Waldeyer's ring Quick Reference: (wall-ders) A circle of lymphoid tissue found at the entrance to the pharynx.

Advanced Reference: Specialised lymphoid tissue involving tonsils, adenoids and lingual tonsil and acts as the first line of defence against upper respiratory tract infections.

Warfarin Quick Reference: (warf-a-rin)A compound that prevents the clotting of blood.

Advanced Reference: Works by counteracting vitamin K. Usually given orally in the treatment of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism, after vascular surgery and following the replacement of heart valves. Also used as a rat poison.

Warming blanket Quick Reference: Broad term for equipment and various devices used to maintain patients temperature during surgery.

Advanced Reference: Various designs of under- and over-blankets are now used. The term warming blanket was used at one time to mainly indicate water blankets which were placed on the operating table under the patient with some designs having ripple facility. Most designs now utilise warm air flow as the heating method.

Waterlow scale Quick Reference: Pressure sore prevention policy.

Advanced Reference: It is basically a risk assessment tool for pressure sore prevention based on risk factors which include build/weight, continence, skin type, mobility, sex/age, appetite and special risks, malnutrition, neurological deficit, surgery/trauma and medications. The patient is given a score for each and added together can provide a cumulative-risk status.

Water manometer Quick Reference: Measuring scale used for central venous pressure (CVP).

Advanced Reference: Involves a drip set connected to a three-way tap at the junction of the patient line and the vertical manometer scale which reads in cmH2O. When the tap is directed appropriately, backpressure causes a rise in fluid from the intravenous (IV) bag up the manometer limb and levels out at the pressure exerted by the patients CVP.


Importantly, the 0 (zero) on the manometer scale must be at a set level (right atrium) at all times for accurate readings. In between readings, the tap can be directed so that the apparatus functions as a standard IV line.

Waters Quick Reference: Collection of various anaesthetic-related equipment named after or devised by the American anaesthetist R.M. Waters.

Advanced Reference: Known most significantly for the Waters circuit, known as the to-and-fro system which incorporated a soda-lime canister into the circuit for carbon dioxide (CO2) absorption. Now widely used without the canister but still referred to as Waters. Also, the Waters oropha-ryngeal airway made of metal with a side-arm for attaching a gas supply.

Water soluble Quick Reference: Indicates that a substance can be washed away with water or will dissolve into water.

Advanced Reference: There are a number of substances and medications which fall into this category, e.g. water-soluble lubricants, certain contrast mediums used during angiography, etc.

Watt Quick Reference: SI unit of power.

Advanced Reference: Equal to 1 joule per second.

Weal Quick Reference: Localised area of oedema.

Advanced Reference: Commonly found on the skin and produces itching.

Weaning Quick Reference: To wean. To reduce reliance upon.

Advanced Reference: Term used with regard to minimising the patient's reliance of artificial ventilation. Also referred to during the newborn's activity for breastfeeding and removal to normal feeding.

Wedge pressure Quick Reference: Refers to pressure measured within the pulmonary arterial system.

Advanced Reference: Carried out with a CVP-type catheter (Swann-Ganz/ flotation, etc.) inserted via a central vein and guided through the right atrium to the ventricle and to eventually wedge in a branch of the pulmonary artery. The pressure recorded represents left atrial filling pressure and so, left ventricular end-diastolic pressure.

Wedge resection Quick Reference: Surgical excision of part of an organ. Advanced Reference: Example would be resection of an ovary containing a cyst. Sometimes termed wedge excision.

Welt Quick Reference: Raised ridge of skin.

Advanced Reference: Commonly caused by a blow or impact.

Wenckebach phenomenon Quick Reference: Abnormal heart rhythm. Advanced Reference: This involves the gradual increase in PR interval until a beat is missed.

Wertheims procedure Quick Reference: (vert-himes) Type of hysterectomy.

Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome

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