Glossary of Terms


A & E:the emergency department (ED), sometimes termed accident & emergency (A&E), emergency room (ER), emergency ward (EW), or casualty department is a hospital or primary care department that provides initial treatment to patients with a broad spectrum of illnesses and injuries, some of which may be life-threatening and require immediate attention.

AED:Automated External Defibrillator

ALERT: Acute Life Threatening Events: Recognition & Treatment course is a multi-professional course to train staff in recognising patient deterioration and act appropriately in treating the acutely unwell.

ALS: Advanced Life Support, a two day course recognised by the Resuscitation Council (UK) and intended for those senior clinicians who may be expected to undertake the role of team leader at a cardiac arrest

APLS:Advanced Paediatric Life Support, course governed by the Advanced Life Support Group lasting 2 days covering all areas of advanced paediatric resuscitation aimed primarily at paediatric doctors and specialist nurses. There is a larger focus on trauma skills on this course than on the EPLS course

AV node: The atrioventricular node (abbreviated AV node) is a part of electrical control system of the heart that co-ordinates heart rate

AVPU: The AVPU scale (Alert, Voice, Pain, Unresponsive) is a system by which a first aider, ambulance crew or health care professional can measure and record a patient's level of consciousness.


BLS:Basic life support

B/P:Blood pressure is a force exerted by circulating blood on the walls of blood vessels, and is one of the principal vital signs

BVM: A bag valve mask (also known an Ambu bag) is a hand-held device used to provide positive pressure ventilation to a patient who is not breathing or who is breathing inadequately.


CCU: A coronary care unit is a hospital ward specialised in the care of patients with heart attacks, unstable angina and (in practice) various other cardiac conditions that require continuous monitoring and treatment.

CPR: Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation

CXR: chest x-ray is a projection radiograph of the chest used to diagnose conditions affecting the chest, its contents, and nearby structures.


DNAR: Do Not Attempt Resuscitation


EBME: Electro-Biomedical Engineering

ECG: Electrocardiography is a transthoracic interpretation of the electrical activity of the heart over time captured and externally recorded by skin electrodes.

EPLS: European Life Support, a two day course recognised by the Resuscitation Council (UK) for clinicians who have significant responsibility for delivering paediatric care. It is intended to provide adequate skills base to manage a range of paediatric emergencies

ETT: An endotracheal tube is used in general anaesthesia, intensive care and emergency medicine for airway management, mechanical ventilation and as an alternative route for many drugs if an IV line cannot be established.


FY2: Foundation Year 2, A Foundation House Officer (FHO) is a grade of medical practitioner in the United Kingdom undertaking the Foundation Programme - a two-year, general postgraduate medical training programme which forms the bridge between medical school and specialist/general practice training


GCS: Glasgow Coma Scale is a neurological scale that aims to give a reliable, objective way of recording the conscious state of a person for initial as well as subsequent assessment.

GIC: Generic Instructor Course, course governed by the Resuscitation Council (UK) lasting 3 days allowing those nominated form provider courses with instructor potential to receive tuition in the specific teaching methods employed on resuscitation training programmes

GTN: Glyceryl trinitrate is an alternate name for the chemical nitroglycerin, which has been used to treat angina and heart failure.


HDU: High Dependency Unit


Igel: i-gel is a unique, single use, supraglottic airway device designed to work in perfect unison with the anatomy.

ILS: Immediate Life Support, course governed by the Resuscitation Council (UK) lasting 1 day covering management of adult emergencies in the initial phases aimed at nurses and junior doctors as well as other health care professionals and areas where emergency response is expected prior to transfer to acute hospital environment or arrival of the emergency team

IM: Intramuscular

IV: Intravenous

ITU: intensive treatment unit is a specialised department used in many countries' hospitals that provides intensive care medicine.


LRTI: lower respiratory tract infection often used as a synonym for pneumonia, it can also be applied to other types of infection including lung abscess, acute bronchitis, and emphysema.


MAP: The mean arterial pressure is a term used in medicine to describe an average blood pressure in an individual

MEWS: Modified early warning score is a simple guide used by emergency medical services to quickly determine the risk of death of a subject. It is based on data derived from four physiological readings (systolic blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, body temperature) and one observation (level of consciousness, AVPU).

MRI: Magnetic resonance imaging is primarily a medical imaging technique most commonly used in radiology to visualise detailed internal structure and limited function of the body.


NHS: National Health Service

NLS: Neonatal Life Support course, course governed by the Resuscitation Council (UK) lasting 1 day covering all areas of resuscitation at birth aimed primarily at paediatric doctors and specialist nurses


ODP: Operating Department Practitioners are healthcare professionals working in the United Kingdom. They are mainly employed in surgical operating departments but can be found in other clinical areas including Accident & Emergency (A&E), Intensive Care ICU/ITU units and The Ambulance Service.


PEA: Pulseless Electrical Activity

PGD: Patient Group Directions are documents permitting the supply of prescription-only medicines to groups of patients, without individual prescriptions.

pH: short for potentiometric hydrogen ion concentration is a measure of the acidity or basicity of a solution

PILS: Paediatric Immediate Life Support course, course governed by the Resuscitation Council (UK) lasting 1 day covering paediatric in slightly more in than basic life support aimed at junior paediatric nurses and areas where paediatric response is expected prior to transfer to acute hospital environment


QRS: The QRS complex is a name for some of the deflections seen on a typical electrocardiogram (ECG). It is usually the central and most visually obvious part of the tracing. It corresponds to the depolarization of the right and left ventricles.


RC (UK): Resuscitation Council (UK)

REBA: Rapid Entire Body Assessment is used to assess the entire body postures for the risk of work-related musculoskeletal disorders

ROSC: Return of Spontaneous Circulation


SaO2: arterial oxygen saturation, commonly referred to as "sats", measures the percentage of haemoglobin binding sites in the bloodstream occupied by oxygen

SCIC: Spinal Cord Injury Centre

SHO: A senior house officer is a junior doctor undergoing training within a certain speciality in the United Kingdom National Health Service or in the Republic of Ireland.

SpR: A Specialist Registrar or is a doctor in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland who is receiving advanced training in a specialist field of medicine in order eventually to become a consultant

ST: Specialty Registrar is a new training grade introduced in 2007 into UK medical training as part of the Modernising Medical Careers programme. It is intended to replace the old Specialist Registrar training places used to train doctors up to the specialist level needed to become a Consultant Doctor.


VF: Ventricular fibrillation is a condition in which there is uncoordinated contraction of the cardiac muscle of the ventricles in the heart, making them quiver rather than contract properly.

VT: Ventricular tachycardia is a tachycardia, or fast heart rhythm, that originates in one of the ventricles of the heart.



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