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measurement of the circumference of the abdomen, taken at the same place with each measurement.

abdominal girth


effusion and accumulation of serous fluid in the abdominal cavity



entry of gastric contents into the tracheobronchial passages.



study consists of a series of xrays that visualize the colon. It is used to demonstrate the presence and location of polyps, tumors, and diverticula.

barium enema (BE)


removal and microscopic examination of tissue, performed to establish precise diagnosis.



examination of the tracheobronchial tree through a lighted tube containing mirrors. It can obtain sputum, foreign bodies, and biopsy specimens



substance contained within 4 ventricles of the brain, the subarachnoid space, and the central canal of the spinal cord.

cerebrospinal fluid


examination of mucosal lining in the colon by using a scope. Requires cleansing of the clients large intestine, clear liquids the evening before, and NPO after midnight. Client usually sedated with IV meds and is placed in a state of twilight sleep.



xray film examination of the body from many angles. Uses a scanner analyzed by a computer.

computed tomography (CT)


insertion of a rigid or flexible scope into the urethra for visualization and instrumentation of the lower urinary tract. The procedure is often performed in urological offices with local anesthesia. The bladder is distended with water while the patient is supine or in the lithotomy position. After the examination the patient is observed for the common complications of local urethral trauma and signs of urinary infection.



the study of cells



graphic representation of the electrical activities or conduction system of the heart.

electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG)


graphic reading of the electrical activity of the brain. electrodes are placed on the scalp overlying multiple areas of the brain to detect and record electrical impulses within the brain. Can evaluate epileptic states, tumors, trauma, drug intoxication and also to determine cerebral death in comatose patients.

electroencephalogram (EEG)


test is used to monitor the electrical activity of a skeletal muscle. electrical activity is displayed on an oscilloscope as an electrical waveform. Used to detect primary muscular disorders as well as muscular abnormalities caused by other system diseases.

electromyography (EMG)


illuminated optic instrument for the visualization of the interior of a body cavity or organ



with the use of a fiberoptic endoscope this provides radiographic visualization of the bile and pancreatic ducts

endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)


test is used to visualize the lumen of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. It enables direct visualization of the upper GI tract by means of a long, flexible, fiberoptic-lighted scope. The lumen of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum are examined for tumors, varices, mucosal inflammations, hiatal hernias, polyps, ulcers, and obstructions.

esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD)


the act of abstaining from food for a specific period of time

fasting state


technical process by which an internal organ or cavity can be viewed, using glass or plastic fibers to transmit light through a specially designed tube and reflect a magnified image



visual examination of a part of the body or the function of an organ with a scope. the technique offers continuous imaging of the motion of internal structures and immediate serial images



protrusion of a body organ or portion of an organ through an abnormal opening in a membrane, muscle, or other tissue



degree of pressure within the abdominal cavity

intraabdominal pressure


pressure that occurs within the cranium

intracranial pressure (ICP)


radiographic technique for examining the structure and function of the urinary system. contrast medium is injected by IV, and serial xray films are taken as the medium is cleared from the blood by the kidneys. The renal calyces, renal pelvis, ureters, and urinary bladder are all visible on the radiographs

intravenous pyelogram (IVP)


diagnostic procedure in which a special needle is introduced into the liver under local anesthesia to obtain a specimen for pathological examination

liver biopsy


diagnostic or therapeutic procedure in which a hollow needle and stylet are introduced into the subarachnoid space of the lumbar part of the spinal cord to obtain cerebrospinal fluid. Strict aseptic technique is used.

lumbar puncture (LP)


medical imaging based on the resonance of atomic nuclei in a strong magnetic field. it is the method of choice for a growing number of disease processes. among its advantages are its superior soft tissue contrast resolution ability to image in multiple planes and lack of ionizing radiation hazards. It is regarded as superior to CT for most central nervous system abnormalities, particularly those of the posterior fossa, brainstem, and spinal cord. It has become an important tool in musculoskeletal and pelvic imaging.

magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)


device for measuring the pressure of a fluid, consisting of a tube marked with a scale and containing a relatively incompressible fluid, such as mercury. The level of fluid in the tube varies with the pressure of the fluid being measured.



amount of pressure measured in a manometer after insertion of a spinal needle into the subarachnoid space

opening pressure


procedure in which fluid is withdrawn from a body cavity. incision is made in the skin, and a hollow trocar, cannula, or catheter is passed through the incision into the cavity to allow outflow of fluid into a collecting device. It is most commonly performed to remove excessive accumulations of ascitic fluid from the abdomen. Strict asepsis is followed. The patient needs to empty bladder before procedure to decrease the risk of bladder trauma.