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abrasion — a superficial excoriation with loss of substance under the form of small shreds
acute — rapid onset and/or short-term duration (as opposed to chronic)
adaptic gauze — nonadhering dressing
agonal breathing — an abnormal pattern of breathing characterized by gasping, labored breathing, accompanied by strange vocalizations and involuntary muscle twitching
alveoli — microscopic air sacs in the lungs where gas exchange occurs with the circulatory system
ambient — surrounding on all sides
anesthesia — general or local insensibility to pain and other sensation induced by certain interventions or drugs
anoxia — absence of oxygen in the circulating blood or in the tissues
anticholinesterase activity — a chemical activity that inhibits the cholinesterase enzyme from breaking down acetylcholine, increasing both the level and duration of action of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine
antivenom, antivenin or antivenene — a biological product used in the treatment of venomous bites or stings. Antivenoms are created by injecting small amounts of the targeted venom into an animal (typically horses, sheep, goats or rabbits) with the intention that the subject animal will develop antibodies against the venom’s active molecule. The plasma of the animals, containing the antibodies, can then be harvested from the animal’s blood and used to treat the envenomation.
aorta — the largest vessel of the systemic arterial system, from which the main arteries carrying oxygenated blood branch out and subdivide into smaller and smaller vessels
aphonia — voice loss, inability to phonate sounds
arachnoid — the serous membrane forming the middle of the three coverings of the brain and spinal cord
arrhythmia — a problem with the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat
arteriole — small artery
aspiration — inhaling fluid or a foreign body into the bronchi and lungs, often after vomiting
asymmetry — disproportion between two or more like parts; lack of symmetry
asymptomatic — without symptoms
ataxia (or ataxy) — loss of coordination; inability to coordinate voluntary muscle movements; unsteady movements and staggering gait
atelectasis — the collapse of all or part of a lung
atrium — chamber of the heart that provides access to another chamber called the ventricle
audiovestibular — of or pertaining to the auditory functions of the inner ear and the vestibule of the ear
axons — a long, slender projection of a nerve cell, or neuron, that typically conducts electrical impulses away from the neuron cell body
barotrauma — physical damage to body tissues caused by a difference in pressure between an air space inside or beside the body and the surrounding fluid
bioaccumulation — the accumulation of substances in nature, organisms or the environment
bloodborne pathogens — infectious microorganisms in human blood that can cause disease in humans
blood brain barrier (BBB) — a separation of circulating blood and cerebrospinal fluid in the central nervous system. It occurs along all capillaries and consists of tight junctions around the capillaries that don’t exist in normal circulation.
bronchi — plural of bronchus, which is a division of the trachea
bronchiole — small branch of the bronchus that carries air to and from the alveoli
bronchospasm — bronchoconstriction, or the sudden narrowing of the smaller airways, of a spasmodic nature
capillary — microscopic blood vessels in which the gas exchange takes place between the bloodstream and the tissues or the air in the lungs
carbon monoxide — a highly poisonous, odorless, tasteless and colorless gas formed when carbon material burns with restricted access to oxygen. It is toxic by inhalation since it competes with oxygen in binding with the hemoglobin, thereby resulting in diminished availability of oxygen in tissues.
cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) — an emergency procedure that is performed in an effort to manually preserve intact brain function until further measures are taken to restore spontaneous blood circulation and breathing in a person in cardiac arrest
cardiorespiratory — pertaining to the circulatory and respiratory systems
cartilaginous — pertaining to or composed of cartilage


cerebral — of, relating to or affecting the brain or cerebrum
cerebrovascular accident (CVA) — sudden death of some brain cells due to lack of oxygen when the blood flow to the brain is impaired by blockage or rupture of an artery to the brain; also referred to as a stroke
chordata — a major phylum in the kingdom Animalia characterized by the presence of a spinal cord. Phylogenetically, this phylum includes all vertebrates and some closely related invertebrates.
chronic — persistent or long lasting (as opposed to acute)
cilia — long, slender microscopic hairs extending from cells and capable of rhythmic motion
cirrhosis — a consequence of chronic liver disease characterized by replacement of liver tissue by fibrosis, scar tissue and nodules, leading to loss of liver function
clades — a group of organisms that are classified together as descendants of a common ancestor
cutaneous — of, relating to or affecting the skin
cyanosis — bluish color of the skin due to insufficient oxygen in the blood
debridement — removal of dead, damaged or infected tissue to improve the healing potential of the remaining healthy tissue; surgical removal of foreign bodies from a wound
defibrillation — a therapeutic dose of electrical energy to the affected heart with a device called a defibrillator, which depolarizes a critical mass of the heart muscle, terminates the arrhythmia and allows normal sinus rhythm to be reestablished by the body’s natural pacemaker
dehydration — an abnormal depletion of water and other body fluids
denaturation — a structural change in macromolecules, such as proteins, caused by extreme conditions such as heat or external stress such as a strong acid or base or aB biological solvent such as alcohol or chloroform
Diameter Index Safety System (DISS) — intermediate pressure port where a hose attaches, leading to a demand valve or other apparatus
diaphoresis — excessive perspiration, profuse sweating
dinoflagellates — microscopic unicellular organisms that share characteristics of both plants and animals and therefore do not fit into either kingdom; typically present in plankton, microscopic algae and microscopic bioluminescent organisms
diplopia — double vision; disorder of the vision in which one object is seen as two
distal — situated away from the middle of the body (as opposed to proximal)
dorsal — relating to the back (posterior) part of the body
dura mater — the outermost of the three layers of the meninges surrounding the brain and spinal cord
dysesthesia — distortion of any sense, especially of the sense of touch
dysphagia — difficulty swallowing
dysphonia — difficulty in phonation, or painful speech; typically a hoarse or weak voice; not to be confused with aphonia (inability to phonate sounds)
dyspnea — difficult, painful breathing or shortness of breath
edema — swelling caused by excess fluid in body tissues
electrolyte — minerals in your blood and other body fluids that carry an electric charge that affect the amount of water in your body, the acidity of your blood (pH), your muscle function and other important processes
embolism — a detached intravascular mass clogging capillary beds at a site far from its origin
EMS — emergency medical services
epideral — a form of regional analgesia involving injection of drugs through a catheter placed into the epidural space
epiglottis — thin structure behind the tongue that shields the entrance of the larynx during swallowing, preventing the aspiration of debris into the trachea and lungs
equilibrium — the condition of a system in which competing influences are balanced
erythema — redness of the skin
erythropoietin — a hormone that is synthesized mainly in the kidneys and stimulates red blood cell formation
esophagus — portion of the digestive tract that lies between the back of the throat and stomach
eukaryota — from the Greek eu (“good” or “true”) and karyon (“nut” or “kernel,” which refers to the cell nucleus), meaning their cells have a true nucleus. Eukaryotes represent a complex form of biological evolution.
facet — a small, smooth, flat surface, as on a bone or tooth
fasciculations — a small and very localized involuntary sequence of muscle twitches; rapid muscle contractions and relaxations; not to be confused with seizures or grand mal
first responder — as used in the context of this course, an individual who arrives first on the scene and has first-aid training that addresses the immediate need for care until EMS arrives or the individual is transported to advanced medical care
flexor — a muscle that when contracted acts to bend a joint or limb in the body
fossa ovalis — oval depression in the wall of the heart remaining when the foramen ovale closes at birth (See patent foramen ovale.)
ganglion — a biological tissue mass, most commonly a mass of nerve cell bodies


gastrointestinal — refers to the stomach and intestines
gradient — the difference in pressure, oxygen tension or other variable as a function of distance, time or other continuously changing influence
grand mal — tonic-clonic seizure; a type of generalized seizure that affects the entire brain and causes massive muscular spasmic convulsions (See seizures.)
hemolytic — that which causes hemolysis, dissolution of red blood cells
hemorrhagic — pertaining to bleeding or the abnormal flow of blood
hemotoxic — capacity of a toxin to destroy red blood cells, disrupt blood clotting and/or cause organ degeneration and generalized tissue damage
histamine — an organic nitrogen compound that is released during allergic reactions that triggers an inflammatory response. It also regulates other physiological responses and acts as a neurotransmitter.
histaminoid — similar to histamine
histotoxic — causes tissue damage
hyperesthesia — increased sensitivity to stimulation, particularly to touch
hyperoxia — excess oxygen or higher than normal partial pressure of oxygen
hypoesthesia — abnormally decreased sensitivity to touch
hypotension — excessively low arterial blood pressure; causes include blood loss, infection, poisoning, heart failure, neurological injury, endocrine disorders and medications
hypovolemic — a state of decreased blood volume
hypoxemia — inadequate oxygen content in the arterial blood
hypoxia — inadequate oxygen content
incontinence — absence of voluntary control of an excretory function, especially defecation or urination
inert — having little or no tendency to react chemically
inflammation — redness, swelling, pain or a feeling of heat in an area of the body; a protective reaction to injury, disease or irritation of the tissues
intercostal muscles — the muscles between the ribs that contract during inspiration to increase the volume of the chest cavity
interneurons — neurons that process signals from one or more sensory neurons and relay signals to motor neurons (connector neurons)
intervertebral — situated between two contiguous vertebrae
intracerebral — occurring or situated within the brain
iodoform gauze — sterile gauze treated with an antiseptic
ischemic — a decrease in the blood supply to a bodily organ, tissue or part caused by constriction or obstruction of the blood vessels
isothermal — of, relating to or indicating equal or constant temperatures
jaundice — a yellow color of the skin, mucous membranes or eyes
laceration — a jagged wound or cut
larynx — the organ of voice production, also known as the voice box; the opening from the back of the throat into the trachea (windpipe)
lethargy — the quality or state of being lazy, sluggish or indifferent
lingual — relating to or resembling the tongue
localized — restricted to the site of origin, without evidence of spread
lpm — liters per minute; a measurement of a flow rate of gas or liquid
lymphatic — pertaining to, containing or conveying lymph