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Glossary of Children's Hospital Terms


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TB or Tuberculosis: An infectious, inflammatory, reportable disease that is chronic in nature and commonly affects the lungs (pulmonary tuberculosis), although it may occur in almost any part of the body. The causative agent is Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

TPN or Total Parenteral Nutrition: A technique for meeting a patient's nutritional needs by means of intravenous feedings; it is sometimes called hyperalimentation, even though it does not provide excessive amounts of nutrients. TPN provides proteins, fats carbohydrates, water, electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals needed for the building of tissue, expenditure of energy, and healing.
TX: Shorthand abbreviation meaning treatment.
Tachycardia: Fast heart beat.
Tachypnea: Abnormally fast breathing.
Tactile: Having to do with touch.
Therapeutic: That part of medicine concerned specifically with the treatment of disease. The therapeutic dose of a drug is the amount needed to treat a disease.  Something that is therapeutic is good for the individual. It is often healthy. For example, a diet high in fiber is therapeutic.
Therapy: The treatment of disease. Therapy is synonymous with treatment.
Thrush: Yeast infection of the mouth and throat, characterized by patches of white, caused by the fungus candida albicans. Yeast is part of the normal flora in the mouth. They ordinarily do not cause symptoms. Certain conditions, such as antibiotic use, can disturb the natural balance of microorganisms in the mouth and allow the overgrowth of candida to cause thrush.
Tissue: A tissue in medicine is a broad term that is applied to any group of cells that perform specific functions such as skin.
Topical: A topical agent is applied to a certain area of the skin and is intended to affect only the area to which it is applied.
Trachea: The windpipe.
Tracheastomy: A hole cut into the windpipe with a tube inserted to help with breathing frequently by attaching a ventilator.  Usually placed if a patient will need a ventilator for a long time or has an injury to the face or neck that makes breathing difficult or there is obstruction of the upper airway.
Transfusion: A procedure that supplies the body with a specific types of blood cells (red blood cells or platelets) that are low in number.
Traction, orthopedic: The use of a system of weights and pulleys to gradually change the position of a bone. It may be used in cases of bone injury or congenital defect, to prevent scar tissue from building up in ways to limit movement, and to prevent contractures in disorders such as cerebral palsy or arthritis.
Trait: In genetics, a trait refers to any genetically determined characteristic such as eye and hair color.
Transfusion: The transfer of blood or blood products from one person (the donor) into another person (the recipient's) bloodstream. In most situations, this is done as a lifesaving maneuver to replace blood cells or blood products lost through severe bleeding. Transfusion of your own blood (autologous) is the safest method but requires planning ahead and not all patients are eligible. Directed donor blood allows the patient to receive blood from known donors. Volunteer donor blood is usually most readily available and, when properly tested has a lower incidence of adverse events.
Transillumination: The passing of a strong beam of light through a part of the body for medical inspection.
Transplant: The grafting of a tissue from one place to another. The transplant can be from one part of the body to anather (autologous transplantation), as in the case of a skin graft using the patient’s own skin; or from one patient to another (allogenic transplantation), as in the case of transplanting a donor kidney into a recipient.
Trauma: Any injury, whether physically or emotionally inflicted. Trauma has both a medical and a psychiatric definition. Medically, trauma refers to a serious or critical bodily injuries, wound, or shock.  Psychological trauma has assumed a different meaning and refers to an experience that is emotionally painful, distressful, or shocking, which often results in lasting mental and physical effects.
Tremor:  A tremor is an abnormal repetitive shaking movement of the body. Tremors have many causes and can be inherited, related to illnesses (such as thyroid disease), fever, being cold, drugs or fear.
Triage: The process of sorting patients based on their need for immediate medical treatment as compared to their chance of benefiting from such care. Triage is done in emergency rooms, disasters and wars when limited medical resources must be allocated to maximize the number of survivors.
Tube feed: The patient's feed is given through a tube in the nose or mouth directly into the stomach or small intestine.
Tumor: An abnormal mass of tissue. Tumors are a classic sign of inflammation, and can be benign or malignant (cancerous). There are dozens of different types of tumors. Their names usually reflect the kind of tissue they arise in, and may also tell you something about their shape or how they grow.
Tympanic membrane: the eardrum.