Liver Transplant Program

Glossary of Liver Transplant Terms

A

B

C

D

E

F

H

I

J

L

M

N

O

P

R

S

U

V

X

A

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).

atelectasis - collapsed or uninflated lung(s).

atresia - a closure of a normal anatomical opening or congenital absence of a normal anatomical opening.

B

biliary tree - a series of ducts that transport bile from the liver — where it's manufactured — to the small intestine (also called the duodenum), which uses bile to digest food.

bile - a yellow-green liquid produced in the liver. The bile carries waste products into the gut to be discarded in the stool; it also dissolves food for easier absorption.

bilirubin - a byproduct of red blood cell breakdown. If the liver is functioning properly, it excretes bilirubin in the bile. When it doesn't, bilirubin builds up in the blood, causing jaundice.

C

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.

D

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.

E

echocardiogram - an ultrasound of the heart that evaluates structure and function.

EKG - Painless measurement of the heart's "electrical system," requiring numerous small, sticky dots or bands along the chest and arms.

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.

F

fibrosis - accumulation of scar tissue.

FOLEY CATHETER- a plastic, hollow tube inserted into the bladder through the urethra to collect and measure urine.

H

hepatic - pertaining to the liver.

hepatitis - liver inflammation from any source. Hepatitis can be caused by infections, medications or other diseases

hepatomegaly - enlarged liver.

hepatosplenomegaly - enlarged spleen and liver.

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I

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.

intravenous (IV) line - a catheter (tiny, hollow plastic tube) placed into a vein to give fluids or medication.

J

jaundice - a yellowness of the skin due to excess bilirubin in the blood and tissues.

JACKSON-PRATT DRAIN - a plastic tube placed in the abdominal cavity at the end of surgery to collect any blood or fluid in the abdomen. The tubing ends in a bulb-shaped plastic reservoir.

L

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.

M

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.

N

nasogastric (NG) tube - a long, narrow plastic tube inserted in the nose and then passed down into the stomach to empty it of fluid and air or to provide liquid nutrition.

O

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.

P

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.

pulse oximeter - a machine used to monitor the oxygen levels in the bloodstream via a probe taped to a fingertip or toe.

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R

rectal probe - a very small, protected wire placed in the rectum to continually monitor body temperature.

S

scleral icterus - yellow discoloration of the whites of the eyes (the sclera).

STAT - to be done immediately.

U

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.

V

ventilator - a large "breathing machine" that automatically provides breaths for someone with an artificial airway.

X

X-ray - a painless "picture" of a body part taken using a very small amount of radiation.

 

Reviewed by: Elizabeth B. Rand, MD
Date: November 2012

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