Obesity Quick Reference: Excess of fat in the body.

Advanced Reference: Excessive amount of fat throughout the body, which can be calculated by using body mass index (BMI) formula.

Oblique Quick Reference: Indicates slanting, declining from the vertical or horizontal, diverging from a straight line.

Advanced Reference: Used in regard to muscles. The muscles in the wall of the abdomen which slant from side to centre. The two muscles which are responsible for turning the eye upwards/downwards and inwards/ outwards.

Obstetrics Quick Reference: Medical care in pregnancy and childbirth.

Advanced Reference: Involves both midwifery and an obstetric and gynaecological specialist doctor.

Obstruction Quick Reference: Common term used in relation to anaesthetics and surgery.

Advanced Reference: With reference to surgery can indicate intestinal obstruction, which can be due to a number of causes, e.g. tumour, twisting, strangulation, etc. while in anaesthesia indicates obstruction of the airway and can be at any level; examples can include, lips, tongue, blood, vomit, foreign body, etc. The term could also be used to describe obstructions in patient breathing systems.

Obtund Quick Reference: To deaden pain. To blunt.

Advanced Reference: To render insensitive to painful stimuli by reducing the level of consciousness as in anaesthesia or with the use of opioid analgesics.

Obturator Quick Reference: Something which occludes an opening.

Advanced Reference: Obturator nerve block targets the obturator nerve which supplies the muscles of the thigh/hip. Also, an oesophageal obturator airway has two lumens, of which one is occluded and is intended to block the oesophagus and therefore leave the trachea available.


Occipital Quick Reference: Indicates the back of the head.

Advanced Reference: The occipital bone is the back of the floor of the skull and forms a moveable joint with the spine. The brain stem passes through a hole in the occipital bone and becomes the spinal cord. The occipital lobe of the brain is at the back of the skull above the cerebellum, it records and interprets vision.

Occult Quick Reference: Concealed, cut off from view.

Advanced Reference: Occult blood refers to blood that is not evident to the naked eye. Common example is blood in stools which is not visible but can be detected through laboratory examinations.

ODP Quick Reference: Operating Department Practitioner.

Advanced Reference: Professional that works alongside surgeons and anaesthetists, and trained for general theatre work. Previous titles in the development of the discipline included Operating Department Assistant (ODA) and Theatre Technician.

Oedema Quick Reference: Swelling due to the accumulation of excess tissue fluid.

Advanced Reference: May be due to local causes such as interference with lymphatic or venous drainage or generalised conditions such as heart or kidney failure. Pulmonary oedema is the accumulation of fluid in the lungs. Oedematous indicates an area affected by oedema.

Oesophageal obturator Quick Reference: A type of oral airway with an attached face mask.

Advanced Reference: Used when intubation with endotracheal (ET) tube is not possible and at emergency resuscitation, etc.; these devices are designed to be inserted blindly with the intention of entering the oesophagus, blocking it off, thus allowing for tracheal ventilation with oxygen from a second lumen which opens higher up the tube. A number of designs are in existence, all varying slightly in working principle and it is this point that has hindered their popularity. However, they are in common use by paramedics in some countries such as the USA.

Oesophageal stethoscope Quick Reference: Multi-lumen device which is placed in the oesophagus during anaesthesia.

Advanced Reference: Disposable tube placed in the oesophagus, as with a nasogastric tube, which has lumens for attaching a stethoscope and temperature probe.

Oesophagectomy Quick Reference: Surgical removal of part or whole of the oesophagus.

Advanced Reference: May be performed for certain conditions of the oesophagus, e.g. carcinoma. Often combined with a partial or total gastrectomy.


Oesophago-gastrectomy Quick Reference: Removal of part of oesophagus and stomach.

Advanced Reference: Excision of the lower third of the oesophagus and all of the stomach, usually carried out due to tumours at or near the oesophago-gastric junction. An anastomosis is made between the jejunum and oesophagus.

Oesophagoscopy Quick Reference: Examination of the oesophagus with an oesophagoscope.

Advanced Reference: Originally an oesophagoscope was a rigid instrument with an attached light source; however, flexible scopes with built-in fibre light sources have more or less replaced the rigid variety.

Oesophagus Quick Reference: Food canal, gullet.

Advanced Reference: The oesophagus extends from the pharynx to the stomach, passing through the chest and diaphragm. In the adult is approximately 23-25 cm long.

Oestrogen Quick Reference: (east-ro-gen) Female sex hormone.

Advanced Reference: Oestradiol is the hormone naturally secreted by the female ovaries and any substance which has a similar action to this hormone is called an oestrogen. Oestrogens are involved in the development of the secondary sexual characteristics at puberty, stimulation of menstruation and suppression of ovulation. They may be natural or synthetic, are used in the contraceptive pill and for treating certain menstrual disorders. Oestrogens are associated with an increased risk of intravascular clotting.

Ohm Quick Reference: SI unit of electrical resistance.

Advanced Reference: Ohm's law involves the resistance of a current passing through a conductor:

voltage = current (amperes) X resistance (Ohms) or with reference to the flow of fluids; pressure = flow X resistance.

Olecranon Quick Reference: Upper end of the ulna bone.

Advanced Reference: Forms the point or prominence of the elbow. J

Olfactory Quick Reference: Concerned with the sense of smell.

Advanced Reference: The olfactory nerve conveys the sensations of 2 smell from the nose to the brain. It is the first cranial nerve and runs from the upper part of the nose through the ethmoid bone and into the brain. J Injury or disease to this nerve causes a loss of smell. «

Oliguria Quick Reference: Diminished flow of urine. °

Advanced Reference: May be due to severe dehydration or renal failure.

Omentum Quick Reference: Apron of peritoneum which hangs from the g-stomach and colon to lie in front of the intestines.


Advanced Reference: Referred to as the abdominal policeman as it may adhere to inflamed areas in an attempt to separate them off from the rest of the abdominal cavity. There are in fact two sections of the omentum; greater, which hangs from the greater curvature of the stomach in front of the intestine and the lesser, which is attached to the lesser curvature of the stomach and attaches the stomach to the undersurface of the liver.

Oncology Quick Reference: The study of malignant tumours.

Advanced Reference: An oncologist is a specialist in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Also given as a second title to surgeons who deal with cancer treatment within their specific surgical speciality.

Ondansetron Quick Reference: Anti-emetic drug.

Advanced Reference: Developed to treat the severe nausea associated with chemotherapy. Often given preoperatively then at intervals during and after surgery. Most commonly known by the proprietary name, zofran.

One-lung anaesthesia Quick Reference: Anaesthetic technique used in thoracic surgery.

Advanced Reference: Involves the deliberate collapse of one lung using a bronchial blocker or endobronchial (ET) tube, usually to improve surgical access.

Oopherectomy Quick Reference: Removal of one or both ovaries.

Advanced Reference: Oophor(o)- is a prefix indicating the ovaries. Oophoropexy is the surgical fixation to the pelvic wall of a displaced ovary. An oophorosalpingectomy is the removal of an ovary and its associated uterine (fallopian) tube.

Opacity Quick Reference: Pertaining to an opaque quality.

Advanced Reference: An opaque substance neither transmits nor allows passage of light. Neither transparent or translucent. A cataract is an opacity of the lens of the eye.

Operating theatre Quick Reference: Area of a hospital where surgery is carried out.

Advanced Reference: Referred to simply as theatre. In some countries the term operating room or OR is used. Operating theatres indicates a suite of ORs or areas rather than implying the singular.

Operidine Quick Reference: A proprietary narcotic analgesic.

Advanced Reference: Operidine is a preparation of phenoperidine. Used primarily as an analgesic during surgery.

Ophthalmic Quick Reference: Relating to the eye.

Advanced Reference: Ophthalmology indicates medical and surgical care of the eyes. An ophthalmologist is a medical practitioner specialising

Oropharynx in this work. An ophthalmoscope is an illuminated instrument used for examining the interior of the eye.

Opiate Quick Reference: A narcotic drug.

Advanced Reference: Indicates a drug that is derived from opium, e.g. morphine.

Orbit Quick Reference: Bony cavity containing the eyeball.

Advanced Reference: The orbit is made up parts of eight bones.

Orchidectomy Quick Reference: Removal of one or both testicles.

Advanced Reference: The testicles are referred to as orchids. The prefix orchi(o)- indicates the testis or of the testicles. Orchitis is inflammation of the testis.

Orchidopexy Quick Reference: It is fixation of the testis into the scrotum.

Advanced Reference: Commonly carried out because of torsion of the testis or to prevent it happening if there is a potential risk.

Organ donation Quick Reference: Refers to giving a body organ for transplantation. Many members of the UK public carry donor cards indicating their willingness for organs to be used for transplantation in the event of their death. Some countries operate a system directly opposite to this arrangement where organs may be taken unless objection to removal has been specifically stated.

Advanced Reference: Usually involves hearts, lungs, kidneys, liver and cornea. Donation can be from both live and cadaver sources. The term harvesting is used when a number of organs are to be retrieved from a cadaver. Organs such as a kidney donated by a living relative are termed 'live-related donors.'

Organ of Corti Quick Reference: The true organ of hearing.

Advanced Reference: The organ of Corti is situated within the membranous labyrinth of the cochlea.

Orifice Quick Reference: An opening.

Advanced Reference: Can be applied to a number of bodily openings, e.g. mouth, anus and ear. J

Oropharyngeal Quick Reference: (oro-farin-geal) Indicates approaching ■■§ or entering the pharynx via the oral cavity. ^

Advanced Reference: Term used with reference to airways. Oropharyngeal is an airway placed in the mouth reaching back into the pharynx and a Nasopharyngeal airway is an airway placed in one nostril and reaches back into the pharynx. Assessment of length measurement is from the ear to corner of the mouth.

Oropharynx Quick Reference: (oro-farinx) The lower part of the pharynx.

Advanced Reference: Situated below the nasopharynx, behind the tongue.


Orthopaedics Quick Reference: Bones, joints and muscles.

Advanced Reference: Orthopaedics is the branch of surgery related to disease, injuries and distortion of the bones, joints and muscles. The word orthopaedics itself means straight children.Going back to the time when children suffered with rickettes, the main aim then, was to straighten their bones.

Orthopnoea Quick Reference: Breathing with relation to body position, i.e. unless in an upright position.

Advanced Reference: Refers to when a patient may have difficulty in breathing when laying flat, etc. Seen in patients with heart and lung conditions.

Oscilloscope Quick Reference: Apparatus which displays recorded signals usually on a screen.

Advanced Reference: Regular use is made of oscilloscopes with electro-cardiographical (ECG) reading and recording.

Oscillotonometer Quick Reference: Apparatus used to indirectly record blood pressure (BP).

Advanced Reference: A non-invasive method of reading BP. The Von Recklinghausen oscillotonometer consists of a double cuff, one to occlude the artery and the other, a sensing cuff, attached to an inflating bulb and reading dial. Following inflation, slow release of pressure allows for deflections of the oscillating needle as systolic and diastolic pressures to kick in and record a reading.

Osmolality Quick Reference: Expression of concentration of active particles in solution.

Advanced Reference: Osmolality is the number of osmoles per kilogram solvent.

Osmosis Quick Reference: Selective migration of molecules through semipermeable membranes.

Advanced Reference: The passage of fluid from a low-concentration solution to one of a higher concentration through a semipermeable membrane. Osmotic pressure refers to the pressure exerted by large molecules such as globulin proteins in the blood which assist in drawing fluid into the circulation from surrounding tissues.

Osseous Quick Reference: Pertaining to bone.

Advanced Reference: Consisting of or resembling bone.

Ossicles Quick Reference: Small bones of the middle ear.

Advanced Reference: The ossicles comprise of the malleus, incus and stapes, all involved in the relay of sound waves.

Osteo- Quick Reference: Refers to bone, a prefix.


Advanced Reference: Used as a prefix when referring to a bone condition/ procedure in medicine(osteotomy).

Osteotomy Quick Reference: A surgical operation of cutting a bone.

Advanced Reference: Cutting into or through a bone. May be performed to correct a deformity.

Otitis media Quick Reference: Inflammation of the middle ear.

Advanced Reference: Due to infection within the ear drum which commonly arises in the back of the nose and reaches the ear via the eustachian tube.

Otorrhoea Quick Reference: (ot-or-ea) A watery discharge from the ear.

Advanced Reference: A discharge from the ear often caused by an ear infection (otitis media).

Otrivine Quick Reference: A proprietary nasal decongestant.

Advanced Reference: A sympathomimetic in the form of drops and spray which may be used during nasal surgery.

Ouabaine Quick Reference: (u-bane) Proprietary heart-stimulant drug.

Advanced Reference: Used to treat various forms of heart attack, heart failure and sever heartbeat irregularity.

Oval window Quick Reference: Oval-shaped aperture in the wall of the middle ear.

Advanced Reference: Leads to the inner ear.

Ovaries Quick Reference: Female sex glands.

Advanced Reference: Two almond-shaped glands, situated in the pelvis in the female body. They are responsible for producing ova which pass down the fallopian tubes into the uterus and hormones which help control the menstrual cycle.

Oxford Quick Reference: Refers to a number of anaesthetic-related adjuncts.

Advanced Reference: There is an oxford ventilator, tracheal tube, airway, 7 vaporiser and infant laryngoscope blade. ®

Oxidation Quick Reference: Rust is a form of oxidation. 2

Advanced Reference: Combination of a substance with oxygen.

Oximeter Quick Reference: A piece of monitoring equipment used to ^ determine the oxygen saturation of the blood. ®

Advanced Reference: The oximeter probe can be attached to an ear or c? finger to measure the level of oxygen saturation in the blood. Usually is available as a pulse-oximeter which have the facility for providing both S. pulse rate and oxygen saturation. O


Oxygen Quick Reference: A colourless, odourless gas necessary to support life.

Advanced Reference: Oxygen is essential for life. It is transported to the tissues from the lungs in combination with the blood pigment haemoglobin.

Oxygen bypass Quick Reference: System for direct oxygen delivery built into anaesthetic machines.

Advanced Reference: Arrangement for bypassing oxygen delivery from going through the flowmeters to direct delivery via the fresh gas flow (FGF) route, usually by operation of a push-button or trigger mounted conveniently on the anaesthetic machine.

Oxygen failure device Quick Reference: Device fitted into anaesthetic machines.

Advanced Reference: Similar ideas and early versions were referred to as a Bowsons whistle. Although differing in function, the intention remains to provide an audible warning when oxygen availability and delivery to the patient fails.

Oxyhaemoglobin Quick Reference: Haemoglobin which has been oxygenated.

Advanced Reference: Oxygenation of haemoglobin is present in arterial blood and deoxygenated in venous blood.

Oxytocin Quick Reference: A hormone of the pituitary gland.

Advanced Reference: Oxytocin stimulates contraction of the uterus which is especially sensitive to its action towards the end of pregnancy. Used to institute contractions of the uterus, if labour is delayed.

Ozone Quick Reference: Form of oxygen.

Advanced Reference: Ozone has three atoms instead of two (O3).

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