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Glossary of Children's Hospital Terms

 

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ECG/EKG or Electrocardiogram: A graphic picture of the heart rhythm obtained by using a machine that records electrical measurements of the heart's impulses through patches placed on the chest.

 
ECHO or Echocardiogram: A type of ultrasound test in which sound waves are sent through a device called a transducer and are reflected off the structures of the heart.  These “echoes” are converted into pictures that can be seen on a video monitor.
 
ED/ER or Emergency Department (Room): The department of a hospital responsible for providing emergency medical or surgical care.
 
EEG or Electroencephalogram: a technique for studying the electrical current within the brain. Electrode wires are attached to the scalp and connected to a machine that records the electrical impulses either to paper or a computer screen.
 
ET tube or Endotracheal Tube: A tube inserted through the nose or mouth into the windpipe (trachea) to maintain an open airway and permit removal of secretions. This tube is usually connected to a ventilator.
 
Ecchymosis: The skin discoloration (bruise) caused by the escape of blood into the tissues from ruptured blood vessels. Ecchymoses can similarly occur in mucous membranes as, for example, in the intestine or mouth.
 
E. Coli: Short for escherichia coli, a bacterium that normally resides in the human colon.  Most strains of E coli are quite harmless. However, some strains of E. coli are capable of causing very serious disease or deadly conditions.
 
Edema: The swelling of soft tissues as a result of excess fluid accumulation.
 
Embolism: The obstruction of a blood vessel by a foreign substance or a blood clot blocking the vessel. Those traveling and lodging in the brain cause strokes; if it lodges in the heart, it would cause a heart attack.
 
Emesis: Vomiting, throwing-up.
 
Encephalitis: Inflammation of the brain caused by an infection. Treatment must begin as early as possible to attempt to avoid potentially serious and life-long effects.   Depending on the cause of the inflammation, this may include antibiotics, anti-viral medications, and anti-inflammatory drugs. If brain damage results from encephalitis, therapy (such as physical therapy) may help patients regain lost functions.
 
Endocarditis: An infection of the lining of the heart.
 
Endoscopy: Endoscopy is the examination of the inside of the body using a lighted, flexible instrument called an endoscope. In general, an endoscope is placed into the body through a natural opening like the mouth or anus.   The most common endoscopic procedures evaluate the esophagus (swallowing tube), stomach, and portions of the intestine, colon, or airway (bronchoscopy).
 
Epilepsy (seizure disorder): When nerve cells in the brain fire electrical impulses at a rate higher than normal, this causes a sort of electrical storm in the brain, known as a seizure. A pattern of repeated seizures is often referred to as epilepsy. Known causes include head injuries, brain tumors, lead poisoning, abnormalities of the brain, genetic and infectious illnesses (like encephalitis and meningitis). But in fully half of cases, no cause can be found. Medication controls seizures for the vast majority of patients.
 
Erythema: A redness of the skin resulting from inflammation, for example sunburn.
 
Erythrocytes: Red blood cells.
 
Etiology: The study of causes.  The word "etiology" is mainly used in medicine, where science tries to determine the cause or origin of disease and the factors which produce it.  Today in medicine one hears (or reads) that "the etiology is unknown." Translation - we don't know the cause.
 
Exanthema:  Rash caused by bacteria, virus, or illness.
 
Extubate: To remove a tube from a hollow organ or passageway, often from the airway. The opposite of extubate is intubate (to put in a breathing tube).