Virtual Pediatric Hospital: ElectricAirway: Upper Airway Problems
in Children: Dictionary
ElectricAirway: Upper Airway Problems in Children
Donna M. Santer, M.D., Michael P. D'Alessandro, M.D.
Peer Review Status: Externally Peer Reviewed by Lauren D
Holinger, MD, Robert J. Winter, MD and the AMA
ABG - arterial blood gas.
Adenitis - inflammation of a lymph node.
Angioedema - sudden onset of periodic, recurrent episodes of
noninflammatory swelling of skin, mucous membranes, and other
tissues, associated with food allergies, urticaria or possibly
stress or emotional factors.
Aphonia - loss of voice.
Apnea (reflex) - episodes of bradycardia, apnea, and cyanosis.
Also known as dying spells.
Asplenia - absence of the spleen due to congenital or
Asthma - a disease with reversible narrowing of the airways,
edema of the mucosa, and mucus in the lumen of the small airways,
particularly the bronchi and bronchioles, caused by the local
release of vasoactive substances secondary to many causes such as
Branchial cleft cyst - a malformation of the branchial cleft
during embryogenesis such that the remnant forms a cyst, usually
found in the lateral neck.
Bronchiolitis - inflammation of the bronchioles, often
associated with bronchopneumonia. Also known as capillary
Bronchitis - inflammation of the bronchi.
Bronchoscopy - a medical procedure involving the inspection of
the respiratory tree using a bronchoscope, which is an instrument
similar to a telescope but with a built-in light source and small
CBC - complete blood count.
Cellulitis - inflammation of the skin.
Cine CT - motion pictures of a computed tomographic study.
Conjunctivitis - inflammation of the conjunctiva.
Cricothyrotomy - a medical procedure involving an incision
being made between the cricoid and thyroid cartilages to maintain
patency of the airway.
Croup - an infection of the larynx in children characterized
by a barky, hoarse cough and difficulty in breathing. Often caused
by parainfluenza 1 virus. Also known as laryngotracheobronchitis.
Cyanosis - a blue coloration of the skin and mucous membranes
due to deoxygenation of the blood.
Cystic fibrosis - an autosomal recessive metabolic disease
that affects the Na-Cl transport protein on cell membranes, which
causes respiratory, gastrointestina, and metabolic derangements in
affected persons. Affected persons have a shortened life span and
are diagnosed by quantitative measurement of sweat chloride.
Dying spells - episodes of bradycardia, apnea, and cyanosis.
Also known as reflex apnea.
Dysphagia - difficulty in swallowing.
Dyspnea - shortness of breath.
Echocardiography - a medical test using ultrasound and Doppler
techniques to visualize the structure of the heart.
ECG - a medical test to record the electrical current in the
heart. Also known as an electrocardiogram.
Emphysema - a condition of the lung characterized by
destruction of lung tissue resulting in enlarged terminal
bronchioles and reduction of their number.
Endoscopy - a generic medical procedure used to visualize the
inside of an organ system. This includes bronchoscopy (respiratory
system), endoscopy (specifically referring to the gastrointestinal
tract), cystoscopy (genitourinary tract), etc.
Epiglottitis - an inflammation of the epiglottitis usually
caused by Haemophilus influenzae type b. This is a medical
Glottis - the vocal apparatus of the larynx consisting of the
vocal folds of mucosa investing the vocal ligament, vocal muscle
on each side of the vocal ligament, and vocal cords. Also known as
the voice box.
Goiter - a chronic enlargement of the thyroid gland not due to
neoplasm often seen in endemic areas.
Hyaline membrane disease - a disease causing respiratory
distress usually in premature newborns in which hyalin, a glassy,
eosinophilic materia, is seen in the alveoli. Also known as
respiratory distress syndrome.
Hypercapnea - the presence of an abnormally high amount of
carbon dioxide in the blood. Also known as hypercarbia.
Hyperemia - an increased amount of blood in a tissue or organ.
Also known as congestion.
Hypocalcemia - the presence of an abnormally low amount of
calcium in the blood.
Hypopharynx - synonymous with larynx.
Hypoxia - the presence of an abnormally low amount of oxygen
in the blood.
Laryngitis (acute infectious) - inflammation of the mucous
membranes of the larynx usually secondary to influenza virus.
Laryngitis (spasmotic) - inflammation of the mucous membranes
of the larynx generally causing stridor. The stridor subsides
easily only to return on subsequent nights. Also known as
Laryngomalacia - a softening of the structures of the larynx.
Also known as chondromalacia of the larynx.
Laryngoscopy - a procedure similar to a bronchoscopy, but only
the laryngeal structures are visualized.
Laryngoplasty - plastic surgery or reparation of the
structures of the larynx.
Laryngotracheobronchitis - also known as viral croup.
Leukocytosis - an elevation of the normal leukocyte blood
Lymphocytosis - an elevation of the normal lymphocyte blood
Malacia - a softening of the affected structure.
Measles - an acute exanthematous disease caused by the measles
virus and characterized by a morbiliform erythematous rash, high
fever, inflammation of the respiratory mucous membranes, with
cough, runny nose, and white spots on the buccal mucosa known as
Meningitis - an inflammation of the meninges caused by an
infectious process often viral or bacterial.
Multimedia - the concurrent use of multiple forms of media.
Nebulizer - a medical device used to aerosolize a liquid
medication into fine particles.
Otitis edia - an inflammation of the middle ear structures.
Pericarditis - an inflammation of the pericardium.
Peritonsillar abscess - an abscess involving the structures
around the tonsil. This is a surgical emergency.
Pneumonia - an inflammation of the lung parenchyma, often
causing consolidation of the affected part with the alveolar air
spaces being filled with blood, cells, and fibrin. It has many
Pneumothorax - the presence of gas or air in the pleural
Pulse oximetry - a medical text involving the determination of
oxygen saturation externally using an infrared detector placed
across a capillary bed such as a digit or ear.
Rale - a crackling sound heard on auscultation of the chest.
Retropharyngeal abscess - an abscess involving the structures
in the posterior pharynx. This is a surgical emergency.
Reye's syndrome - a disease of children of unknown etiology,
characterized by a sudden loss of consciousness, cerebral edema,
and marked fatty changes in the liver and renal tubules. May be
associated with aspirin ingestion after certain viral illnesses.
This is a medical emergency.
Rhinitis - an inflammation of the nasal mucosa.
Rhinorrhea - a discharge from the nasal mucosa.
Rhonchi - a wheezing sound heard on auscultation of the chest.
Sinusitis - an inflammation of the sinus mucosa.
Steeple sign - a radiographic sign seen on the anteroposterior
endolateral neck x-rays in children with croup. A narrowing of the
air column in the hypopharynx is seen resembling a church spire.
Stenosis - the narrowing of the lumen of a structure. Complete
stenosis is also known as atresia.
Stridor - an inspiratory, high-pitched sound caused by
obstruction in the upper airway.
Subglottic stenosis - stenosis of the structures below the
Tetany - an intermittent cramping of the muscles, often
occurring for prolonged periods of time with associated pain.
Often caused by metabolic derangements such as hypocalcemia.
Thumb sign - a radiographic sign seen on lateral endolateral
neck x-rays in children with epiglottitis, caused by the marked
swelling of aryepiglottic folds and arytenoid cartilages. The
swelling resembles the human thumb.
Toxic - pertaining to a toxin. A very ill appearing child.
Tracheoesophageal fistula - generally a congenital abnormality
involving a communication between the trachea and esophagus. It
may also be acquired.
Tracheomalacia - a softening of the tracheal structures.
Tracheoplasty - plastic surgery or reparation of the
structures of the trachea.
Tracheostomy - an opening in the trachea.
Tracheotomy - a medical procedure creating an opening in the
URI - Upper respiratory tract infection.
Web - a thin tissue or membrane bridging a space.
(Modified from Stedman's Medical Dictionary, Williams &
Wilkins, Baltimore, MD, 25th Edit. 1990.)
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