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Glossary of Children's Hospital Terms


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UA or Urinalysis: A test that determines the content of the urine. Because urine removes toxins and excess liquids from the body, it can contain important clues. Urinalysis can be used to detect some types of disease, particularly in the case of bladder or kidney infections, metabolic disorders, and kidney disease. It can also be used to uncover evidence of drug use.
URI or Upper Respiratory Infection: An infection often caused by a virus of the upper part of the breathing system including the nose, throat and upper portion of the breathing tubes of the lungs.
UTI or Urinary Tract Infection: A bacterial infection of the urinary tract, most often caused by the bacterium E. coli. They are more common in women than in men. They usually affect the bladder (cystitis), but can also affect the kidneys (pyelonephritis).  Symptoms of a bladder infection usually begin with frequent urination, an urgent need to urinate, and pain with urination (dysuria). Symptoms may also include fever, cloudy urine, foul smelling urine, or blood in the urine (hematuria). If the infection affects the kidneys, symptoms will usually also include high fever, chills, back pain on the side of the affected kidney, nausea, and vomiting.
Upper gastrointestinal series: The upper gastrointestinal (GI) series examines the upper and middle portions of the GI tract. The person being tested swallows a "shake" of barium and water (barium contrast material) followed by gas-producing crystals. The doctor then tracks the progress of the barium through the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine using fluoroscopy connected to a video monitor. Several X-ray pictures are usually taken at different times and from different directions.
Ulcer: An area of tissue erosion, for example, of the skin or lining of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Due to the erosion, an ulcer is concave. It is always depressed below the level of the surrounding tissue. Ulcers can have diverse causes. Ulcers on the skin are often due to irritation, as with bedsores, and they may become infected and inflamed as they grow.
Ultrasound: High-frequency sound waves. Ultrasound waves can be bounced off of tissues using special devices. The echoes are then converted into a picture called a sonogram. Ultrasound imaging, referred to as ultrasonography, allows physicians and patients to get an inside view of soft tissues and body cavities, without using invasive techniques. Ultrasound is often used to examine a fetus during pregnancy.
Unconscious:  Interruption of awareness of oneself and one’s surroundings, lack of the ability to notice or respond to stimuli in the environment. A person may become unconscious due to oxygen deprivation, shock, central nervous system depressants such as alcohol and drugs, or injury.   In psychology, that part of thought and emotion that happens outside everyday awareness.
Urticaria: Another name for the hives. Raised, itchy areas of skin that are usually a sign of an allergic reaction.  The hives typically last less than 4 hours but they may stay for days or weeks. Approximately 20% of people have experienced a bout of urticaria.