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Appendix D

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Acanthosis nigricans:

Increased thickness and hyperpigmentation of the outer cell layers of the skin; typically observed at areas of flexure.

Acaricide:

A chemical that kills mites and ticks.

Acetaldehyde:

Metabolic by-product of alcohol; hepatotoxic.

Acetylcholine:

Neurotransmitter responsible for transmitting messages between certain nerve cells in the brain.

Achalasia:

Disorder in which the esophageal sphincter is impaired, preventing normal swallowing and often causing reflux of contents and a feeling that something is caught in the throat.

Achlorhydria:

Absence of free hydrochloric acid in the stomach.

Acidemia:

An increase in the hydrogen ion concentration of the blood or a fall below normal in pH.

Acidosis:

Any pathologic state that leads to acidemia.

Acinar cells:

Exocrine glands of the pancreas that secrete digestive enzymes.

Acromegaly:

A pathologic condition characterized by excessive production of growth hormone during adulthood after epiphyseal (long bone) fusions have completed.

Action potential:

A rapid change in the polarity of the voltage of a cell membrane from negative to positive and back to negative; a wave of electrical discharge that travels across a cell membrane.

Acute coronary syndromes:

Ischemic chest discomfort at rest most often accompanied by ST-segment elevation, ST-segment depression, or T-wave inversion on the 12-lead electrocardiogram; further, it is caused by plaque rupture and partial or complete occlusion of the coronary artery by thrombus. Acute coronary syndromes include myocardial infarction and unstable angina. Former terms used to describe types of acute coronary syndromes include Q-wave myocardial infarction, non–Q-wave myocardial infarction, and unstable angina.

Acute disorder:

An acid-base disturbance that has been present for minutes to hours.

Acute kidney injury:

Spectrum of acute changes in kidney function ranging from minor changes to those requiring renal replacement therapy.

Acute otitis media:

Inflammation of the middle ear accompanied by fluid in the middle ear space and signs or symptoms of an acute ear infection.

Acute tubular necrosis:

Form of acute kidney injury that results from toxic or ischemic injury to the cells in the proximal tubule of the kidney.

Adenoma:

A nonmalignant tumor of the epithelial tissue that is characterized by glandular structures.

Adenomatous polyposis coli gene:

A tumor suppressor gene (see definition) that is one of the first genes mutated in the development of colon cancer. Patients with familial adenomatous polyposis are born with this gene mutated.

Adjuvant chemotherapy:

Treatment given after the primary treatment that is designed to eliminate any remaining cancer cells that are undetectable with the goal of improving survival. Adjuvant therapy for cancer usually refers to surgery followed by chemotherapy or radiation.

Adjuvant therapy:

Treatment which follows the primary modality with the intent of reducing the risk of disease relapse and prolonging survival. The ultimate goal is to cure patients who would not otherwise be cured by the primary modality alone.

Adnexal:

Adjacent or appending as the fallopian tubes and ovaries are to the uterus.

Adrenalectomy:

Surgical removal of an adrenal gland.

Adrenocorticotropic hormone:

A hormone secreted by the anterior pituitary that controls secretion of cortisol from the adrenal glands. Also referred to as ...

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