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Medical Terminology Glossary: [C]
[A] [B] [C] [D] [E] [F] [G] [H] [I] [J] [K] [L] [M] [N] [O] [P] [Q] [R] [S] [T] [U] [V] [W] [X] [Y] [Z]

C-Reactive Protein A blood constituent pathologically increased in concentration in a variet of inflammatory conditions.

Cadaveric Graft Tissue donated from a dead body.

Calcification Deposit of calcium (carbonate) in tissues.

Calcium-Channel Blocker A type of medication which relieves High Blood Pressure and angina by interrupting the influx into the muscle of arteries and the heart of calcium, which is needed for contraction.

Calculus Stone.

Callus Bone-like substance which develops around damaged bone.

Caloric Response Test for the intactness of the balancing mechanism by putting cold and unusually warm water in the outer ear.

Candida A yeast normally present in the bowel and pathologically causing infection in other locations.

Canthus, Inner Join of upper and lower eyelids at the bridge of the nose.

Capillary The smallest and most numerous bloodvessels, permeating almost all tissues of the body, and connecting the smallest branches of arteries and veins.

Capsule Inner boundary of a joint space, often enclosing lubricating (synovial) fluid.

Caput Swelling of the fetal or newborn scalp as a result of pressure by the cervix during labour, indicating a tight fit.

Caput The temporary scalp swelling of a newborn infant caused by prolonged compression of the fetal scalp against the partially dilated cervix.

Carbon Dioxide Retention Failure to reduce blood carbon dioxide tensions to within the normal range.

Carcinoid A type of neoplasm that has distinctive microscopic features, can be benign or malignant, usually occurs in the small bowel and has the potential to produce the hormone serotonin and other substances.

Carcinoma, Invasive Cancer which has spread through the basement membrane, in this case of the cervix, and which therefore has the potential for distant (metastases) as well as local spread. Stage I is restricted to the cervix and body (corpus) of the uterus; Stage IIIB has extended to the wall of the bony pelvis and/or has caused hydronephrosis of a partially or completely nonfunctioning kidney.

Carcinoma Cancer of the lining of any free surface (as distinct from deeper structures).

Cardiac Death Sudden death attributable to heart disease but without evidence of acute coronary thrombosis or myocardial (cardiac) infarction.

Cardiac Failure Pathological inability of one or both (systemic or pulmonary) sides of the heart to pump volumes of blood adequate for sedentary life.

Cardiac Enzyme Biological catalyst released into the blood from damaged heart muscle.

Cardiac Arrest Cessation of mechanical heart-action, for any of a variety of pathological reasons.

Cardiac Event No standard definition, but generally includes cardiac death, myocardial infarction, coronary thrombosis and coronary artery surgery.

Cardiac Failure Pathological inability of one or both (systemic or pulmonary) sides of the heart to pump volumes of blood adequate for sedentary life.

Cardiac Catheterisation Advancing a hollow plastic tube into the heart, usually from one of the major arteries or veins for diagnostic (measuring pressures and/or imaging) or therapeutic (electrical pathway replacement or destruction) purposes.

Cardiac Asthma Wheezing and breathlessness caused by left ventricular failure.

Cardiac Pertaining to the heart.

Cardiogenic Shock Inability to sustain blood pressure caused by heart disease. 

Cardio-Esophageal Junction Join between the stomach and the lower end of the gullet.

Cardio-Pulmonary Stress Test An exercise, usually treadmill, test in which the functioning of the lungs and heart are measured for diagnostic purposes.

Cardiomegaly Pathological enlargement of the heart.

Cardiopulmonary Bypass Temporary artificial maintenance of gas exchange and pumping by mechanical devices.

CardioPulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Combined artificial ventilation and cardiac massage.

Cardiopulmonary Arrest Acute cessation of breathing and effective pumping of the heart.

Cardiorespiratory Pertaining to the heart and lungs.

Cardioversion Therapeutic correction of an arrhythmia by application of electric shock or administration of medications.

Carpal Bone of the wrist.

Cartilage Firm connective tissue (gristle), devoid of blood-vessels, and not impregnated with calcium (bone).

Catheter, Indwelling Tubing left for continuous drainage, usually of the urinary bladder.

Catheterisation Introduction of an instrument or drainage tube into a hollow organ.

Cauda Equina The sheaf of spinal nerves passing from their attachments at the lower end of the spinal cord to their emergence between the vertebrae.

Cautery Destroying tissue by electrical current, heat, chemicals or intense cold.

Cecostomy Controlled perforation of the first part of the large bowel, performed for therapeutic purposes.

Cecum First part of the large bowel, normally located in the right lower quadrant of the abdomen, but higher in pregnancy, and containing the appendix.

Celestone A synthetic corticosteroid medication given to the pregnant woman to induce fetal surfactant production, and thereby "mature" the lungs in preparation for anticipated premature delivery.

Celiac Disease A condition in which sensitivity to gluten causes injury to the lining of the upper small intestine, resulting in diarrhea and impaired absorption of food.

Cellular Proliferation Multiplication of cells, in this case pathological, to produce a neuroma.

Cellulitis Infection of cellular or connective tissue, usually, as in this case, skin and the layers beneath.

Cement Synthetic filler, typically for missing bone.

Centile The intersection on a normal distribution curve for a given percentage of the population studied.

Cephalic Presentation Head-first fetal position.

CephaloPelvic Disproportion (CPD) Mismatch between the size of the fetal head and maternal bony pelvis, preventing or slowing vaginal delivery.

Cerclage Surgically contricting the cervix with an implanted and removable band, to treat the condition of cervical incompetence, a failure of the normal restraint against dilatation of the cervix before the onset of labour.

Cerebellum Area of the brain at the back of the skull concerned with the unconscious coordination of voluntary movement.

Cerebral Palsy Defect of motor power and coordination caused by damage to the developing brain.

Cerebral Related to the 2 major hemispherical components of the brain, which serve the "higher" mental functions.

Cerebro Vascular Accident (CVA) Interruption to the blood supply to areas of the brain, whether by bleeding (cerebral hemorrhage), clot (cerebral thromboembolism) or prolonged spasm, leading to only partially-reversible localised brain death.

Cerebrospinal Fluid The watery fluid bathing the brain and spinal cord.

Cerebrovascular Disease Pathological narrowing of the major arteries supplying the brain with oxygenated blood.

Cerebrum The 2 major hemispherical components of the brain, which serve the "higher" mental functions.

Cervical Stenosis Pathological narrowing or complete obstruction of the canal of the cervix.

Cervical Relating to the neck of the trunk or the cervix of the uterus.

Cervicitis Inflammation of the cervix or neck of the uterus.

Cervix (Uteri) The neck of the uterus.

Cesium A radioactive isotope used for continuous internal radiotherapy.

Chemotherapy Treatment of (usually malignant) disease with chemicals or drugs, specifically those which are selectively toxic to the diseased cells.

Chest Tube Plastic tubing placed in the pleural space for drainage of pathologically accumulated fluid.

Cholangiitis Inflammation of the bile ducts.

Cholangiogram or Cholangiography Radiographic imaging of the bile ducts after the direct injection of radio-opaque dye.

Cholangiogram, Transduodenal Radiographic imaging of the bile ducts after the injection of radio-opaque dye from the exit of the common bile duct at the Ampulla of Vater.

Cholangitis Inflammation of the biliary tract.

Cholecystectomy, Open Surgical removal of the gallbladder by the traditional surgical approach with a full incision and direct vision.

Cholecystectomy Surgical removal of the gallbladder.

Cholecystitis Inflammation of the gallbladder.

Cholelithiasis Gallstones.

Cholecystolithiasis Gallstones in the gallbladder.

Choledochoplasty Repair of a bile-duct.

Cholestasis Interruption in the flow of bile.

Cholesteatoma a tumor-like mass of skin-like material and cholesterol in the middle ear, usually resulting from chronic otitis media, and resulting in an expanding cystic cavity that may involve the mastoid process and erode the surrounding bone.

Cholesterol One of the major types of blood produced by the liver, present in the blood, and deposited in the walls of arteries narrowed by atherosclerosis.

Cholesterolosis, of Gall-Bladder Appearance of gallbladder caused by the accumulation of cholesterol crystals in macrophages (type of White Blood Cell), of no known pathological significance.

Chondromalacia Patellae Pathological softening and thinning of the cartilage (gristle) lining the back of the kneecap.

Chordee Ventral (concave towards the undersurface) curvature of the penis, often accompanying hypospadias because of the shortness of the urethra.

Chord[a Tendina] One of the bands of fibrous tissue preventing excessive excursion or recoil of a heart-valve flap.

Chorio-amnionitis Infection of the membranes surrounding the fetus; at least a minor degree is physiological, and may be part of the mechanism of normal labour; more major degrees are pathological and may be a part of the syndrome of cervical incompetence.

Chorioamnionitis Inflammation of the membranes surrounding the fetus.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary (Lung) Disease Disease in which there is temporary or permanent narrowing of the smallest bronchial passages (bronchioles).

Chronic Inflammation Inflammation which is persistent and shows characteristic pathological (microscopic) features.

Circle of Willis A ring of arteries deep in the brain interconnecting the pairs of internal carotid arteries and vertebral arteries to supply the brain with oxygen-rich blood.

Cirrhosis Anatomical and functional destruction of the liver characterised by fibrosis (scarring) and repair, progressive liver failure and ultimately life-threatening complications (decompensation).

Claudication Pain due to inadequate blood supply during the increased demands of exercise, typically of the lower limbs as in this case.

Clavicle Collar-bone.

CliniStrip A proprietary

Clinodactyly Incurved fingers, usually the fifth.

Closed Reduction Restoration of as nearly as possible normal anatomical relationships of fracture fragments by manipulation through intact skin.

Cloxacillin An antibiotic of the Penicillin class previously effective against most Penicillin (G)-resistant bacteria.

Coagulation Clotting.

Coagulopathy Pathological abnormality of the blood-clotting mechanisms.

Cocci Round bacteria.

Colectomy, Subtotal Removal of part of the large bowel, typically ascending or descending colon.

Colectomy, total Removal of the whole of the large bowel - cecum, ascending, transverse, descending and sigmoid colon.

Colic Pertaining to the colon, or abdominal pain that comes in waves. 

Colitis, Nonspecific Inflammation of the large bowel, not yet fully categorised.

Colitis, Pseudomembranous Inflammation of the large bowel, characterised by pus and blood in the stool and usually caused by antibiotics.

Colitis Inflammation of the large bowel.

Collateral (Blood Supply) "Parallel" and alternative.

Coloboma, of Iris Cleft in the pupil of the eye.

Colon, Ascending The part of the large bowel between the cecum and right-angle hepatic flexure.

Colon The large bowel, extending from the cecum to the rectum, and anatomically bordering the abdomen.

Colonisation (Carriage) Appearance or presence of a micro-organism at locations in the body without causing disease or symptoms.

Colonoscopy Examination of the internal structure of the large bowel by means of a lighted, magnifying instrument passed through the anus.

Colonoscopy Visualisation of the colon with a flexible lighted instrument passed through the anus.

Colostomy Surgically formed opening of the large bowel on to the skin.

Colpo- Pertaining to the vagina.

Colposcopy Examination of the cervix and vagina by means of a illuminated, magnifying instrument (colposcope, a type of endoscope).

Colpotomy Surgical cutting into the vagina for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes.

Commensal An organism which derives benefit from a host organism without causing harm.

Commensal Organism which lives on the body of the host organism without causing harm.

Comminuted, of Fracture Consisting of more than two fragments.

Common Bile Duct The channel formed by the common hepatic and cystic ducts, carrying bile to mix with food in the duodenum, the first part of the small bowel.

Common Hepatic Duct The channel formed by the two hepatic ducts, which drain bile from the left and right sides of the liver.

Common Iliac Artery A paired artery arising from the termination of the abdominal aorta, and itself dividing in internal iliac artery, which supplies the organs of the pelvis, and the external iliac artery, which alone supplies the lower limb.

Compartment Syndrome A condition in which high pressure in a rigid osteofascial (bone-gristle) space reduces bloodsupply via the smallest vessels (capillaries) so that tissue viability is threatened.

Complete Blood Count Standard set of measurements of the white blood cells and red blood cells.

Complex Partial, of Seizures Recurrent localised neurological abnormalities accompanied by loss of consciousness.

Composite Replacement Surgical substitution of a prosthesis consisting of more than one component - in this case thoracic aorta and aortic valve.

Compression, of Nerve Root Interference with the functioning, as evidenced by clinical or electrophysiological testing.

Computed Tomography (C-T) The depiction of detailed internal anatomy by computer synthesis of multiple radiographic (xray) images taken from a series of angles.

Colonoscopy, Unenhanced The depiction of the detailed internal anatomy by computer synthesis of multiple radiographic (xray) images taken from a series of angles, without prior injection of a dye opaque to xrays.

Conductive (of Deafness) Resulting from derangement of the mechanical transmission of vibrations in the air to the sound-sensitive receptors in the inner ear.

Cone Biopsy Removal of a cone of lining membrane, particularly of the cervix for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes in the presence of pre- or early cancer.

Congenital "With birth", that is to say, a condition which is present from birth.

Congestion Overfilling of tissues with blood or serum.

Congestive Cardiac Failure Clinical syndrome arising from cardiac failure and comprising symptoms and signs of fluid accumulation in the veins of the body and/or lungs and the tissues they drain.

Conisation Removal of a cone of tissue including the lining of the cervix.

Connective Tissue Varieties of framework tissue supporting and underlying the skin and mucous membranes.

Conservative, of Therapy or Treatment Without surgery.

Consolidation Pathological solidification of normal fluid tissue, typically lung as a result of pneumonia.

Continuous Positive Airways Pressure Mechanical maintenance of increased positive pressure in the airways throughout the breathing cycle, for therapeutic purposes.

Continuous Cardiac Monitoring Electronic detection and display/recording of electric activity of the heart for diagnostic purposes.

Continuous Electronic Fetal Monitoring Electronic recording of the rate of the fetal heart, with or without tocography, the recording of contractions of the uterus during labour.

Continuous (Sutures) A running stitch.

Contrast Studies Radiographic investigation after introduction of a substance, opaque to xrays or other electromagnetic waves, into the body for the purpose of delineating internal anatomy for diagnostic purposes.

Cornea The transparent covering of the anterior chamber of the eye in front of the pupil and iris.

Coronary Reimplantation Surgical reconstruction of the origin of the arteries supplying oxygen-rich blood to the heart.

Coronary Artery Disease Pathological narrowing of the calibre of the arteries supplying oxygen-rich blood to the heart, usually because of atherosclerosis.

Coronary Angioplasty Reaming one or more of the main blood vessels carrying oxygen-rich blood to the muscle of the heart.

Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG) Surgical provision of nonessential veins grafted from elsewhere in the body (usually the saphenous vein) as alternative channels for blood-supply compromised by coronary artery disease.

Coronary Artery Disease Pathological narrowing of the calibre of the arteries supplying oxygen-rich blood to the heart, usually because of atherosclerosis.

Coronary Heart Disease Arteriosclerosis of the arteries supplying the heart.

Coronary Reimplantation Surgical reconstruction of the origin of the arteries supplying oxygen-rich blood to the heart, required in this case because of the prior removal of the ascending aorta.

Coronary Thrombosis Local blockage of a major artery supplying heart muscle.

Coronary Pertaining to the bloodvessels encircling and supplying heart muscle.

Corpus Uteri The body or main bulk of the uterus, excluding the cervix.

Corpus Callosum Bridge of nervous tissue between the two cerebral hemispheres of the brain.

Corpus Spongiosum Penis Spongy column on the undersurface of the penis, containing the urethra and enlarged as the glans penis.

Corpus Cavernosum Penis Paired column of erectile tissue forming the dorsum of the penis.

Corticosteroid A compound having biological activities of the hormone cortisone, which is produced by the adrenal cortex.

Cortisone A naturally occuring and synthetic steroid.

Costochondritis Inflammation of the cartilage (gristle) between a rib and the breast-bone.

Costophrenic Between, or pertaining to, the ribs and diaphragm.

CostoVertebral Angle (CVA) The region below the lower ribs and adjacent to the spinal column, overlying the kidney.

CostoVertebral Angle Tenderness Discomfort on jarring the area of the junction of the lower ribs with the spinal column, usually indicative of inflammation of the kidney.

Coumadin (Warfarin Sodium) A medication that reduces clotting of the blood by inhibiting the body's production of coagulation factors.

Coumadin An oral drug for preventing pathological clotting of blood in blood-vessels.

Craniotomy Surgically opening the skull for (diagnostic or) therapeutic purposes.

Cranium The (major) part of the skull which houses the brain.

Creatine (Phospho)Kinase Enzyme present in muscle and released from damaged muscle.

Creatinine A waste-product in the blood and urine, measurement of which provides a measure of kidney function.

Crohn's Disease A chronic inflammatory bowel disease of unknown cause and diagnosed by characteristic pathological changes.

Croupette A plastic tent for delivering and maintaining high humidity and/or oxygen for therapeutic purposes.

Cruciate Ligament, Posterior The hindmost of a pair of powerful fibrous straps attaching the upper end of the tibia (shin bone) to the lower end of the femur (thigh bone) and preventing excessive forward and aft movement of the knee joint.

Cryptorchidism Testicles which remain undescended or incompletely descended into the scrotum from their embryonic position in the abdomen.

Crystalloids Artificial blood substitutes used in an emergency for temporary restoration of blood pressure pending the cross-matching of blood for transfusion.

Cul-De-Sac The potential space between the back of the uterus and the front of the rectum, otherwise known as the Pouch of Douglas.

Culture Laboratory growth of micro-organisms for identification purposes.

Curettage, Aspiration or Suction Rather than cutting during Dilatation and Curettage, the uterine contents are removed by "vacuuming".

Curettage, Sharp/blunt Refers to nature of the cutting-edge of the curette during Dilatation and Curettage.

Curettage Tissue removal by a sharp instrument.

Curettings Tissue removed by a sharp instrument, in this case from the inner lining of the cervix.

Cutaneous Pertaining to the skin.

Cyanosis Blueness of skin (extremities = peripheral) without or with (= central) mucous membranes such as the lips and mouth, as a result of inadequate oxygenation.

Cyclosporine A substance produced by a particular fungus and effective in preventing rejection of transplanted organs and tissues.

Cyst An abnormal cavity with a membranous lining, containing gas, semisolid material or fluid.

Cystic Duct The channel joining the gallbladder to the common bile duct.

Cystectomy Surgical removal of a cyst or bladder.

Cystic Cyst-like.

Cystometrogram Measurement of the pressure changes in the urinary bladder in response to changes in volume of fluid contained.

Cystoscopy Viewing and operating in the urinary bladder using a lighted, magnifying instrument.

Cytomegalovirus A variety of virus harmful to the developing fetus and when immune competence is compromised.

Cytopathy Pathological change in cells.

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