the body without the head and the extremeties


The "windpipe"; the structure that connects the pharynx to the lungs


The medial bone of the forearm


The tubes connecting the kidneys to the bladder


Tube connecting the bladder to the vagina or penis for excretion of urine


Female organ of reproduction used to house the developing fetus


The female organ of reproduction used for both sexual intercourse and as an exit from the uterus for the fetus


A structure that opens and closes to permit the flow of a fluid in only one direction


Any blood vessel returning blood to the heart

Venae Cavae

The superior vena cava and the inferior vena cava. These two major veins return blood from the body to the right atrium. Singular: vena cava


The process of moving gases (oxygen and carbon dioxide) between inhaled air and the pulmonary circulation of blood


The two lower chambers of the heart. There is a right ventricle (which sends oxygen-poor blood to the lungs) and a left ventricle (which sends oxygen-rich blood to the body)


The smallest kind of vein


The thirty-three bones of the spinal column

Voluntary Muscle

Muscle that can be consciously controlled

White Blood Cells

Components of the blood. They produce substances that help the body fight infection

Xiphoid Process

The inferior portion of the sternum (breastbone)

Zygomatic Arches

Bones that form the structure of the cheeks

Aerobic Metabolism

The cellular process in which oxygen is used to metabolize glucose. Energy is produced in an efficient manner with minimal waste products

Anaerobic Metabolism

The cellular process in which glucose is metabolized into energy without oxygen. Energy is produced in an inefficient manner with many waste products

Cardiac Output

The amount of blood ejected from the heart in one minute (heart rate x stroke volume)


Chemical sensors in the brain and blood vessels that identify changing levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide

Dead Air Space

Air that occupies the space between the mouth and the alveoli but that deos not actually reach the area of gas exchange


An abnormally low amount of water in the body


Cool, pale and moist/sweaty skin; sweating


Swelling associated with the movement of water into the interstitial space


A substance that, when dissolved in water, separates into charged particles


Fraction of inspired oxygen ; the concentration of oxygen in the air we breath`

Hydrostatic Pressure

The pressure within a blood vessel that tends to push water out of the vessel


An exaggerated response by the immune system to a particular substance


Inability of the body to adequately circulate blood to the body’s cells to supply them with oxygen and nutrients. A life-threatening condition. Also called shock. See also perfusion


The cellular function of converting nutrients into energy

Minute Volume

The amount of air breathed in during each respiration multiplied by the number of breaths per minute


Open and clear; free from obstruction


The stud of how disease processes affect the funtion of the body


The supply of oxygen to and removal f wastes from the cells and tissues of the body as a result of the flow of blood through the capllaries

Plasma Oncotic Pressure

The pull exerted by large proteins in the plasma portion of the blood that tends to pull water from the body into the bloodstream


See hypoperfusion

Stretch Receptors

Sensors in blood vessels that identify internal pressure

Stroke Volume

The amount of blood ejected from the heart in one contraction

Systemic Vascular Resistance (SVR)

The pressure in the peripheral blood vessels that the heart must overcome to pump blood into the system

Tidal Volume

The volume of air moved in one cycle of breathing

V/Q Match

Ventilation/Perfusion Match. This implies that the alveoli are supplied with enough air and that the air in the alveoli is matched with sufficient blood in the pulmonary capillaries to permit optimum exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide


Stage of life from 13-18yrs


The sense that needs will be met

Early Adulthood

Stage of life from 19-40yrs


Stage of life from birth to 1yr

Late Adulthood

Stage of life from 61+

Middle Adulthood

Stage of life from 41-60yrs

Moro Reflex

When startled, an infant throws his arms out, spreads his fingers, then grabs with his fingers and arms

Palmar Reflex

When you pleace your finger in an infant’s palm, he will grasp it

Preschool Age

Stage of life from 3-5yrs

Rooting reflex

When you touch a hungry infant’s check, he will turn his head toward the side touched


Building on what one already knows

School Age

Stage of life from 6-12yrs

Sucking Reflex

When you stroke a hungry infant’s lips, he will start sucking


The infant’s reaction to his environment

Toddler Phase

Stage of life from 12-36months

Trust versus Mistrust

Concept developed from an orderly, predictable environment versus a disorderly, irregular environment


The passageway by which air enters and leaves the body. The structures of the airway are the nose, mouth, pharynx, larynx. trachea, bronchi and lungs. See also: Patent airway


The contraction of smooth muscle that lines the bronchial passages that results in the decreased internal diameter of the airway and increased resistance to airflow

Gag Reflex

Vomiting or retching that results when something is placed in the back of the pharynx. This is tied to the swallow reflex

Head-Tilt, Chin-Lift Maneuver

A means of correcting blockage of the airway by the tongue by tilting the head back and liftin the chin. Used when no trauma, or injury is suspected

Nasophayngeal Airway

A flexible breathing tube inserted through the patient’s nostril into the pharynx to help maintain an open airway

Orophayngeal Airway

A curved device inserted through the patient’s moutn into the pharynx to help maintain an open airway

Patent Airway

An airway (passage from nose or mouth to lungs) that is open and clear and will remain open and clear without interference to the passage of air into and out of the body


A high-pitched sound generated from partially obstructed airflow in the upper airway


Use of a vacuum device to remove blood, vomitus and other secretions of foreign materials from the airway

Alveolar Ventilation

The amount of air that reaches the alveoli

Artificial Ventilation

Forcing air or oxygen into the lungs when a patient has stopped breathing or has inadequate breathing. Also called Positive Pressure Ventilation

Bag-Valve Mask (BVM)

A handheld device with a face mask and self-refilling bag that can be squeezed to provide artificial ventilations to a patient. It can deliver air from the atmosphere or oxygen from a supplemental oxygen supply system

Cellular Respiration

The exchange of oxygen adn carbon dioxide between cells and circulating blood


A blue or gray color resulting from lack of oxygen in the body


A process by which molecules move from an area of high concentration to an area of low concentration


A valve that indicates the flow of oxygen in liters per minute

Flow-Restricted, Oxygen-Powered Ventilation Device (FROPVD)

A devide that uses oxygen under pressure to deliver artificial ventilations. Its trigger is placed so the rescuer can operate it while still using both hands to maintain a seal on the face mask. It has automatic flow restrictions to prevent overdelivery of oxygen to the patient


A device connected to the flowmeter to add moisture to the dry oxygen coming from an oxygen cylinder


An insufficiency of oxygen in the body’s tissues

Nasal Cannula

A device that delivers low concentrations of oxygen through two prongs that rest in the patient’s nostrils

Oxygen Cylinder

A cylinder filled with oxygen under pressure

Partial Rebreather Mask

A face mask adn reservoir oxygen bag with no one-way valve reservoir bag so some exhaled air mixes with the oxygen; used in some patients to preserve carbon dioxide levels in the blood to stimulate breathing

Pocket Face Mask

A device, usually with a one-way valve, to aid in artificial ventilation. A rescuer breathes through the valve when the mask is placed over the patient’s face. It also acts as a barrier to prevent contact with a patient’s breath or body fluids. It can be used with supplemental oxygen when fitted with an oxygen inlet

Positive Pressure Ventilation

See: Artificial Ventilation

Pressure Regulator

A device connected to an oxygen cylinder to reduce cylinder pressure so it is safe for delivery of oxygen to a patient

Pulmonary Respiration

The exchange of oxygen adn carbon dioxide between the alveoli and circulating blood in the pulmonary capillaries


The diffusion of oxygen adn carbon dioxide between the alveoli and the blood (pulmonary respiration) and between the blood and the cells (cellular respiration) Also used to mean, simply, breathing

Respiratory Arrest

When breathing completely stops

Respiratory Distress

Increased work of breathing, a sensation of shortness of breath

Respiratory Failure

The reduction of breathing to the point where oxygen intake is not sufficient to support life


A permanent surgical opening in the neck through which the patient breathes

Tracheostomy Mask

A device designed to be placed over a stoma or tracheostomy tube to provide supplemental oxygen


Breathing in and out (inhalation and exhalation) or artificial provisions of breath

Venturi Mask

A face mask and reservoir bag device that delivers specific concentrations of oxygen by mixing oxygen with inhaled air

Blunt-Force Trauma

Injury caused by a blow that does not penetrate the skin or other body tissues

Danger Zone

The area around the wreckage of a vehicle collision or other incident witin which special safety precautions should be taken

Index of Suspicion

Awareness that there may be injuries

Mechanism of Injury

A force or forces that may have caused injury

Nature of the Illness

What is medically wrong with a patient

Penetrating Trauma

Injury caused by an object that passes throught the skin or other body tissues

Scene Size-Up

Steps taken when approaching the scene of an emergency call; checking scene safety, taking Standard Precautions, noting the mechanism of injury or nature of the patient’s illness, determining the number of patients and deciding what, if any, additional resources to call for


Airway Breathing Circulation


A memory aid for classifying a patient’s level of responsiveness or mental status. The letters stand for : Alert, Verbal Response, Painful Response and Unresponsive

Chief Complaint

In emergency medicine, the reason EMS was called, usually in the patient’s own words

General Impression

Impression of the patient’s condition that is formed on first approaching the patient, based on the patient’s environment, chief complaint and appearance


Actions taken to correct or manage a patient’s problems

Mental Status

Level of responsiveness

Primary Assessment

The first element in a patient assessment; steps taken for the purpose of discovering and dealing with any life-threatening problems. The six parts of primary assessment are: 1) Forming a general impression 2) Assessing mental status 3) Assessing airway 4) Assessing breathing 5) Assessing circulation and 6) Determining the priority of the patient for treatment and transport to the hospital


The decision regarding the need for inmediate transport of the patuent versus further assessment and care at the scene


Listening. A stethoscope is used to auscultate for characteristic sounds

Blood Pressure

The force of blood against the walls of the blood vessels

Blood Pressure Monitor

A machine that automatically inflates a blood pressure cuff and measures blood pressure

Brachial Artery

The major artery of the arm

Brachial Pulse

The pulse felt in the upper arm


A slow pulse; any pulse rate below 60 beats per minute

Carotid Pulse

The pulse felt along the large carotid artery on either side of the neck


Get smaller

Diastolic Blood Pressure

The pressure remaining in the arteries when the left ventricle of the heart is relaxed and refilling Systolic/Diastolic


Get larger

Oxygen Saturation (SpO2)

The ratio of the amount of oxygen present in the blood to the amount that could be carried. Expressed as a percentage


Touching or feeling. A pulse or blood pressure may be palpated with the fingertips


The rhythmic beats felt as the heart pumps blood through the arteries

Pulse Oximeter

An electronc device for determining the amount of oxygen carried in the blood, known as oxygen saturation or SpO2

Pulse Quality

The rhythm (regular or irregular) and force (Strong or weak) of the pulse

Pulse Rate

The number of pulse beats per minute


The black center of the eye

Radial Pulse

The pulse felt at the wrist


In the pupils of the eyes, reacting to light by changing size


The act of breathing in and out

Respiratory Quality

The normal or abnormal (shallow, labored or noisy) character of brething

Respiratory Rate

The number of breaths taken in one minute

Respiratory Rhythm

The regular or irregular spacing of breaths


The cuff and gague used to measure blood pressure

Systolic Blood Pressure

The pressure created when the heart contracts and forces blood out into the arteries Systolic/Diastolic


A rapid pulse, any pulse rate above 100 beats per minute

Vital Signs

Outward signs of what is going on inside the body, including respiration; pulse, skin color, temperature and condition (plus capillary refill in infants and children) pupils; and blood pressure

Close-Ended Question

A question requiring only a "yes" or "no" answer


The grating sound or feeling of broken bones rubbing together

Detailed Physical Exam

An assessment of the head, neck, chest, abdomen, pelvis, extremeties, and posterior of the body to detect signs and symptoms of injury. It differs from the rapid trauma assessment only in that it also includes examination of the face, ears, eyes, nose adn mouth during the examination of the head


A description or label for a patient’s condition that assists a clinician in further evaluation and treatment

Differential Diagnosis

A list of potential diagnoses compiled early in the assessment of the patient


A condition of being stretched, inflated or larger than normal

History of the Present Illness (HPI)

Information gathered regarding the symptoms and nature of the patient’s current concern

Jugular Vein Distention (JVD)

Bulging of the neck veins

Medical Patient

A patient with one of the more medical diseases or conditions

Open-Ended Question

A question requiring more than just a "yes" or "no"


A memory aid in which the letters stand for questions asked to get a descroption of the present illness; onsed, provocation, quality, radiation, severity, time

Paradoxical Motion

Movement of a part of the chest in the opposite direction to the rest of the chest during respiration

Past Medical History (PMH)

Information gathered regarding the patient’s health problems in the past


Persistent erection of the penis that may result from spinal injury and some medical problems

Rapid Trauma Assessment

A rapid assessment of the head, neck, chest, abdomen, pelvis, extremeties and posterior of the body to detect signs and symptoms of injury


A procedure for detecting changes in a patient’s condition. It involves four steps: 1) repeating the primary assessment 2) repeating and recording vital signs 3) repeating the physical exam and 4) checking interventions


A memory aid in which the letters stand for elements of the past medical history : (S)signs and symptoms (A) allergies (M) medications (P) pertinent past history (L) last oral intake and (E) events leading to the injury or illness


Something regarding the patient’s condition that you can see


A permanent surgical opening in the neck through which the patient breathes


Something regarding the patient’s condition that the patient tells you


A surgical incision held open by a metal or plastic tube

Trauma Patient

A patient suffering from one or more physical injuries


Changes in a patient’s condition over time, such as slowing respirations or rising pulse rate, that may show improvement

Base Station

A two-way radio at a fixed site such as a hospital or dispatch center

Cell Phone

A phone that transmits through the air instead of over wires so the phone can be transported and used over a wide area

Drop Report (Or transfer report)

An abbreviated form of the PCR that an EMS crew can leave at the hospital when there is not enough time to complete the PCR before leaving

Mobile Radio

A two-way radio that is used or affixed in a vehicle

Portable Radio

A handheld two-way radio


A device that picks up signals from the lower-power radio units, such as mobile and portable radios, and retransmits them at a higher power. It allows low-power radio signals to be transmitted over longer distances


The process of sending and receiving data wirelessly


The unit of measurement of the output power of a radio


A medication used to reduce the clotting ability of blood to prevent and treat clots associated with myocardial infarction


A device attached to the end of a syringe that atomizes medication (turns it into very fine droplets)


Specific signs of circumstances under which it is not appropriate and may be harmful to administer a drug to a patient


Referring to a route of medication administration that uses the gastrointestinal tract, such as swallowing a pill


A drug that helps to constrict the blood vessels and relax passages of the airway. It may be used to counter a severe allergic reaction


Specific signs or circumstances under which it is appropriate to administer a drug to a patient


A spray device with a mouthpiece that contains an aerosol form of a medication that a patient can spray into his airway


An antidote for narcotic overdoses


A drug that helps to dilate the coronary vessels that supply the heart muscle with blood

Oral Glucose

A form of glucose (a kind of sugar) given by mouth to treat an awake patient (who is able to swallow) with an altered mental status and a history of diabetes


A gas commonly found in the atmosphere. Pure oxygen is used as a drug to treat any patient whose medical or traumatic condition may cause him to be hypoxic or low in oxygen


Referring to a route of medication administration that does not use the gastrointestinal tract, such as an intravenous medication


The study of the effects of medications on the body


The study of drugs, their sources, their characteristics and their effects

Side Effect

Any action of a drug other than the desired action

Untoward Effect

An effect of a medication in addition to its desired effect that may be potentially harmful to the patient


Constriction or blockage, of the bronchi that lead from the trachea to the lungs

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)

A form of noninvasive positive pressure ventilation (NNPV) consisting of a mask adn a means of blowing oxygen or air into the mask to prevent airway collapse or to help alleviate difficulty breathing


Another term for expiration


A passive proces in which the intercostal (rib) muscles and the diaphragm relax, causing the chest cavity to decrease in size and force air from the lungs


Another term for inspiration


An active process in which the intercostal (rib) muscles and the diaphragm contract, expanding the size of the chest cavity adn causing air to flow into the lungs

Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS)

A blanket term used to represent any symptoms related to lack of oxygen (ischemia) in the heart muscle. Also called cardiac compromise

Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI)

The condition in which a portion of the myocardium dies as a result of oxygen starvation, often called a heart attack

Agonal Breathing

Irregular, gasping breaths that precede apnea and death


The dilation or ballooning of a weakened section of the wall of an artery

Angina Pectoris

Pain in the chest occurring when blood supply to the heart is reduced and a portion of the heart muscle is not receiving enough oxygen


No breathing


A condition in which the heart has ceased generating electrical impulses. Commonly called flatline


When the heart rate is slow, usually less than 60bpm

Cardiac Compromise

See Acute Coronary Syndromw (ACS)

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

Actions taken to revive a person by keeping the person’s heart and lungs working

Cardiovascular System

The heart and blood vessels

Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)

The failure of the heart to pump efficiently, leading to excessive blood or fluid in the lungs, body or both

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)

Diseases that affect the arteries of the heart


Delivery of an electrical shock to stop the fibrillation of the heart muscles and restore a normal heart rhythm


Shortness of breath; labored or difficult breathing


A disturbance in heart rate and rhythm


Swelling resultingfrom a buildup of fluid in the tissues


Blockage of a vessel by a clot or foreign material brought to the site by the blood current


A medication that dilates the blood vessels


Blockages, as of an artery, by fatty deposits

Pedal Edema

Accumulation of fluid in the feet or ankles

Pulmonary Edema

Accumulation of fluid in the lungs

Pulseless Electrical Activigy (PEA)

A condition in which the heart’s electrical rhythm remains relatively normal, yet the mechanical pumping activity fails to follow the electrical activity, causing cardiac arrest

Sudden Death

A cardiac arrest that occurs within 2 hours of the onset of symptoms. The patient may have no prior symptoms of coronary artery disease


When the heart rate is fast, more than 100bpm


A clot formed of blood and plaque attached to the inner wall of an artery of vein

Ventricular Fibrillation (VF)

A condition in which the heart’s electrical impulses are disorganized, preventing the heart muscle from contracting normally

Ventricular Tachycardia

A condition in which the heartbeat is quite rapid; if rapid enough, ventricular tachycardia will not allow the heart’s chambers to fill with enough blood between beats to produce blood flow sufficient to meet the body’s needs


A sensation experienced by a seizure patient right before the seizure, which might be a smell, sound or general feeling

Diabetes Mellitus

Also called "sugar diabetes" or just "diabetes" the condition brought about by decreased insulin production or the inability of the body cells to use insulin properly. The person with this condition is also diabetic

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

A condition that occurs as a result of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia), characterized by dehydration, altered mental status and shock


A medical condition that causes seizures

Generalized Seizure

A seizure that affects both sides of the brain


A form of sugar, the body’s basic source of energy


High blood sugar


Low blood sugar


A hormone produced by the pancreas or taken as a medication by many diabetics

Partial Seizure

A seizure that affects only one part or one side of the brain

Postictal Phase

The period of time immediately following a tonic-clonic seizure in which the patient goes from full loss of consciousness to full mental status

Reticular Activating System (RAS)

Series of neurologic circuits in the brain theat control the functions of staying awake, paying attention and sleeping


A sudden change in sensation, behavior or movement. The most severe form of seizure produces violent muscle contractions called convulsions


Infection, especially a severe, systemwide response to infection

Status Eliepticus

A prolonged seizure or situation when a person suffers two or more convulsive seizures without regaining full consciousness


A condition of altered function caused when an artery in the brain is blocked or ruptured, disrupting the supply of oxygenated blood or causing bleeding into the brain. Formerly called a cerebrovascular accident (CVA)



Tonic-Clonic Seizure

A generalized seizure in which the patient loses consciousness and has jerking movements of paired muscle groups


Something that causes an allergic reaction

Allergic Reaction

An exaggerated immune response


A severe or life-threatening allergic reaction in which the blood vessels dilate, causing a drop in blood pressure and the tissues lining the respirator system swell, interfering with the airway. Also called anaphylactic shock.


A syringe preloaded with medication that has a spring-loaded device that pushes the needle through the skin when the tip of the device is pressed firmly against the body


A hormone produced by te body. As a medication, it constricts blood vessels adn dilates respiratory passages and is used to relieve severe allergic reactions


Red, itchy, possibly raisd blotches on the skin tht often result from allergic reactions

Absorbed Poisons

Poisons that are taken into the body through unbroken skin

Activated Charcoal

A substance that absorbs many poisons and prevents them from being absorbed by the body


A substance that will neutralize the poison or its effects

Delirium Tremens (DTs)

A severe reaction that can be part of alcohol withdrawl, characterized by sweating, trembling, anxiety and hallucinations. Severe alcohol withdrawl with the DTs can lead to death if untreated


Thinning down or weakening by mixing with something else. Ingested poisons are sometimes diluted by drinking water or milk


Depressants, such as barbiturates, that depress the central nervous system, which are often used to bring on a more relaxed state of mind


Mind-affecting or mind-altering drugs that act on the central nervous system to produce excitement and distortion of perceptions

Ingested Poisons

Poisons that are swallowed

Inhaled Poisons

Poisons that are breathed in

Injected Poisons

Poisons that are inserted through the skin, for example, by needle, snake fangs or insect stinger


A class of drugs that affect the nervous system and change many normal body activities. Their legal use is for the relief of pain. Illicit use is to produce an intense state of relaxation


Any substance that can harm the body by altering cell structure or functions


A poisonous substance secreted by bacteria, plants or animals


Stimulants such as amphetamines tht affect the central nervous system to excite the user

Volatile Chemicals

Vaporizing compounds such as cleaning fluid, that are breathed in by the abuser to produce a "high"


Referring to alcohol or drug withdrawl in which the patient’s body reacts severely when deprived of the abused substance

Parietal Pain

A localized, intense pain that arises from the parietal peritoneum, the lining of the abdominal cavity


The membrane that lines the abdominal cavity (the parietal peritoneum) and covers the organss within it (the visceral peritoneum)

Referred Pain

Pain that is felt in a location other than where the pain originates

Retroperitoneal Space

The area posterior to the peritoneum between the peritoneum and the back

Tearing Pain

Sharp pain that feels as if body tissues are being torn apart

Visceral Pain

A poorly localized, dull or diffuse pain that arises from the abdominal organs or viscera


The manner in which a person acts

Behavioral Emergency

When a patient’s behavior is not typical for the situation; when the patient’s behavior is unacceptable or intolerable to the patient, his family or the community; or when the patient may harm himself or others

Excited Delirium

Bizarre and/or aggressive behavior, shouting, paranoia, panic, violence toward others, insensitivity to pain, unexpected physical strength, and hyperthermia, usually associated with cocaine or amphetamine use. Also called agitated delirium

Positional Asphyxia

Inadequate breathing or respiratory arrest caused by a body position that restricts breathing


Lack of a normal number or red blood cells in the circulation


Loss of the normal ability to form a blood clot with internal or external bleeding

Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis (CAPD)

A gravity exchange process for peritoneal dialysis in which a bag of dialysis fluid is raised above the level of an abdominal catheter to fill the abdominal cavity and lowered below the level of the abdominal catheter to drain the fluid out

Continuous Cycler-Assisted Peritoneal Dialysis (CCPD)

A mechanical process for peritoneal dialysis in which a machine fills and empties the abdominal cavity of dialysis solution


The process by which toxins and excess fluid are removed from the body by a medical system independent of the kidneys

End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD)

Irreversible renal failure to the extent that the kidneys can no longer provide adequate filtration and fluid balane to sustain life; survival with ESRD usually requires dialysis


One cycle of filling and draining the peritoneal cavity


An infection that begins in the urinary tract and ascends up the ureter into the kidney

Renal Failure

Loss of the kidneys’ ability to filter the blood and remove toxins and excess fluid from the body

Sickle Cell Anemia (SCA)

An inherited disease in which a genetic defect in the hemoglobin results in abnormal structure of the red blood cells


A vibration felt on gentle paplation, such as that which typically occurs within an arterial-venous fistula

Urinary Catheter

A drainage tube placed into the urinary system to allow the flow of urine out of the body

Arterial Bleeding

Bleeding from an artery, which is characterized by bright red blood that is rapid, profuse, and difficult to control

Capillary Bleeding

Bleding from capillaries, which is characterized by a slow, oozing flow of blood

Cardiogenic Shock

Shock, or lack of perfusion, brough on not by blood loss but by the heart’s inadequate pumping action. It is often the result of a heart attack or gongestive heart failure.

Compensated Shock

When the patient is developing shock but the body is still able to maintain perfusion. See also shock

Decompensated Shock

When the body can no longer compensate for low blood volume or lack of perfusion. Late signs such as decreasing blood pressure become evident. See also shock


Bleeding, especially severe bleeding

Hemorrhagic Shock

Shock resulting from blood loss

Hemostatic Agents

Substances applied as powders, dressings, gauze, or bandages to open wounds to stop bleeding


The body’s inability to adequately circulate blood to tbe body’s cells to supply them with oxygen and nutrients. See also shock

Hypovolemic Shock

Shock resulting from blood or fluid loss

Neurogenic Shock

Hypoperfusion due to nerve paralysis (sometimes caused by spinal cord injuries) resulting in the dilation of blood vessels that increases the volume of the circulatory system beyond the point where it can be filled


The supply of oxygen to and removal of wastes from the body’s cells and tissues as a result fo the flow of blood through the capillaries

Pressure Dressing

A bulky dressing held in position with a tightly wrapped bandage, which applies pressure to help control bleeding


The body’s inability to adequately circulate blood to the body’s cells to supply them with oxygen and nutrients, which is a life-threatening condition. Also known as hypoperfusion


A device used for bleeding control that constricts all blood flow to and from an extremity

Venous Bleeding

Bleeding from a vein, which is characgterized by a dark red or maroon blood and a steady, easy to control flow


A scratch or scrape


The surgical removal or traumatic severing of a body part, usually an extremity


The tearing away or tearing off of a piece or flap or skin or other soft tissue. This term may also be used for an eye pulled from it’s socket or a tooth dislodged from its socket


Any material used to hold a dressing in place

Closed Wound

An internal injury with no open pathway from the outside


A bruise

Crush Injury

An injury caused when force is transmitted from the body’s exterior to its internal structures. Bones can be broken, muscles, nerves and tissues damaged; and internal organs ruptured, causing internal bleeding


The inner (second) layer of skin found beneath the epidermis. It is rich in blood vessels and nerves


Any material (preferably sterile) used to cover a wound that will help control bleeding and prevent additional contamination


The outer layer of the skin

Full Thickness Burn

A burn in which all the layers of the skin are damaged. There are usually areas that are charred black or areas that are dry and white. Also called a third-degree burn


A swelling caused by the collection of blood under the skin or in damaged tissues as a result of an injured or broken blood vessel


A cut

Occlusive Dressing

Any dressing that forms an airtight seal

Open Wound

An injury in which the skin is interrupted, exposing the tissue beneath

Partial Thickness Burn

A burn in which the epidermis (first layer of skin) is burned through and the dermis (second layer) is damaged. Burns of this type cause reddening, blistering, and a mottled appearance. Also called a second-degree burn

Pressure Dressing

A dressing applied tightly to control bleeding

Puncture Wound

An open wound that tears through the skin and destroys underlying tissues. A penetrating puncture wound can be shallow or deep. A perforating puncture wound has both an entrance and an exit wound

Rule of Nines

A method of estimating the extent of a burn. For an adult, each of the following areas represents 9% of the body surface. The head and neck, each upper extremity, the chest, the abdomen, the upper back, the lower back and buttocks, the front of each lower extremity and the back of each lower extremity. The remaining 1% is assigned to the genital region. For an infant or child, the percentages are modified so 18% is assigned to the head, 14% to each lower extremity

Rule of Palm

A method for estimating the extent of a burn. The palm and fingers of the patient’s own hand, which equals about 1% of the body’s surface area, is compared with the patient’s burn to estimate its size

Subcutaneous Layers

The layers of fat and soft tissues found below the dermis

Superficial Burns

A burn that involves only the epidermis, the outer layer of the skin. It is characterized by reddening of the skin and perhaps some swelling. A common example is a sunburn. Also called a first-degree burn

Universal Dressing

A bulky dressing


An intestine or other internal organ protruding through a wound in the abdomen

Flail Chest

Fracture of two or more adjacent ribs in two or more places that allows for free movement of the fractured segment

Paradoxical Motion

Movement of ribs in a flail segment that is opposite to the direction of movement of the rest of the chest cavity


Air in the chest cavity

Sucking Chest Wound

An open chest wound in which air is "sucked" into the chest cavity

Tension Pneumothorax

A type of pneumothorax in which air that enters the chest cavity is prevented from escaping. Righty Hearty Lefty

Angulated Fracture

Fracture in which the broken bone segments are at an angle to each other


Hard but flexible living structures that provide support for the body and protection to vital organs


Tough tissue that covers the joint ends of bones and helps to form certain body parts such as the ear

Closed Extremity Injury

An injury to an extremity with no associated opening in the skin

Comminuted Fracture

A fracture in which the bone is broken in several places

Compartment Syndrome

Injury caused when tissues such as blood vessels and nerves are constricted within a space as from swelling or from a tight dressing or cast


A grating sensation or sound made when fractured bone emds rub together


The disruption or "coming apart" of a joint


The portions of the skeleton that include the clavicles, scapulac, arms, wrists and hands (upper extremeties) and the pelvis, thighs, legs, ankles and feet (lower extremeties)


Any break in a bone

Greenstick Fracture

An incomplete fracture


Places where bones articulate or meet


Tissues that connect bone to bone

Manual Traction

The process of applying tension to straighten and realign a fractured limb before splinting. Also called tension


Tissues or fibers that cause movement of body parts and organs

Open Extremity Injury

An extremity injury in which the skin has been broken or torn through from the inside by an injured bone or from the outside by something that has caused a penetrating wound with associated injury to the bone


The stretching and tearing of ligaments


Muscle injury resulting from overstretching or overexertion of the muscle


Tissues that connect muscle to bone

Traction Splint

A splint that applies constant pull along the length of a lower extremity to help stabalize the fractured bone and to reduce muscle spasm in the limb. Traction splints are used primarily on femoral shaft fractures

Air Embolism

A bubble of air in the bloodstream

Ataxic Respirations

A pattern of irregular and unpredictable breathing commonly caused by brain injury

Autonomic Nervous System

Controls involuntary functions

Central Nervous System

The brain and the spinal cord

Central Neurogenic Hyperventilation

A pattern of rapid and deep breathing caused by injury to the brain

Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF)

The fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord

Cheyne-Stokes Breathing

A distinct pattern of breathing characterized by quickening and deepening respirations followed by a period of apnea


Mild closed head injury without detectable damage to the brain. Complete recovery is usually expected but effects may linger for weeks, months or even years


In brain injuries, a bruised brain caused when the force of a blow to the head is great enough to rupture blood vessels


The bony structure making up the forehead, top,m back and upper sides of the skull


An area of the skin that is innervated by a single spinal nerve

Foramen Magnum

The opening at the base of teh skull through which the spinal cord passes from the brain


In a head injury, a collection of blood within the skull or brain


Pushing of a portion of the brain downward toward the foramen magnum as a result of the increased intracranial pressure

Intracranial Pressure

Pressure inside the skull


In brain injuries, a cut to the brain


The cheekbone. Also called the zygomatic bone


The lower jawbone


The two fused bones forming the upper jaw

Nasal Bones

The bones that form the upper third, or bridge, of the nose

Nervous System

Provides overall control of thought, sensation and the body’s voluntary and involuntary motor functions. The components of the nervous system are the brain and spinal cord as well as the nerves that enter and exit the brain and spinal cord and extend to the various parts of the body

Neurogenic Shock

A state of shock (hypoperfusion) caused by nerve paralysis that sometimes deveolps from spinal cord injuries


The bony structures around the eyes; the eye sockets

Peripheral Nervous System

The nerves that enter and exit the spinal cord between the vertebrae, the twelve pairs of cranial nerves that travel between the brain and the organs without passing through the spinal cord, and all of the body’s other motor and sensory nerves

Pulmonary Embolism

A blockage in the blood circulation of the lung causd by a blood clot or air bubble

Spinal Motion Restriction

The immobilization of the spinal column as if it were a single bone to prevent movement of individual vertebrae

Spinous Process

The bony bump on a vertebra

Temporal Bone

Bone that forms part of the side of the skull and floor of the cranial cavity. There are right and left temporal bones

Temporomandibular Joint

The oveable joint formed between the mandible adn the temporal bone, also called TMJ


The bones of the spinal column (singular vertebra)

Multiple Trauma

More than one serious injury

Multisystem Trauma

One or more injuries that affect more than one body system

Trauma Score

A system of evaluating trauma patients accordig to a numerical rating system to determine the severity of the patient’s trauma

Active Rewarming

Application of an external heat source to rewarm the body of a hypothermic patient

Air Embolism

Gas bubble in the bloodstream. The plural is air emboli. The more accurate term is arterial gas embolism (AGE)

Central Rewarming

Application of heat to the lateral chest, neck, armpits and groin of a hypothermic patient


The transfer of heat from one material to another through direct contact


Carrying away of heat by currents of air, water or other gases or liquids

Decompression Sickness

A condition resulting from nitrogen trapped in the body’s tissues caused by coming up too quickly from a deep, prolonged dive. A symptom of decompression sickness is "the bends" or a deep pain in the muscles and joints


The process of experiencing respiratory impairment from submersion/immersion in liquid, which may result in death, morbidity (illness or other adverse effects) or no morbidity


The change from liquid to gas. When the body perspires or gets wet, evaporation of the perspiration or other liquid into the air has a cooling effect on the body


An increase in body temperature above normal, which is a life-threatening condition in its extreme


Generalized cooling that reduces body temperature below normal, which is life-threatening in its extreme

Local Cooling

Cooling or freezing of particular (local) parts of the body

Passive Rewarming

Covering a hypothermic patient and taking other steps to prevent further heat loss and help the body rewarm itself


Sending out energy, such as heat, in waves into space


Breathing. During respiration, body heat is lost as warm air is exhaled from the body


Substances produced by animals or plants that are poisonous to humans


A toxin (poison) produced by certain animals such as snakes, spiders and some marine life forms

Water Chill

Chilling caused by conduction of heat from the body when the body or clothing is wet

Wind Chill

Chilling caused by convection of heat from the body in the presence of air currents


Spontaneous (miscarriage) or induced termination of pregnancy

Abruptio Placentae

A condition in which the placenta separates from the uterine wall; a cause of prebirth bleeding


The placenta, membranes of the amniotic sac, part of the umbilical cord and some tissues from the lining of the uterus that are delivered after the birth of the baby

Amniotic Sac

The bag of waters that surrounds the developing fetus

Braxton-Hicks Contractions

Irregular prelabor contractions of the uterus

Breech Presentation

When the baby’s buttocks or both legs appear first during birth

Cephalic Presentation

When the baby appears headfirst during birth. This is the normal presentation


The neck of the uterus at the entrance to the birth canal


When part of the baby is visible through the vaginal opening


A severe complication of pregnancy that produces seizures and coma

Ectopic Pregnancy

When implantation of the fertilized egg is not in the body of the uterus, occurring instead in the fallopian tube (oviduct), cervix, or abdominopelvic cavity


The baby from fertilization to 8 weeks of development

Fallopian Tube

The narrow tube that connects the ovary to the uterus. Also called the oviduct


The baby from 8 weeks of development to birth

Induced Abortion

Expulsion of a fetus as a result of deliberate actions taken to stop the pregnancy


Soft tissues that protect the entrance to the vagina


The three stages of the delivery of a baby that begin with the contractions of the uterus and end with the expulsion of the placenta


The sensation of the fetus moving from high in the abdomen to low in the birth canal

Limb Presentation

When an infant’s limb protrudes from the vagina before the appearance of any other body part

Meconium Staining

Amniotic fluid that is greenish or brownish-yellow rather than clear as a result of fetal defecation; an indication of possible maternal or fetal distress during labor


See spontaneous abortion

Mons Pubis

Soft tissue that covers the pubic symphysis; area where hair grows when a woman reaches puberty

Multiple Birth

When more than one baby is born during a single delivery


A newly born infant or an infant less than one month old


The female reproductive organ that produces ova


The phase of the female reproductive cycle in which an ovum is release from the ovary


The surface area between the vagina and the anus


The organ of pregnancy where exchange of oxygen, nutrients and wastes occurs between a mother and fetus

Placenta Previa

A condition in which the placenta is formed in an abnormal location (low in the uterus and close to or over the cervical opening) that will not allow for a normal delivery of the fetus; a cause of excessive pre-birth bleeding


A complication of pregnancy in which the woman retains large amounts of fluid and has hypertension. She may also experience seizures and/or coma during birth which is very dangerous to the infant

Premature Infant

Any newborn weighing less than 5 1/2 lbs or born between the 37th week of pregnancy

Prolapsed Umbilical Cord

When the umbilical cord presents first and is squeezed between the vaginal wall and baby’s head

Spontaneous Abortion

When the fetus and placenta deliver before the 28th week of pregnancy; commonly called a miscarriage


Born dead

Supine Hypotensive Syndrome`

Dizziness and a drop in blood pressure caused when the mother is in a supine position and the weight of the uterus, infant, placenta and amniotic fluid compress the inferior vena cava, reducing return of blood to the herat and cardiac output

Umbilical Cord

The fetal structure containing the blood vessels that carry blood to and from the placenta


The muscular abdominal organ where the fetus deveolps; the womb


The birth Canal


Soft spots on an infant’s scalp formed by the joining of not-yet-fused bones of the skull


Of or pertaining to a patient who has yet to reach puberty


Pulling in of the skin and soft tissue between the ribs when breathing. This is typically a sign of respiratory distress in children

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)

Developmental disorders that affect, among other things, the ability to communicate, report medical conditions, self-regulate behaviors, and interact with others

Automatic Implanted Cardiac Defibrillator (AICD)

A device implanted under the skin of the chest to detect any life-threatening dysrhythmia and deliver a shock to defibrillate the heart


The branch of medicine that deals with the causes of obesity as well as it’s prevention and treatment

Central IV Catheter

A catheter surgically inserted for long-term delivery of medications or fluids ino the central circulation

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)

A device worn by a patient that blows oxygen or air under constant low pressure through a tube and mask ot keep airway passages from collapsing at the end of a breath


The process of filtering the blood to remove toxic or unwanted wastes and fluids


A physical, emotional, behavioral or cognitive condition that interferes with a person’s ability to carry out everyday tasks, such as working or caring for oneself

Feeding Tube

A tube used to provide delivery of nutrients to the stomach. A nasogastric feeding tube is inserted throught the nose and into the stomach; a gastric feeding tube is surgically implanted through the abdominal wall and into the stomach

Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD)

A battery-powered mechanical pump implanted in the body to assist a failing left ventricle in pumping blood to the body


A condition of having too much body fat, defined as a body mass index of 30 or greater

Ostomy bag

An external pouch that collects fecal matter diverted from the colon or ileum through a surgical opening (colostomy or ileostomy) in the abdominal wall


A device implanted under the skin with wires implanted into the heart to modify the heart rate as needed to maintain an adequate heart rate


A surgically created opening into the body, as with a tracheostomy, colostomy or ileostomy


A surgical opening in the neck into the trachea

Urinary Catheter

A tube inserted into the bladder through the urethra to drain urine from the bladder


A device that breathes for a patient

Cold Zone

Area where the Incident Command post and support functions are located


The first on scene to establish order and initiate the Incident Command System


A chemical and/or physical process that reduces or prevents the spread of contamination from persons or equipment; the removal of hazardous substances from employees and their equipment to the extent necessary to preclude forseable health effects

Disaster Plan

A predefined set of instructions for a community’s emergency responders

Hazardous Material

Any substance or material in a form that poses an unreasonable risk to health, safety and property when transported in commerce or kept in storage at a warehouse, port, deport or railroad facility

Hot Zone

Area immediatey surrounding a hazmat incident; extends far enough to prevent adverse effects outside the zone

Incident Command

The person or persons who assume overall direction of a large-scale indident

Incident Command System (ICS)

A subset of the National Incident Management System (NIMS) designed specifically for management of multiple-casualty incidents

Multiple-Casualty Incident (MCI)

Any medical or trauma incident involving multiple patients

National Incident Management System (NIMS)

The management system used by federal, state and local governments to manage emergencies in the United States

Single Incident Command

Command organizations in which a single agency controls all resources and operations

Staging Area

The area where ambulances are parked and other resources are held until needed

Staging Supervisor

Person responsible for overseeing ambulances and personnel at a multiple-casualty incident

Surge Capacity

A measureable representation of ability to manage a sudden influx of patients. It is dependent of a well-functioning incident management system and the variables of space, supplies, staff and any special considerations (contaminated or contagious patients for example)

Transportation Supervisor

Person responsible for communicating with sector officers and hospitals to manage transportation of patients to hospitals from a multiple-casualty incident

Treatment Area

The area in which patients are treated at a multiple-casualty incident

Treatment Supervisor

Person responsible for overseeing treatment of patients who have been triaged at a multiple-casualty incident


The process of quickly assessing patients at a multiple-casualty incident and assigning each a priority for receiving treatment; from the French word meaning " to sort"

Triage Area

The area where the secondary triage takes place at a multiple-casualty incident

Triage Supervisor

The person responsible for overseeing triage at a multiple-casualty incident

Triage Tag

Color-coded tag indicating the priority group to which a patient has been assigned

Unified Command

Command organization in which several agencies work independently but cooperatively

Warm Zone

Area where personnel and equipment decontamination and hot zone support take place; it includes control points for the access corridor and, thus, assists in reducing the spread of contamination


Contact with or presence of a material (contaminant) that is present where it does not belong and that is somehow harmful to persons, animals, or the environment



Domestic Terrorism

Terrorism directed against one’s own government or population without foreign direction. See also terrorism; international terrorism


The dose or concentration of an agent multiplied by the time, or duration

International Terrorism

Terrorism that is purely foreign based or directed. See also terrorism; domestic terrorism

Multiple Devices

Destructive devices, such as bombs, including both those used in the intial attack and those placed to be activated after an initial attack and timed to injur emergency responders and others who rush to help care for those targeted by an initial attack; See also secondary devices


The movement of a substance through as surface or, on a molecular level, through intact materials; penetration or spreading


Roentgen equivalent (in) man; measure of radiation dosage

Routes of Entry

Pathways into the body, generally by absorption, ingestion, injeciton or inhalation

Secondary Devices

Destructive devices, such as bombs, placed to be activated after an initial attack and timed to injure emergency responders and others who rush in to help care for those targeted by an initial attack; see also multiple devices


Broad general plans designed to achieve desired outcomes


Specific operational actions to accomplish assigned tasks


The unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian populaiton or any segment thereof, in firtherance of political or social objectives ( US Dept of Justice, FBI, definition) See also domestic terrorism; international terrorism


Packaging or producing a material, such as a chemical, biological, or radiological agent, so it can be used as a weapon, for example, by dissemination in a bomb detonation or as an aerosol sprayed over an area or introduced into a ventilation system

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Weapons, devices or agents intended to cause widespread harm and/or fear among a population


Able to move through the animal-human barrier; transmissible from animals to humans

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NASM Flashcards

Which of the following is the process of getting oxygen from the environment to the tissues of the body? Diffusion ...

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