Medical term glossary - A

This medical term glossary provides explanations in plain English of a number of technical terms you may encounter in the process of pursuing a clinical negligence claim.

Abduction - Moving of limbs away from the middle of the body.

Ablation - Removal of tissue or strange growth.

Abscess - A swollen collection of pus.

Acetabulum - Socket on the underside of the pelvic bone where the head of the femur (hip bone) is situated. The femur is attached by ligaments.

Achilles tendon - Calf muscle tendon, linked to the heel bone.

Acrocyanosis - Irregularly slow blood circulation which causes blue tinged discolouration of the hands and feet.

Acromio-clavicular joint - A joint that links the shoulder blade and the collar bone.

Acroparaesthesia - Unusual tingling in hands and feet.

Acute - Describing symptoms of great severity, brief in duration.

Adduction - The movement of a limb towards the middle of the body.

Adenitis - Condition of inflamed glands.

Adenopathy - Condition of diseased glands.

Adventitia - The outer surface of a blood vessel, such as veins.

Agnosia - The patient has trouble recognising familiar sights, sounds, smells etc, in spite of normal sensation

Agoraphobia - Fear of wide open areas.

Agraphia - Unable to express thoughts in writing.

Air conduction - The movement of sound waves through the ear.

Akinesia - Inability to control muscles.

Alexia - Reading difficulties.

Allergy - Immune system hypersensitivity to certain biological substances such as drugs or plants.

Alveolar fracture - A fracture of the aspect of the jaw bone which holds the teeth.

Alveolus - The aspect of the jawbone that holds the teeth.

Amnesia - Failure of memory following trauma.

Amputation - Cutting away part of a limb, finger or toe.

Analgesia - Painkillers.

Anastamosis - Connection of two parts of a hollow organ such as a vein.

Angina - Chest pain caused by insufficient blood supply to the heart.

Ankylosis - Fusing of joints due to disease.

Anodyne - Painkilling treatment.

Anosmia - Lack of ability to smell.

Anoxia - Oxygen supply to the brain falls below required minimum. May cause brain damage.

Anterior - Located on the front of the body.

Anterograde amnesia - Events after a traumatic incident are not remembered.

Anti-convulsant - Drug which suppresses seizures.

Anti-depressant - Drug used to combat the symptoms of depression.

Anti-inflammatory - Drug used to combat inflammation which is not caused by infection. The most common type are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID).

Antipyretic - Drug used to reduce fever.

Antrectomy - Cutting away part of the stomach.

Anuria - Able to pass only a minimal amount of urine; a symptom of kidney failure.

Aphasia - Unable to speak.

Apraxia - Loss of the ability to perform skilled voluntary movements in the absence of muscle paralysis.

Arachnoid mater - Lining of the brain and spinal cord. The space within contains the spinal fluid.

Arthritis - Inflamed joints.

Arthrodesis - Surgical fusing of a joint.

Arthro - Of or relating to a joint.

Arthropathy - Disease related to a joint.

Arthroplasty - Surgical reconstruction of a joint.

Arthroscopy - Visual inspection of a joint through surgery.

Arthrotomy - Surgical operation to open a joint.

Asbestosis - Lung disease caused by inhalation of asbestos fibres.

Aseptic necrosis - Death of bone material not caused by infection.

Asphyxia - Inability or difficulty in taking air into the lungs.

Aspiration - Use of suction to remove fluid from a body cavity.

Asthenia - Weakness.

Ataxia - Loss of ability to control movement of limbs or head.

Atheroma - Build up of fatty deposits on artery walls, may lead to thrombosis.

Atherosclerosis - Disease causing hardening of artery walls.

Athetoid - Constant slow movement of the body caused by brain damage.

Atrophy - Tissue degeneration.

Audiogram - Graph showing hearing capacity.

Audiometry - Assessment of hearing function by means of an audiogram.

Avascular necrosis - Loss of bloody supply to parts of the body causing tissue degeneration.

Avulsion - Tearing between body parts.

Avulsion fracture - Damage to a bone due to stress on the attached ligament or tendon.

Axilla - The armpit.

Axon - A nerve fibre.

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If you would like assistance in relation to a possible clinical negligence claim speak to our experts for free initial advice on 0203 817 9430 or complete our online enquiry form.

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