THE LAYMAN'S GUIDE TO EMERGENCY! TERMS AND PROCEDURES
For those of us who love the show but didn't choose the medical
profession...all 3 of us...
Please note: These terms are for
entertainment purposes ONLY.
While I tried to make them as accurate as possible, they should not be taken as authority.
Abrasion -- scrape
A.C.E.P. -- American College of Emergency Physicians
Adrenaline -- powerful stimulant to heart and
lungs. Used in cardiac arrest, asthma, and anaphylaxis.
Amp/Ampule -- a little glass bottle with a slim breakaway neck containing
a single dose of an injectable drug. They vary in size from 0.5 ml to 20 ml.
Anaphylaxis/Anaphylatic Shock -- severe allergic reaction with swelling
of airways and shock.
Aspirate -- to inhale. Aspiration of vomit or blood is a common problem. Can
also mean drawing something into a syringe.
Asystole -- no cardiac activity at all
Atropine- atropine sulfate. Used to increase heart rate in conditions of
B.P. -- see Blood Pressure
Babinski Reflex -- a reflex movement of the foot in
which, when the sole is tickled, the great toe [your big toe] turns upward, indicative of
organic lesion [damage] of the brain or spinal cord. Positive would be a sign of
compromise of brain function, except in infants.
Bicarb -- see Sodium Bicarb/Sodium
Bilateral Ronchi see Ronchi/Bilaterial
Blood Pressure -- is written as systolic/diastolic ex:
140/80. You normally get a blood pressure reading with a blood pressure cuff and a
stethoscope, but you can also "palpate" a blood pressure by using a blood
pressure cuff and checking pulse instead of using a stethoscope. When you palpate a blood
pressure you only get a systolic reading.
Bolus -- A bolus is a single, often large dose of medication (for example,
lidocaine bolus, which is often followed by a lidocaine infusion.
Bradycardia -- a slow heart rate (usually 30-50 beats per minute)
Burns see First Degree Burns,
Second Degree Burns, and Third Degree Burns
Cardiac Arrest -- life-threatening condition
where the heart has stopped beating.
Code I -- fireman injured
Code F -- fatality
Contusion -- bruise
Cyanotic/Cyanosis -- bluish coloring from lack of oxygen
D5W --5% sugar in distilled water. Standard drip started for heart attacks
and other non-bleeding conditions, mostly to secure a route for other medications that may
become needed. See T.K.O.
Defibrillate -- see Ventricular
Diaphoretic -- sweaty and clammy skin. Sign of shock or cardiac or respiratory
ECG see Electrocardiogram
EEG -- see Electroencelphalogram
EKG-- see Electrocardiogram
Edema swelling (see also Papilledema)
Electrocardiogram shows heart function as
different "waves". P waves from the atria, QRS waves
(complexes) for the ventricles contracting, and T waves from the ventricles
relaxing. (The German spelling of this word, in which we got the "K" part
of the word, was elektrokardiogram. Since the ECG was invented in Germany, it followed the
German pronunciation until the early 80's.)
Electroencelpalogram shows brain function
Endotracheal intubation -- see Intubate/Endotrachael
F.A.C.S -- Fellow, American College of Surgeons
First degree burns -- involve only the upper
layers of the epidermis and dermis. Presents as painful redness and some swelling.
Full Arrest -- see Cardiac
Hematoma -- collection of blood under the skin.
Hiatal Hernia -- "really bad indigestion" J
A condition where the top loop of the esophagus goes back up above the abdominal wall
muscle, then back down again, thus "strangulating" the esophagus.
I.C. -- see Intracardiac
I.M. -- see Intramuscular
I.V. -- see Intravenously
Incision -- see Laceration
Intracardiac -- into the heart. Literally, a 3-inch-long
needle that they find their landmarks on the ribcage and plunge that sucker straight into
the pericardial sac surrounding the heart. *OUCH!*
Intramuscular/Intramuscularly -- into the muscle
Intraveinous/Intraveinously -- into the vein
Intubate/Endotracheal Intubation -- placing a breathing tube
into the trachea to prevent aspiration and provide
a secure airway in unconscious patients.
Laceration -- a cut. Cuts are normally lacerations, but
are sometimes called incisions if cut with an extremely sharp object & cut is straight
Lead II -- click
here for illustration. The total voltage being read by a cardiac monitor,
with surface electrodes, is only one millivolt total (the "QRS complex").
One of 12 available EKG leads, each looking at a different part of the heart. Lead
II is preferred for emergency use since it is easy to apply and gives a good overview of
Lidocaine -- anesthetic. It is frequently used to treat
life-threatening ventricular dysrhythmia
M.I. -- Myocardial infarction (heart attack)
M.S. -- morphine sulphate or just morphine.
Negative Babinsky -- see Babinsky
O2 -- see Oxygen
Oxygen -- is referred to as O2 because that is how oxygen
atoms bind together to make oxygen molecules. Liters of O2- refers to liters per minute of
oxygen flow. The flow rate and the delivery device (type of mask or nasal cannula)
determine the oxygen percentage delivered to the patient.
P waves -- see Electrocardiogram
Palpate -- see Blood Pressure
Papilledema swelling of the optic nerve.
QRS waves -- see Electrocardiogram
Rales -- abnormal "crackling" lung sounds heard with a stethoscope,
usually signalling a serious complication to a heart attack.
Ringers Lactate -- a saline solution designed to replace lost body fluid.
Standard drip after bleeding or other trauma.
Ronchi/Bilateral Ronchi abnormal "buzzing"
lung sound (bilateral meaning both sides). Often heard with a stethoscope during
S.C.U. Tones - SCU stands for Station Control
Unit and that is what is in the fire stations that receives the tones, turns on the
station lights and activates the station speaker to hear the dispatcher's voice.
Second Degree Burn -- penetrates slightly deeper
than first degree burns and produces blisters.
Shock -- lack of circulating blood. Can be caused by a lack of
pumping action from the heart, or from a lack of blood that can be bled out or pooled up
in useless places inside the body. The lack of circulating blood leads to a
starvation on the cell level, and also to a buildup of waste products in the body.
This in turn leads to vital organs failing and eventually to death.
Sinus Rhythm -- normal heart rhythm
Sinus Tachycardia -- abnormally fast heartbeat, generally defined as a heartrate of
100 or more beats per minute. Sinus tach is when you go out and exercise like heck to get
your heart rate up above 100 beats per minute, up to a rate of about 160 beats per minute.
And, yes, maximum effort will produce a heart rate that fast in folks under the age of 40.
The ECG of a person in Sinus Tach will look almost exactly the same as someone who is at
rest, just that the waveforms are compressed together.
Sodium Bicarb/Sodium Bicarbonate -- ampules of sodium
bicarbonate are mixed with water and injected into the bloodstream. Used in severe
shock or circulatory collapse.
Subcutaneous -- the area just beneath the skin.
Systolic -- see Blood Pressure
T.A. -- traffic accident
T waves -- see Electrocardiogram
T.K.O. -- To Keep Open. Refers to drip rate of IV. Means just
enough fluids going to keep IV site from clotting. Can be a flow rate of as low as 5 to 10
ML of solution an hour. This is done to have a rapid access for any drugs
needed later. (And I always thought it was some kind of drug J
Third degree burns -- penetrates the entire
dermis. Presents as broken skin.
Trachea -- windpipe
V. Fib -- see Ventricular
V. Tach -- see Ventricular
Ventricular Fibrillation -- heart not
beating, just moving without coordination. Causes total collapse of blood circulation, and
death within minutes if not treated. Treated with lidocaine & adrenaline. Sometimes an electrical shock
can defibrillate the heart. All that a defibrillator does is to tell the entire
heart muscle to all squeeze down at once. Then, in most, but not all cases, one of two
natural pacemakers can take over and get the heart pumping in a rhythmic order
again. Can be caused by disease or a shock of AC (household) current.
Ventricular Tachycardia -- abnormally fast
heart beat. V. Tach is where the ventricles have lost touch with the built-in pacemaker of
the heart, which is correctly labeled the Sino-Atrial Node, or S-A Node. An ECG would show broad QRS complexes ("spikes" that would not go
above the middle of the screen/recording strip for a typical Lead II configuration). It is
a dangerous rhythm since it may change into ventricular fibrillation with
complete collapse of circulation if left untreated.
Zetron - the machine or box that generates the "SCU Tones"
Special thanks to Kent, Ray, & Jesper for their