Glossary

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Abscess
A confined pocket of pus that collects in tissues, organs, or spaces inside the body.
Acetaminophen
A medication used to relieve pain and fever.
Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)
A medical condition occurring in critically ill patients characterized by widespread inflammation in the lungs.
Adenocarcinoma
A malignant tumor formed from glandular structures in epithelial tissue.
Adenoids
Tissues located high up in the pharynx, just behind the nose, that along with the tonsils, are part of the lymphatic system.
Adenovirus
Any of a family of viruses causing infections of the respiratory system, conjunctiva, and gastrointestinal tract.
Allergic rhinitis
Nasal symptoms caused by exposure to an allergen.
Alpha-1 antitrypsin
A protein that protects the lungs from damage caused by activated enzymes.
Alveoli
Small air sacs located in the lungs, where respiratory gases are exchanged with the pulmonary capillaries.
Amoxicillin
An antibiotic medication used in the treatment of various mild to moderate bacterial infections.
Antibody
A protein produced by the body in response to a foreign substance, such as bacteria or viruses.
Antihistamine
A medication that counteracts the effects of histamine in the body.
Arrhythmia
Improper beating of the heat, whether irregular, too fast, or too slow.
Arsenic
A naturally occurring element that is found in combination with either inorganic or organic substances to form many different compounds. Inorganic arsenic compounds are found in soils, sediments, and groundwater.
Asbestos
A heat-resistant fibrous silicate mineral that can be woven into fabrics, and is used in fire-resistant and insulating materials such as brake linings.
Asbestosis
A lung disease resulting from the inhalation of asbestos particles, marked by severe scarring and a high risk of mesothelioma.
Aspergillus
A genus consisting of a few hundred mold species found in various climates worldwide.
Aspirin
A medication used to relieve mild or chronic pain and to reduce fever and inflammation.
Asthma
A chronic lung disorder that is marked by recurring episodes of airway obstruction manifested by labored breathing accompanied especially by wheezing and coughing and by a sense of constriction in the chest.
Augmentin
An antibiotic medication used in the treatment of various mild to moderate bacterial infections.
Azithromycin
An antibiotic medication used in the treatment of various mild to moderate bacterial infections.
Bacteremia
The presence of bacteria in the blood.
Beryllium
A lightweight metal with unique mechanical and thermal properties that make it ideal for use in many applications and industries including defense, aerospace, telecommunications, automotive electronics, and medical specialties.
Beta carotene
One of a group of red, orange, and yellow pigments called carotenoids.
Biopsy
An examination of tissue removed from a living body to discover the presence, cause, or extent of a disease.
Bronchi (singular: bronchus)
Airways leading from the trachea into the lungs.
Bronchial tree
The bronchi together with their branches.
Bronchial tube
A primary bronchus or any of its branches.
Bronchiectasis
Abnormal widening of the bronchi or their branches, causing a risk of infection.
Bronchioles
A very small, thin-walled branch of a bronchus.
Bronchiolitis
Inflammation of the bronchioles.
Bronchitis
Acute or chronic inflammation of the bronchial tubes.
Bronchodilators
A medication taken by inhaler that causes widening of the bronchi.
Bronchoscopy
An endoscopic technique of visualizing the inside of the airways for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes.
Bullectomy
The surgical removal of a bulla, which is a dilated air space in the lung parenchyma measuring more than one centimeter.
Candida
A yeastlike, parasitic fungus that can sometimes cause thrush.
Capillaries
Very small, thin-walled vessels of the body; especially any of the smallest blood vessels connecting arterioles with venules and forming networks throughout the body.
Carbon dioxide
A heavy colorless gas that is formed especially in animal respiration and in the decay or combustion of animal and vegetable matter, and is absorbed from the air by plants in photosynthesis.
Carcinoma in situ
A group of abnormal cells that remain where they first formed and have not spread; these abnormal cells may become cancer and spread into nearby normal tissue.
Cellular respiration
Any of various energy-yielding oxidative reactions in living matter that typically involve transfer of oxygen and production of carbon dioxide and water as end products.
Chemotherapy
The treatment of disease by the use of chemical substances, especially the treatment of cancer by cytotoxic and other drugs.
Chlamydophila pneumoniae
A species of Chlamydophila, an obligate intracellular bacterium that infects humans and is a major cause of pneumonia.
Chromium
A hard white metal used in stainless steel and other alloys that in dust form can be hazardous to the eyes, skin, and lungs.
Chronic bronchitis
Inflammation and swelling of the lining of the airways, leading to narrowing and obstruction generally resulting in daily cough.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
Pulmonary disease (such as emphysema or chronic bronchitis) that is characterized by chronic, typically irreversible airway obstruction resulting in a slowed rate of exhalation.
Cilia
Small hairlike structures that line body passages and cavities which communicate directly or indirectly with the exterior.
Circulatory system
The system of blood, blood vessels, lymphatics, and heart concerned with the circulation of the blood and lymph.
Clarithromycin
An antibiotic medication used in the treatment of various mild to moderate bacterial infections.
Combined small cell carcinoma
A small cell carcinoma that is combined with a non-small cell carcinoma.
Computed tomography (CT) scan
An imaging study that makes use of computer-processed combinations of many x-ray measurements taken from different angles to produce cross-sectional (tomographic) images of internal organs and structures.
Conchae (turbinates)
Fingerlike projections inside the nasal cavity that increase the surface area for warming and moistening inhaled air.
Continuous positive air pressure (CPAP) machine
A machine that delivers just enough air pressure to a mask to keep the upper airway passages open, preventing snoring and sleep apnea.
Coronavirus
Any of a family of viruses that can infect birds and many mammals including humans, and include the causative agents of MERS and SARS.
Cryosurgery
Surgery using the local application of intense cold to destroy unwanted tissue.
Cryotherapy
The use of extreme cold in surgery or other medical treatment.
Cryptococcus neoformans
An encapsulated yeast and an obligate aerobe that can live in both plants and animals.
Cystic fibrosis
An inherited life-threatening disorder that damages the lungs and digestive system.
Cytomegalovirus
A common virus that affects people of all ages.
Decongestant
A medication that relieves nasal and sinus congestion.
Diaphragm
A body partition of muscle and connective tissue separating the chest and abdominal cavities in mammals.
Diphtheria
An acute contagious disease typically marked by the formation of a false membrane, especially in the throat, and caused by a gram-positive bacterium (Corynebacterium diphtheriae) that produces a toxin causing inflammation of the heart and nervous system.
Diuretic
A medication that increases the production of urine in order to rid the body of excess fluid.

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Electrocautery
A procedure using a needle or other instrument that is electrically heated to destroy tissue.
Electron microscope
A microscope with high magnification and resolution, employing electron beams in place of light and using electron lenses.
Emphysema
A condition in which the air sacs of the lungs are damaged and enlarged, causing breathlessness.
Empyema
The collection of pus in a cavity in the body, especially in the pleural cavity.
Encephalitis
Inflammation of the brain that is caused especially by infection with a virus or less commonly by bacterial or fungal infection or autoimmune reaction.
Endoscope
An thin, tube-like instrument with a light and camera on the end that can be introduced into the body to give a view of its internal parts.
Endoscopic stent placement
A medical procedure by which a stent, a hollow device designed to prevent constriction or collapse of a tubular organ, is inserted by endoscopy.
Endoscopy
A procedure in which an endoscope is used to visualize and treat internal organs.
Enterobacter
A genus of common gram-negative bacteria responsible for various infections, including bacteremia, lower respiratory tract infections, skin and soft-tissue infections, urinary tract infections, endocarditis, and others.
Epidemic
A widespread occurrence of an infectious disease in a community at a particular time.
Epidermoid carcinoma (squamous cell carcinoma)
Cancer caused by an uncontrolled growth of abnormal squamous cells.
Epiglottis
A thin plate of flexible cartilage in front of the glottis that folds back over and protects the glottis during swallowing.
Epithelium
A membranous cellular tissue that covers a free surface or lines a tube or cavity of an animal body and serves especially to enclose and protect the other parts of the body, to produce secretions and excretions, and to function in assimilation.
Epstein-Barr virus
A herpesvirus that causes infectious mononucleosis (mono) and is associated with Burkitt's lymphoma and nasopharyngeal carcinoma.
Escherichia coli (E. coli)
A gram-negative bacterium that is commonly found in the lower intestine of warm-blooded organisms.
Ethmoid
A light, spongy cubical bone forming much of the walls of the nasal cavity and part of those of the orbits.
External respiration
The exchange of gases between the alveoli of the lungs and the blood.
FEV1 (forced expiratory volume)
A measurement of the volume of air that can be forcefully exhaled in one second, used in the GOLD staging of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Flora
The microorganisms (as bacteria or fungi) naturally found living in or on the body.
Gastroenteritis
An intestinal infection marked by diarrhea, cramps, nausea, vomiting, and fever.
Gastroesophageal reflux
A digestive disease in which stomach acid or bile irritates the food pipe lining.
Gonorrhea
A sexually transmitted infection causing inflammation of the genital mucous membrane.
Hay fever
An allergic response causing itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, and other similar symptoms.
Heart failure
The inability of the heart to pump sufficient blood to the lungs and throughout the body.
Herpes simplex virus
A virus causing contagious sores, most often around the mouth or on the genitals.
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus)
A virus that harms the immune system by destroying the white blood cells that fight infection.
Human metapneumovirus
A virus that can cause upper and lower respiratory disease in people of all ages.
Hyaline cartilage
Translucent, bluish-white cartilage present in joints and respiratory passages and forming most of the fetal skeleton.
Hypersensitivity pneumonitis
A complex condition that is the result of an immunologically induced inflammation of the lung parenchyma in response to inhalation exposure to a large variety of antigens.
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF)
A type of lung disease that results in scarring of the lungs for an unknown reason.
Immunohistochemistry
A diagnostic test that uses monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies for the detection of specific antigens in tissue sections.
Immunotherapy
Treatment or prevention of disease (such as an autoimmune disorder, allergy, or cancer) that involves the stimulation, enhancement, suppression, or desensitization of the immune system.
Influenza
An acute, highly contagious, respiratory disease caused by an influenza virus.
Intercostal muscle
Any of the short muscles that extend between the ribs filling in most of the intervals between them and serving to move the ribs in respiration.
Intercostal retractions
Movement of the muscles between the ribs pulling inward.
Internal respiration
An exchange of gases between the cells of the body and the blood by way of the fluid bathing the cells.
Interstitial lung disease (ILD)
A group of lung diseases affecting the interstitium.
Interstitial pneumonia
A form of lung disease characterized by progressive scarring of both lungs.
Interstitium
The tissue and space around the air sacs of the lungs.
Intestines
The lower part of the digestive tract from the end of the stomach to the anus.
Intradermal
Situated, occurring, or done within or between the layers of the skin.
Ipratropium
A bronchodilator used especially in the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and as a nasal spray in the treatment of runny nose associated with rhinitis.

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Kidney
Each of a pair of organs in the abdominal cavity that filter blood and produce urine.
Kidney failure
The inability of the kidneys to filter waste products from the blood.
Klebsiella
A gram-negative bacterium that can cause various infections, including pneumonia, urinary tract infections, septicemia, meningitis, diarrhea, and soft-tissue infections.
Large cell carcinoma
Lung cancer in which the cells are large and look abnormal when viewed under a microscope.
Laryngitis
Inflammation of the larynx.
Larynx (voice box)
The upper part of the trachea that contains the vocal cords.
Laser therapy
The use of lasers in surgery and other medical or cosmetic treatment.
Legionella pneumophila
A gram-negative bacterium that causes respiratory disease, including a serious type of pneumonia called Legionnaires' disease.
Leukotriene
One of a group of chemicals released as part of the body's inflammatory immune response to an allergen.
Liver
A large lobed glandular organ in the abdomen involved in many metabolic processes.
Lobectomy
Surgical removal of a lobe of an organ such as the thyroid gland, lung, or liver.
Lower respiratory tract
The part of the respiratory system including the trachea, bronchi, and lungs.
Lung cancer
Cancer of a highly malignant form that affects the lungs and tends to metastasize to other parts of the body.
Lymph node
Any of the rounded masses of lymphoid tissue that are surrounded by a capsule of connective tissue, are distributed along the lymphatic vessels, and contain numerous lymphocytes which filter the flow of lymph passing through the node.
Lymphatic system
Part of the circulatory system and an important part of the immune system, comprising a network of lymphatic vessels that carry a clear fluid called lymph directionally towards the heart.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
A form of medical imaging that uses high frequency radio waves and a strong magnetic field to produce images of the internal organs.
Malaise
An indefinite feeling of debility or lack of health, often indicative of or accompanying the onset of an illness.
Malignant
Cancer that tends to invade and destroy nearby tissue and possibly spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body.
Maxilla
The bone of the upper jaw that forms part of the nose and eye socket.
Measles
An acute contagious disease that is marked especially by an eruption of distinct red circular spots.
Mediastinoscopy
A procedure that enables visualization of the contents of the area between the lungs, usually for the purpose of obtaining a biopsy.
Meningitis
Inflammation of the meninges that is either a relatively mild illness caused by a virus or a more severe, usually life-threatening illness caused by a bacterium.
Mesothelioma
A cancer of the tissue that lines several body cavities, associated especially with exposure to asbestos.
Microbe
Microorganism, germ.
Monoclonal antibody
An antibody produced by a single clone of cells or cell line and consisting of identical antibody molecules.
Mucous membrane
A membrane that lines body passages and cavities which communicate directly or indirectly with the exterior.
Mycoplasma pneumoniae
A very small bacterium that causes the disease mycoplasma pneumonia, a form of atypical bacterial pneumonia.
Myocarditis
Inflammation of the heart.
Nasal cavity
The vaulted chamber that lies between the floor of the cranium and the roof of the mouth and extending from the external nares (nostrils) to the pharynx (throat).
Nasopharyngitis
Inflammation of the nose and pharynx.
Nickel
A silvery-white metal that can be hazardous to the nasal cavities, lungs, and skin.
Non-small cell lung cancer
The most common type of lung cancer.
Nonspecific interstitial pneumonitis
A form of interstitial lung disease associated with autoimmune conditions.
Oat cell cancer
A type of small cell carcinoma.
Osteoporosis
A condition in which bones become porous, weak, and brittle.
Oxygen
A chemical that is found in the air, that has no color, taste, or smell, and that is necessary for life.
Oxygen therapy
A treatment that delivers oxygen gas for the patient to breathe.

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Palliative therapy
Treatment given to relieve the symptoms and reduce the suffering caused by cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
Pancreas
A large gland behind the stomach that secretes digestive enzymes into the small intestine.
Parainfluenza
A respiratory illness caused by a parainfluenza virus.
Paranasal sinus
Any of various sinuses in the bones of the face and head that are lined with mucous membrane derived from and continuous with the lining of the nasal cavity.
Perennial
Lasting or existing for a long or apparently infinite time.
Pericarditis
Inflammation of the pericardium.
Pertussis (whooping cough)
An infectious respiratory disease, especially of children, caused by a bacterium and marked by a convulsive, spasmodic cough, sometimes followed by a crowing intake of breath.
Pharynx
The throat.
Photodynamic therapy
A form of phototherapy involving light and a photosensitizing chemical substance, used in conjunction with molecular oxygen to elicit cell death.
Pleura
The delicate, double-layered membrane that surrounds the lungs.
Pleural fluid
The fluid that is found between the layers of the pleura, the membranes of which surround the lungs.
Pleurisy
Inflammation of the tissues that line the lungs and chest cavity.
Pneumococcal vaccine
Vaccines against the bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae. Their use can prevent some cases of pneumonia, meningitis, and sepsis.
Pneumocystis jirovecii
A cause of life-threatening pneumonia in immunocompromised patients.
Pneumonectomy
Surgical removal of a lung or part of a lung.
Pneumonia
An acute disease that is marked by inflammation of lung tissue, most commonly caused by bacterial infection.
Pneumothorax
A collapsed lung.
Pollen
A mass of microspores in a seed plant appearing usually as a fine dust.
Polyp
An abnormal growth of tissue in a mucous membrane.
Proteus
A bacterium found in the intestines of animals and in the soil.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa
A common bacterium that can cause disease in plants and animals, including humans.
Pulmonary artery
The artery carrying blood from the right ventricle of the heart to the lungs for oxygenation.
Pulmonary edema
A condition caused by excess fluid in the lungs.
Pulmonary embolism
A blockage in one of the pulmonary arteries in the lungs.
Pulmonary hypertension
A type of high blood pressure that affects the arteries in the lungs and the right side of the heart.
Pulmonary rehabilitation
Part of the clinical management and health maintenance of those patients with chronic respiratory disease who remain symptomatic or continue to have decreased function despite standard medical treatment.
Pulse oximetry
A noninvasive method for monitoring oxygen levels in the blood.
Radiation therapy
The treatment of disease, especially cancer, using x-rays or similar forms of radiation to destroy cancer cells.
Radon
A naturally occurring radioactive gas that can cause lung cancer.
Respiration
The movement of air or dissolved gases into and out of the lungs.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
A virus that is responsible for severe respiratory diseases in children and especially in infants.
Respiratory system (respiratory tract)
A system of organs consisting of the nose, nasal passages, pharynx, larynx, trachea, bronchi, and lungs.
Rheumatic fever
An acute disease that occurs chiefly in children and young adults and is characterized by fever, by inflammation and pain in and around the joints, and by inflammatory involvement of the pericardium and heart valves.
Rhinitis
Inflammation of the mucous membrane of the nose.
Rhinoscopy
Examination of the nasal passages using a thin, tube-like instrument called a rhinoscope.
Rhinovirus
The most common viral infectious agent in humans and the predominant cause of the common cold.
Rubella
German measles.
Rubeola
Measles.
Saline
Containing salt.
Sarcoidosis
A chronic disease of unknown cause characterized by the enlargement of lymph nodes in many parts of the body and the widespread appearance of granulomas derived from the reticuloendothelial system.
Scarlet fever
An acute contagious disease caused by Group A streptococci and characterized by inflammation of the nose, throat, and mouth, generalized toxemia, and a red rash.
Segmental resection
A surgical procedure to remove a tumor in the lung and normal tissue around it.
Sepsis
The presence in tissues of harmful bacteria and their toxins, typically through infection of a wound.
Septum
A partition separating the nostrils.
Sinus
A cavity within a bone or other tissue, especially one in the bones of the face or skull connecting with the nasal cavities.
Sinusitis
Inflammation of a sinus of the skull.
Sleep apnea
Brief periods of recurrent cessation of breathing during sleep that is caused especially by obstruction of the airway or a disturbance in the brain's respiratory center and is associated especially with excessive daytime sleepiness.
Sleeve resection
Surgery to remove a lung tumor in a lobe of the lung and a part of the main bronchus (airway).
Small cell carcinoma
A fast-growing type of lung cancer commonly caused by smoking.
Sphenoid
A compound bone that forms the base of the cranium, behind the eye and below the front part of the brain.
Spirometer
An instrument for measuring the air capacity of the lungs.
Spirometry
The most common of the pulmonary function tests that measures lung function by calculating the speed of respiration and exhalation.
Sporothrix
A type of soil-dwelling fungus.
Sputum
A thick fluid produced in the lungs and in the adjacent airways.
Sputum cytology
Examination under a microscope of cells found in sputum to check for abnormal cells, such as cancer cells.
Sputum test
A test to detect and identify bacteria or fungi that infect the lungs or breathing passages.
Squamous cell carcinoma (epidermoid carcinoma)
Cancer caused by an uncontrolled growth of abnormal squamous cells.
Stereotactic body radiation therapy
A treatment procedure in which special equipment is used to place the patient in the same position for each radiation therapy.
Stereotactic radiosurgery
A non-surgical radiation therapy used to treat functional abnormalities and small tumors of the brain.
Streptococcus pneumoniae
Bacteria that can cause pneumococcal infections.
Targeted therapy
A type of treatment for cancer in which specific cancer cells are targeted.
Thoracentesis
Removal of fluid from the space between the lungs and the chest wall (the pleural cavity) for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes using a needle inserted between the ribs.
Thoracoscopy
A medical procedure involving internal examination, biopsy, and/or resection of disease or masses within the pleural cavity and thoracic cavity.
Tonsil
Either of a pair of prominent masses of lymphoid tissue that lie one on each side of the throat.
Trachea
The main trunk of the system of tubes by which air passes to and from the lungs.
Turbinates (conchae)
Fingerlike projections inside the nasal cavity that increase the surface area for warming and moistening inhaled air.
Type 2 diabetes
A long-term metabolic disorder that is characterized by high blood glucose, insulin resistance, and relative lack of insulin.
Typhoid fever
A contagious disease marked especially by fever, diarrhea, prostration, headache, and intestinal inflammation and caused by a bacterium.
Tyrosine kinase inhibitor
A type of targeted therapy that inhibits enzymes responsible for the activation of many proteins.
Upper respiratory tract
The part of the respiratory system including the mouth, the nose, nasal cavities, paranasal sinuses, pharynx, and larynx.
Voice box (larynx)
The upper part of the trachea that contains the vocal cords.
Wedge resection
A surgical procedure to remove a triangle-shaped slice of tissue.
Whooping cough (pertussis)
An infectious respiratory disease, especially of children, caused by a bacterium and marked by a convulsive, spasmodic cough, sometimes followed by a crowing intake of breath.