Glossary of Terms
ABG (arterial blood gas) – A sample of blood taken from an artery, usually at the wrist, that measures the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood to determine how well a patient’s lungs are working.
AC (assist/control) – A method of artificial respiration in which breathing is produced automatically after a set interval if the patient has not begun to breathe earlier.
Accessory muscles – Muscles of the neck, back, stomach and between the ribs.
Administer – Give.
Alarm – A sound emitted from a machine to alert the staff that the machine needs attention.
Anxiety – Fear that presents as restlessness, increased heart rate and trouble breathing.
BSI (bloodstream infection) – An infection in the blood when a PICC (peripherally inserted central catheter) line or central line is present.
BBS (bilateral breath sounds) – The sounds of breathing on both sides of the chest.
BP (blood pressure) – A vital sign that measures the pressure of blood against the walls of the blood vessels.
Bronchodilator – Medication that opens up the tubes in the lung to help the patient breathe.
Cardiac – Related to the heart.
CMI (case mix index) – The Medicare rating that measures the severity of a patient’s illness.
Central line – A type of IV placed in the upper chest area that allows easier access to administer medications and take blood samples.
CNA – Certified nursing assistant.
Cuffless – No balloon at the end of the breathing tube.
Cuff pressure – Measurement of air that inflates the balloon on the outside of the tracheotomy tube.
Culture – A test to determine if infection is present and identify which antibiotic to use for that infection.
Cyanosis – Bluish color to the skin and inside the mouth caused by too little oxygen.
Decannulation – The removal of the breathing tube.
Diaphoresis – An abnormal increase in the amount of sweat.
Diastolic - The bottom number of the blood pressure measurement.
Disposition – Placement when a patient leaves the hospital.
Endocrine – Relating to the glandular system.
Fenestrated – Small holes in the tracheotomy tube.
FiO2 – Oxygen level.
Fluid overload – An unusual amount of water retained by the body.
F/Vt – Respiratory rate and the amount of air given each breath.
GI (gastroenterology) – Related to the gastrointestinal tract (digestive system).
Hematology – Related to blood and blood-producing organs.
High pressure – An alarm on the ventilator that sounds when the patient coughs or tries to talk.
HR (heart rate) – A vital sign signaling the amount of times the heart beats in one minute.
Interdisciplinary team – A team of caregivers from different specialty areas.
IV (intravenous) – The giving of liquid substances directly into a vein.
Length of Stay (LOS) – The amount of time a patient stays in the hospital.
Length of stay on ventilator – The amount of time a patient stays on a ventilator before being weaned.
Low pressure – An alarm indicating an air leak or disconnection from the ventilator.
LPN – Licensed practical nurse.
MD – Medical doctor.
Mental status – A patient’s ability to know the current day, date and time.
Mode - A setting on the ventilator that dictates the pattern of breathing.
NGT (nasogastric tube) – A feeding tube placed in the nose that runs to the stomach.
NP – Nurse practitioner.
OT – Occupational therapist.
Oncology – The study of cancer.
PA – Physician assistant.
PCT – Patient care technician.
Peep – Pressure that holds the lungs open.
pH – A blood test that measures how well the patient is breathing.
PICC (peripherally inserted central catheter) – An IV inserted into the upper arm.
PLOF (prior level of function) – The patient’s functional level prior to hospitalization.
PMV (Passey Muir valve) – A speaking valve.
PO – Drinking or eating by mouth.
PPN (peripheral parenteral nutrition) – Nutrition provided through an IV.
Protocol – Medical guideline.
PRVC (pressure-regulated volume control) – A type of ventilator setting that allows the patient to rest.
PSV – A type of ventilator setting for weaning the patient from the ventilator.
Pulse ox – A machine that measures oxygen level and heart rate.
RD – Registered dietitian.
Renal – Referring to the kidneys.
RN – Registered nurse.
RR (respiratory rate) – The number of breaths per minute.
RT – Respiratory therapist.
SAT (saturation level) – A vital sign that measures the amount of oxygen in the blood through a finger probe.
SPO2 – A measurement of oxygen level.
Stabilized – Resting comfortably.
Systolic – The top number of the blood pressure measurement.
Tidal volume – The amount of air that a patient breathes in and out.
TPN (total parenteral nutrition) – Nutrition provided through an IV.
Trach (tracheotomy) – A tube placed into a hole in the wind pipe to allow breathing.
Trach collar (T-collar or T/C) – An oxygen mask over the airway.
T-care (tracheostomy care) – Cleaning around the airway.
Tube feeding – Liquid formula provided by a tube through either the nose or stomach.
UTI (urinary tract infection) – An infection of the urinary system.
Vascular – Related to the blood vessels and circulatory system.
VAP (ventilator-associated pneumonia) – Pneumonia that develops while the patient is on a ventilator.
Ventilator (vent) – Breathing machine.
Vital signs – The measurement of how fast the heart is beating, how fast a patient is breathing and body temperature.
Vt – The volume of air with each breath.
Wean – To withdraw or remove the breathing machine so that the patient can breathe independently.
Wean rate – The number of patients who are weaned from the ventilator.