Medical term glossary - D

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.

Dactylitis - Inflammation of a toe or finger.

Daltonism - Red/green colour-blindness.

Debridement - Cleaning a wound.

Decubitus ulcer - Bedsore.

Deep vein thrombosis - The formation of a blood clot in a vein in the leg. This may detach and travel through the blood stream. If it reaches the main artery to the lungs (the pulmonary artery) it may block it, causing a pulmonary embolism. This can be fatal.

Defibrillation - Deliberate electric shock designed to restore regular heart rhythm.

Delayed union - Abnormally slow healing of a bone fracture.

Dementia - Failure of brain function due to diseases such as Alzheimer's.

Demyelination - Degeneration of nerve insulation.

De Quervain's Syndrome - Abnormal clicking and pain in the thumb.

Dermal - Of or relating to the skin.

Dermatitis - Inflammation of the skin.

Dermatoplasty - Skin grafting, plastic surgery etc.

Devitalise - Decoupling the nervous system link of a tooth or organ.

Diaclasia - Deliberately fracturing a bone to reset a deformity.

Dialysis - The use of artificial blood filtration to remove toxins, replacing the function of a kidney.

Diaphoresis - Increased sweating.

Diaphysis - Core of a large bone.

Diplegia - Lower limb paralysis.

Diplopia - Double vision.

Disarticulation - Separation of joints (due to injury or surgery).

Dislocation - The bones of a joint becoming separated. No fracturing occurs.

Distal - The part of a limb furthest from the body (opposite of proximal).

Dominant hemisphere - Part of the brain which controls speech and left/right handedness.

Dorsal spine - The area where the ribs join the spine.

Dorsiflexion - Backward movement of joints.

Dorsum - Rear or outer surface, such as the back of the hand.

Dupuytren's contracture - Contraction of the fingers caused by thickening of fibrous tissue in the palms.

Dura mater - Membrane covering the brain and spinal cord.

Dural - Of or relating to the dura mater.

Dys- - Abnormal.

Dysarthria - Speech impediment.

Dyslexia - Mental disorder causing difficulties in processing writing.

Dysphagia - Difficulty swallowing.

Dysphasia - Communication difficulty in either expressing self or understanding others.

Dysplasia - Abnormal tissue growth.

Dyspnoea - Breathlessness.

Dystocia - Difficult childbirth.

Dysuria - Painful urination.

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