Sedation Quick Reference: The state of calming.

Advanced Reference: Involves the use of a sedative or tranquilliser, a drug which lessens excitement. Barbiturates and hypnotics are also used g to produce sedation. atr g

See-saw breathing Quick Reference: Also known as paradoxical breathing.

Seldinger wire

Advanced Reference: Seen in patients with airway obstruction. Upon observation, the chest falls as the abdomen rises when the patient attempts to breathe.

Seldinger wire Quick Reference: (sell-ding-er) Device used to assist blood vessel catheterisation/cannulation.

Advanced Reference: A sprung wire originally used by radiologists and now adapted for venous/arterial cannulation/catheterisation. After venous access, the wire is fed through the cannula followed by the in-dwelling catheter being threaded over the wire. Upon successful catheterisation, the wire is removed. Wires now have at least one floppy end or in the shape of letter 'J' (J-wire) which eases passage through tortuous routes.

Selectatec Quick Reference: (sell-ect-a-tech) Vaporiser-locking and securing system.

Advanced Reference: Only when the vaporiser is locked in position can gas enter. The system is also designed in a way that prevents two vaporisers being used simultaneously.

Sellick's manoeuvre Quick Reference: (sell-licks) Manoeuvre carried out to prevent aspiration of stomach contents into the lungs.

Advanced Reference: Involves pressure being externally exerted on the cricoid cartilage during anaesthetic induction in an attempt to prevent regurgitated stomach contents entering the lungs. This is effective due to the cricoid cartilage being a circular structure and when depressed occludes the oesophagus. Utilised during emergency situations when a patient may not have been fasted, even with fasting still has the potential to have maintained gastric contents (Caesarean section), or when natural protection reflexes are insufficient (hiatus hernia). Named after the anaesthetist who first described its use. Also termed, crash induction, Rapid sequence induction.

Semen Quick Reference: (see-men) The male genital (testicular) fluid.

Advanced Reference: Semen contains spermatozoa plus secretions of the prostate gland and seminal vesicles.

Sengstaken-Blakemore tube Quick Reference: (Seng-starken) Multi-lumen device used for applying pressure to oesophageal varices.

Advanced Reference: The Minnesota tube is similar but has an extra lumen for oesophageal drainage. Both tubes have gastric and oesophageal balloons, which after oral insertion of the tube, are inflated and given traction in an effort to suppress bleeding.

Septicaemia Quick Reference: The presence of bacterial toxins in the bloodstream. Blood poisoning.

Advanced Reference: Can lead to widespread tissue injury as the toxins are dispersed throughout the body by the bloodstream.

Septum Quick Reference: A partition between two sides of a structure.


Advanced Reference: Example is the nasal septum, a sheet of cartilage between the nostrils and the interventricular septum dividing the two sides of the heart.

Serum Quick Reference: The clear fluid that separates from whole blood when it clots.

Advanced Reference: It is plasma with fibrinogen removed and also contains antibodies and antitoxins.

Servovent Quick Reference: (serve-o-vent) Name given to a type and design of patient ventilator.

Advanced Reference: The servomechanism is a control system applied to many ventilators but used to indicate certain ventilators, e.g. Manley Servovent and Siemens Servovent.

Sesamoid Quick Reference: Bony mass said to resemble a sesame seed.

Advanced Reference: A small bony mass formed in tendons. The patella is the largest of the sesamoid bones.

Set up room Quick Reference: A specific area for setting up of sterile instument trays.

Advanced Reference: Some theatre suites have an extra room adjacent to theatre which allows the scrub practitioner to prepare their sterile equipment. This is particularly helpful to promote the efficiency of a smooth running operating list.

Sevoflurane Quick Reference: Volatile anaesthetic agent. Sometimes referred to as servoflurane.

Advanced Reference: One of the more recently introduced. Delivered via a vaporiser. Relatively insoluble so has a rapid induction and recovery action. Also suitable for gas induction in children due to its lack of irritating odour, as is the case with alternatives.

Sharps Quick Reference: Refers to sharp items used in hospitals that have the potential to puncture, etc.

Advanced Reference: Items such as hypodermic needles, cannula needles, suture needles, scalpels or even large drain introducers and laparo-scopic devices as well as glass. Under Control Of Substances Hazardous 7 to Health (COSHH) Regulations, these must be disposed of nated container. These items pose many hazards with needle-stick injury '■§ being very common. £

Shelf-Life Quick Reference: Indicates the time within which an item |

should be used. ^

Advanced Reference: Corresponds to a 'sell by date'. In relation to oper- ®

ating departments, more usually involves sterile items and pharmaceu- g ticals. Drugs may have their shelf-life extended with additives and is preservatives and sterile adjuncts by the packaging method. As with 8 industry etc, stock rotation should form a part of any theatre processes.


Shock Quick Reference: Term used generally to indicate distress, etc. but in medical terms refers to a specific situation.

Advanced Reference: It is in fact a syndrome in which tissue perfusion is inadequate and leads to a number of signs and symptoms, e.g. tachycardia, sweating, rapid-shallow breathing, hypotension. Can be due to many causes and take many forms, i.e. anaphylactic shock, cardiogenic shock, septic shock, hypovolaemic shock, neurogenic shock, obstructive shock and distributive shock.

Shunt Quick Reference: Diversion of flow, etc., as with circulation of blood.

Advanced Reference: In relation to haemodialysis, involves insertion of connecting tubing in adjacant artery and vein which can be used as access to the arterial and venous outlets of the artificial kidney machine.

Sickle-cell anaemia Quick Reference: A genetically transmitted form of anaemia involving abnormal haemoglobin (Hb).

Advanced Reference: Under certain conditions including hypoxia, hyper-carbia, hypothermia and acidosis, the abnormal Hb may distort (sickle) and rupture leading to blocking of small blood vessels and reduced oxygen-carrying capacity (haemolytic anaemia). Normal Hb is referred to as 'A', with abnormal termed 'S'. When the disease is inherited from both parents and almost all the Hb is abnormal, the condition is referred to as HbSS and when inherited from only one parent and there is a presence of both normal and abnormal Hb, this is termed HbAS. Known to mainly affect certain races such as those of Negroid background but now found in a broad range of the population.

Sigmoidoscope Quick Reference: Device used to examine the lower bowel, etc.

Advanced Reference: Originally a rigid metal device with an externally fitted light source, long enough to view the sigmoid colon, rectum, etc. Now flexible versions are available with integrated light systems.

Silastic Quick Reference: A rubbery silicone material.

Advanced Reference: Found in many medical products used in the n operating room, e.g. breast implants. <c

® Silicone Quick Reference: Plastic-like material used in the manufacture of '■§ numerous medically related products.

£ Advanced Reference: An organic polymeric compound with many

§ properties such as water resistant and passage of electricity. Also rela-

■I tively inert to body actions and functions. Therefore, this lack of reaction

§■ enables devices to remain in the body for longer durations than plastics,

° i.e. feeding lines, oncology catheters, etc. Hence why many implants

■ji such as catheters, etc. are made from silicone. S

S. Silver nitrate Quick Reference: Substance used as a disinfectant and corrosive agent.


Advanced Reference: Seen primarily in the form of a stick used in the treatment of warts. Also used as an antiseptic in eye drops.

Sino-atrial node Quick Reference: The natural pacemaker of the heart.

Advanced Reference: Situated in the atrium of the heart and instigates the heartbeat.

Sinus Quick Reference: Indicates a pathway.

Advanced Reference: Indicates a hollow or cavity. There are a number of anatomical sinuses: brain, coronary, nasal, bone but also refers to a blind-ended opening or tract which usually starts from the body surface and becomes infected, etc.

Sinus rhythm Quick Reference: Refers to the rhythm of the heart.

Advanced Reference: Sometimes referred to as normal rhythm (each P-wave is followed by a QRS-complex). Indicates the rhythm initiated by the sino-atrial node. Sinus arrhythmia is a condition where there are alternating phases of slow and rapid heart rates.

Skin clips/staples Quick Reference: A sterile device used to close skin edges.

Advanced Reference: Made of non-corroding metal and originally applied with a non-disposable applicator. Gradually disposable automatic applicators were introduced. Skin clips/staples are quick and easy to insert and remove and leave a cosmetically acceptable scar.

Sloops Quick Reference: Used during surgery to identify certain structures.

Advanced Reference: Come in various colours: red, blue, white and yellow. Sloops are used to identify structures, e.g. white for nerves, yellow for ureters, blue for veins and red for arteries; also the red and blue can be used to occlude vessels during vascular surgery.

Smiths fracture Quick Reference: Fracture of the distal portion of the radius otherwise known as a reverse colles fracture.

Sniffing the air Quick Reference: Refers to a head position in anaesthesia.

Advanced Reference: Actually termed 'sniffing the morning air'. Indicates when the head is flexed/extended for intubation.

Soda lime Quick Reference: Mixture used for carbon dioxide (CO2) absorp- ^

tion in anaesthetic-breathing systems. ■§

Advanced Reference: Used to absorb the patients' exhaled CO2. ^

Composed of 94% calcium hydroxide, 5% sodium hydroxide and a trace 1=

of potassium hydroxide. Silica is added to prevent powdering of the |

granules and a dye is added to indicate when the soda lime is exhausted. & Depending on variety in use, colour changes can be from white to violet a or from pink to white. jf

Sodium Quick Reference: Soft white element normally found in combin- S. ation with other elements.

Sodium bicarbonate

Advanced Reference: Essential for normal health and life, and forms the principal cation in the extracellular fluids. Commonly taken in the form of sodium chloride (common salt).

Sodium bicarbonate Quick Reference: NaHCO3. An alkali.

Advanced Reference: Varying uses as an alkali and antacid. Most commonly seen during resuscitation when used in the treatment of acidosis.

Sodium chloride Quick Reference: NaCl salt.

Advanced Reference: Widely used as saline solution (normal saline is 0.9%) as a replacement and maintenance intravenous (IV) fluid. Also used as an irrigating solution in urology following endoscopic bladder procedures.

Sodium citrate Quick Reference: Alkaline compound used to treat infections of the urinary tract.

Advanced Reference: Also used to assist in the secretion of uric acid.

Sodium hypochlorite Quick Reference: Used as a disinfectant.

Advanced Reference: Mainly used for cleaning abrasions, etc. Available in 1% and 8% concentrations.

Sodium lactate Quick Reference: Hartmanns solution.

Advanced Reference: Crystalloid solution. IV replacement and maintenance fluid.

Soft palate Quick Reference: Posterior portion of the roof of the mouth. Advanced Reference: The soft palate extends from the palatine bones to the uvula.

Solu-Cortef Quick Reference: Proprietary corticosteroid (hydrocortisone). Advanced Reference: Used to replace steroid deficiency, suppress inflammation or allergic symptoms or to treat shock. Produced in powder form for reconstitution.

Solu-Medrone Quick Reference: Proprietary corticosteroid, e.g. methyl-prednisolone.

Advanced Reference: Used to treat shock and suppress allergic and inflammatory symptoms.

Solution Quick Reference: Liquid in which a substance is dissolved.

Advanced Reference: A fluid which contains a dissolved substance (solute).

Sotalol Quick Reference: Beta-blocker and antihypertensive.

Advanced Reference: Used to treat hypertension, arrhythmias and angina.

Spatula Quick Reference: A flat blunt-edged instrument.

Advanced Reference: Seen commonly as a tongue-depressor made of metal or wood.


Specimens Quick Reference: Indicates a sample taken from a body part or area.

Advanced Reference: Specimens are taken to determine their nature and/or the presence of disease, etc. Depending on the tissue involved and the examination required, specimens are placed in various containers and mediums. Examples include blood, cells, tissue, fluid, pus, etc.

Speculum Quick Reference: An instrument for inspecting the interior of natural body passages.

Advanced Reference: Often fitted with illumination or mirrors. Has a limited usage in terms of an endoscope, so used for viewing relatively peripheral areas. Speculums are available for viewing, the vagina, rectum, nose, outer ear.

Spermicidal Quick Reference: Substances which kill sperm.

Advanced Reference: Not a contraceptive in themselves but are used in barrier methods such as condoms and creams.

Sphincter Quick Reference: A ring of muscle.

Advanced Reference: Has the ability to constrict and close a natural passage or close an orifice, e.g. anal sphincter, gastro-oesophageal sphincter.

Sphygmomanometer Quick Reference: (spig-mom-an-om-eater)) Instrument for measuring the blood pressure (BP) (non-invasive).

Advanced Reference: Indicates an external gauge which records the pressure of air needed to stop the flow of blood into a limb.

Spinal Quick Reference: Term used to describe spinal anaesthesia. Intradural.

Advanced Reference: Involves the passage of a fine needle into the sub-arachnoid space (cerebrospinal fluid, CSF) followed by injection of local anaesthetic (LA) to bring about loss of pain.

Spirometer Quick Reference: Device used to measure lung volumes.

Advanced Reference: Various types exist, those which involve moving a cylinder up a column or dial with a needle, etc. Used during anaesthesia and generally for investigative reasons. Examples are the vitalograph and Wright's respirometer.

Sponge holder Quick Reference: Surgical instrument for holding small swabs.

Advanced Reference: Involves wrapping a small (4 X 4) swab around the end of the instrument (Rampleys) and used for prepping, retraction and swabbing, etc. Also referred to as 'swab on a stick'.

Static Quick Reference: With reference to theatres indicates static electricity.

Advanced Reference: Involves the build-up of an electrical charge in a non-conductor. In theatres, this can be caused by two unlike surfaces rubbing together as with patient clothing and operating table covers, etc.

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