alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency - alpha-1-antitrypsin is an enzyme normally present in the blood A low value may be associated with liver disease.
arterial blood gas (ABG) - a blood test that measures oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the bloodstream as a test of lung function.
arterial line (A-Line) - a catheter placed in an artery (usually in the wrist) to constantly check blood pressure without a blood pressure cuff; also allows medical staff to draw blood for tests without having to give the child another needle stick.
ascites - the term for fluid that may accumulate in the abdomen in liver disease (and some other conditions).
atresia - a closure of a normal anatomical opening or congenital absence of a normal anatomical opening.
cardiac respiratory monitor - a machine that measures heart and breathing rates via wire leads attached to the chest with stickers. The machine provides a continuous readout of heart rate and respiratory rates.
central line - a larger than usual intravenous line, usually placed in the neck while the child is in the operating room. It allows administration of larger volumes of blood or fluid and can be used to withdraw blood samples.
cholangitis - infection or inflammation of the bile ducts.
chole - refers to bile.
cholangiogram - a picture of the biliary tree.
cirrhosis - the most advanced stage of liver scarring.
CT (computerized tomography) scan - a test in which X-rays passing through a part of the body are changed into signals that go to a computer, which then uses the signals to create an image of the body part(s) being scanned.
cytomegalovirus (CMV) - a virus that can cause infections of various kinds. In young children, CMV usually causes a "cold" like illness, but in people on antirejection medicine it may cause more serious pneumonia, hepatitis or intestinal infection.
DISIDA scan - a nuclear medicine scan in which dye given intravenously is concentrated into bile. This test can help to identify any obstruction in the bile ducts.
endoscopy - an examination during which a physician places a narrow, lighted tube through the mouth to look into the esophagus, stomach and small bowel.
endotracheal (ET) tube or artificial airway - a long, narrow plastic tube placed through the mouth or nose into the trachea, then taped in place, to provide an airway for a breathing machine during anesthesia.
fibrosis - accumulation of scar tissue.
hepatic - pertaining to the liver.
hepatomegaly - enlarged liver.
hepatosplenomegaly - enlarged spleen and liver.
icterus - yellowness of the whites of the eyes (sclera).
immune system - the collection of cells and organs that together act to fight infection. Includes white blood cells, lymph nodes, spleen and tonsils, among others.
incentive spirometer (also called inspirometer) - a plastic device with a flexible tubing and enclosed ball designed to help stimulate deep breaths and therefore prevent lung collapse and infections. The patient is instructed to take large breaths through the tubing — as if using a straw — and move the plastic ball upwards.
jaundice - a yellowness of the skin due to excess bilirubin in the blood and tissues.
liver biopsy - a test in which a small sample of liver is removed with a special needle. This test allows the physician to examine liver tissue under the microscope and diagnose specific liver disorders without surgery.
MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) - a scanning technique that uses magnets and radio waves to provide a very detailed picture of the body without X-rays.
operative cholangiogram - a procedure in which the doctor injects dye into the gallbladder and then takes an X-ray outlining the structure of the biliary tree.
percussion and postural drainage (PP&D) - a clapping on the back and chest with a cuffed hand (percussion) to loosen secretions and mucus and promote drainage of secretions (postural drainage); helps prevent respiratory infections and pneumonia. Also called Chest PT.
percutaneous transhepatic cholangiogram (PTC) - a procedure in which an X-ray is taken after dye has been injected into the bile ducts using a needle passed through the skin and into the liver.
portal hypertension - increased blood pressure in the portal vein (a vein that leads into the liver).
pruritis - severe itching believed to be caused by the buildup of bile salts in the blood.
rectal probe - a very small, protected wire placed in the rectum to continually monitor body temperature.
scleral icterus - yellow discoloration of the whites of the eyes (the sclera).
STAT - to be done immediately.
ultrasound - a test that uses sound waves to outline different organs and tissues in the body. These sound waves are sent to the area being tested and a picture is made as the sound returns to the machine.
ventilator - a large "breathing machine" that automatically provides breaths for someone with an artificial airway.
Reviewed by: Elizabeth B. Rand, MD
Date: November 2012