Dacron Quick Reference: Relates to vascular and thoracic surgery grafts.

Advanced Reference: Dacron grafts are either of the knitted or woven type. Comprised of polyethylene and is kink resistant and elastic in nature. Some are impregnated with gelatin or collagen, which helps seal the graft. Knitted grafts require pre-clotting with the patient's blood.

Dacron cuff Quick Reference: A sheath of dacron surrounding an arterial or venous catheter.

Advanced Reference: Designed to adhere to the surrounding tissue and prevent accidental displacement. Found with intravenous (IV) feeding lines and often used in combination with tunnelling of the catheter.

Damping Quick Reference: Term related to recording systems indicating a reduction in amplitude (size) and therefore interference of the recording trace, etc.

Advanced Reference: Seen in invasive arterial monitoring systems when the trace reading is affected by air bubbles in the system, blood clots or kinking of the manometer tubing.

D&C Quick Reference: Dilatation and curettage. A gynaecological procedure.

Advanced Reference: Involves dilatation of the os of the cervix and a curette is used to remove endometrium.

Dantrium Quick Reference: Proprietary skeletal muscle relaxant, e.g. dantrolene sodium.

Advanced Reference: Used in the treatment of malignant hyperthermia. This preparation is in combination with mannitol, which acts as a preservative.

Dead space Quick Reference: Area where no gas exchange takes place.

Advanced Reference: Anatomical dead space includes the mouth, nose, pharynx and large airways. Equipment dead space involves anaesthetic masks, circuits, etc. Insertion of an endotracheal tube (ET) tube reduces dead space as it bypasses the anatomical dead space. Mask anaesthesia greatly increases dead space. The issue of equipment dead space is of greater importance with paediatric circuits.


Debridement Quick Reference: Thorough cleansing of a wound.

Advanced Reference: Involves cleaning and removal of foreign material and damaged tissue, usually following traumatic injury.

Decadron Quick Reference: A proprietary corticosteroid.

Advanced Reference: A preparation of dexamethasone used to replace steroid loss and in the treatment of shock.

Decapitation Quick Reference: Literally, cutting off of the head.

Advanced Reference: Can indicate the head itself above the shoulders/ neck or the head of a bone.

Decapsulation Quick Reference: (de-cap-su-la-shun) Surgical incision and removal of a fibrous capsule.

Advanced Reference: Renal decapsulation is the freeing and removal of the capsule surrounding the kidney.

Decompression Quick Reference: To remove internal pressure. Surgical procedure designed to release or relieve pressure on an organ or structure.

Advanced Reference: Example would be, drilling or removal of part of the skull to relieve intracranial pressure, removal of bone, etc. pressing on the spinal cord.

Defence mechanism Quick Reference: An immunological mechanism by which the body resists invasion by pathogens or harmful organisms.

Advanced Reference: Also used to indicate a psychological means of coping with conflict or anxiety.

Defibrillation Quick Reference: Applying an electric shock across the heart using a defibrillator.

Advanced Reference: An attempt to restore normal rhythm to the heart in ventricular or atrial fibrillation by applying energy in the form of an electric shock. This depolarises the cardiac cells and allows the sino-atrial node to take over and restore sinus rhythm.

Defunctioning colostomy Quick Reference: A surgical intervention for ry disease of the lower colon and rectum.

Advanced Reference: Used where there is a need to either rest the colon ■i= following an anastomosis or to have a permanent bypass in order to 2 keep the faeces away from the diseased part. A loop of colon is brought ■E out onto the skin so that the faeces is discharged into a colostomy bag E attached to the skin.

® Deglove Quick Reference: Injury to extremities, i.e. fingers, hand, arm, c? toes, leg, foot.

Advanced Reference: Involves the peeling off of tissue down to the bone including neurovascular bundles and possibly tendons, usually due to trauma.


Dehiscence Quick Reference: (de-his-ense) Splitting open.

Advanced Reference: Term applied to the breakdown of surgical incisions in the post-operative period. Usually due to infection. Used in relation to the slang term 'burst abdomen'.

Dehydration Quick Reference: A reduction in the total water content of the body.

Advanced Reference: Excessive fluid loss may be due to reduced or lack of intake, sweating, persistent vomiting and diarrhoea. Signs and symptoms include thirst, muscle cramp and weakness, low urine output of less than 400ml/24h.(oligun'a).

Delirium Quick Reference: Disturbance of the brain, causing confusion, excitement and other symptoms of disorganised mental activity.

Advanced Reference: Due to injury, fever, poisoning, etc.

Delorme's procedure Quick Reference: A surgical intervention of the peri-neal area for repair of a complete full thickness rectal prolapse.

Advanced Reference: A complete prolapse is a full thickness rectal prolapse protruding from the anus, contains two layers of the rectal wall. Occurs most commonly in older adults, with females more affected than males and is associated with weak pelvic and anal muscles.

Deltoid Quick Reference: Triangular, deltoid muscle.

Advanced Reference: This muscle lies on the anterior border and upper surface of the outer third of the clavicle and enables the arm to abduct, flex and rotate.

Demand pacemaker Quick Reference: Device used to stimulate the heart electrically.

Advanced Reference: Used when the heart and impulses are not sufficient. Works by measuring the interval between beats and if the normal value is exceeded the pacemaker delivers a stimulating pulse.

Dementia Quick Reference: (dem-en-sha) Loss of intellectual functions.

Advanced Reference: Resulting in deficient memory and concentration. The condition is progressive. Although can also be caused by thyroid ^ disturbance, infection, etc. but most cases are due to the degenerative processes of ageing.

Denervate Quick Reference: (den-er-vate) De-nerve, i.e. to remove nerves. Advanced Reference: Denervated - without nerve supply. Denervation -removal or severence of the nerve supply. As happens following certain types of surgery, i.e. transplantation.

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