Ulcer Quick Reference: Chronic defect in the surface of skin or mucous membrane.

Advanced Reference: Can be due to many causes and occur in numerous sites, i.e. gastric and duodenal ulcers of the stomach, leg ulcers involved with varicose veins, rodent ulcers associated with tumour formation.

Ulceration Quick Reference: The formation of ulcer.

Advanced Reference: Ulceration defines the break in continuity with the tissue surface. This can occur due to pressure on the skin surface causing restricted blood flow and potential necrosis of the tissue. Ulceration can occur within the trachea due to direct and overpressure of the inflated endotracheal (ET) tube cuff.

Ulcerative colitis Quick Reference: Disease of the colon and rectum.

Advanced Reference: The condition involves inflammation of the large bowel and possible ulceration. Cause is unknown but theories range from infection, allergy and auto-immune reaction.

Ulna Quick Reference: The bone on the underside of the forearm connecting between the wrist and the humerus.

Advanced Reference: The ulna is one of the essential structures of the forearm along with the radius. Both bones give protection to the radial and ulnar artery that run parallel to the bone surface. The ulnar nerve is a branch of the brachial plexus which descends on the medial side of the upper arm to the elbow. It is one of the most prominent nerves in terms of injury and damage in relation to patient positioning on the operating table.

Ultrasonic Quick Reference: Sound waves which are beyond the upper range audible to humans.

Advanced Reference: Utilised in various forms with medical and diagnostic equipment, i.e. Electrical shock wave electrical shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL), ultrasound, etc.

Ultrasonic washer Quick Reference: A device used to clean debris from the surface of surgical instruments.

Advanced Reference: The device emits ultrasonic waves which create high ripples that strike the object at a fast-rate shaking off the debris.


Ultrasound Quick Reference: The utilisation of ultrasonic waves to examine the interior of the body.

Advanced Reference: Also used therapeutically in the treatment of soft tissue pain and lithotripsy shock wave therapy to break up renal stones.

Umbilical cord Quick Reference: (um-bill-i-cal) Cord which connects an unborn infant to its placenta.

Advanced Reference: The cord which supplies nourishment to the foetus and is composed mainly of two arteries and a vein plus vestigal structures surrounded by a membrane.

Umbilicus Quick Reference: The navel.

Advanced Reference: Depression in the middle of the abdomen where the umbilical cord enters.

Underwater seal drainage Quick Reference: Type of chest drain.

Advanced Reference: Used after chest surgery, the drain is inserted into the pleura as a way of equalising pressure with the atmosphere. Allowing air into the pleura would cause collapse of the lung. The tubing from the pleura connects to a further tubing whose end is placed under the surface of sterile water in a jar and so allows air, etc. to exit the pleura but no air to enter and cause lung collapse.

Unit Quick Reference: Single item.

Advanced Reference: Quantity. Designates as a standard of measurement.

Universal precautions Quick Reference: Infection control guidelines designed to protect workers from exposure to diseases spread by blood and certain body fluids.

Advanced Reference: Universal precautions apply to tissue, blood and other body fluids, e.g. semen and vaginal secretions. Formulated in America in 1987 by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and basically indicates that all patients should be treated as positive until proved negative.

Uraemia Quick Reference: (you-rem-e-a) Excess of urea in the blood.

Advanced Reference: Results from defective function of the kidneys.

< Urea Quick Reference: End product of protein breakdown.

£ Advanced Reference: Urea is excreted in the urine. An excess in the

2 blood is termed uraemia.

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