Medical Test Glossary

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Medical Test Glossary

24-Hour Urine Sample
All urine produced during a 24-hour period is collected and tested. This test is done in place of a random sample because it captures fluctuations in urine content throughout an entire day.

Abdominal Ultrasound
A test that uses sound waves to produce an image of organs in the abdomen.

Abnormal
A term used to describe anything that is not normal or that does not reflect typical condition, behavior or structure.

ABO Blood Groups
The classification of human blood types that is based on the occurrence of particular proteins in red blood cells. Human blood type is either A, B, AB or O.

Air Contrast Barium Enema
A test in which air is inserted into the intestines through the anus to provide contrast during x-rays.

Allergen
Anything that might cause an allergic reaction when it comes in contact with the human body.

Amniocentesis
A prenatal test in which an obstetrician inserts a needle into the uterus to withdrawl amniotic fluid, which is then tested for certain abnormalities.

Anesthetic
An anesthetic supresses pain during a medical or dental procedure.

Angiogram
An x-ray that captures images of blood flow to the heart.

Angioplasty
A surgical procedure that either widens or reconstructs a blood vessel to restore it to proper function.

Antigen
An antigen is a substance that causes the body to produce an antibody.

Arthroscopy
A procedure in which an endoscope is used to view the inside of a joint.

Audiogram
A graph that indicates the results of a hearing test.

Autopsy
A medical exam in which one determines a deceased person's exact cause of death.

Benign
Benign is a term that indicates that the condition, disease or growth is non-cancerous or of mild consequence to a patient.

Bicarbonate Test (HCO3)
A test that evaluates blood pH, specifically the presence of bicarbonate.

Biopsy
A procedure in which fluid or tissue is removed from a patient for testing.

Blood Count
The amount of red or white blood cells present in a cubic millimeter of blood.

Blood Pressure
The pressure of blood in the arteries measured in systolic and diastolic pressure.

Breast Self-Examination
An exam performed by an individual to assess changes in breast tissue.

Bronchoscope
A tube with a lens and light that is used to examine one's lungs, bronchi and trachea.

Bronchoscopy
The examination of the trachea using a bronchoscope.

Cervical Smear (Pap) Test
A test in which a small collection of cervical cells are evaluated for abnormalities.

Cholesterol Test
A blood test that evaluates how many cholesterol and triglyceride substances are present in the blood.

Chorionic Villus Sampling
A prenatal test in which tissue is removed from the placenta through a needle inserted into the uterus or a tube inserted through the vagina.

Chromosome Analysis
The evaluation of one's chromosomes to help determine if one has any abnormalities, or to provide more information if one is already known to have abnormalities.

Colonoscopy
A procedure in which a lighted instrument is used to view the insides of the colon and rectum for abnormalities.

Colposcope
An instrument that shows an englarged view of cells in the vagina and cervix for further study.

Colposcopy
The examination of vaginal and cervical cells using a colposcope.

Complete Blood Count
A calculation that includes the number of red blood cells, white blood cells, differential blood, platelet count, erythrocyte indices and hemotocrit.

Contrast Medium
A substance used internally that helps to highlight or provide contrast during an x-ray, MRI or other imaging test.

CT Scan (CAT Scan)
A series of images that produce a cross-sectional picture of the section of body in question.

Dermatoscopy
A test in which the skin is inspected using a lens or other microscope.

Diastolic Blood Pressure
Diastolic blood pressure is the pressure between heartbeats.

DNA
The genetic code present in cells.

Doppler Ultrasound
A test in which sound waves help to produce images that show how blood flows through one's arteries and veins in their legs and neck.

Double Contrast Barium Enema
A chalky solution used to highlight the colon and rectum during a series of x-rays.

DRE
A digital rectal exaqm that is used to examine the prostate.

Echocardiogram
The record produced during an echocardiography.

Echocardiography
An ultrasound of the heart that produces an echocardiogram, or images of the heart's structure and motion.

Electrocardiogram
Also called an EKG or ECG, a recording of heart activity displayed in a graphic.

Electroencephalography (EEG)
A test in which the brain's electrical impulses are recorded for further evaluation.

Electromyogram
A graph that illustrates muscular activity during a test to measure such activity.

Endoscope
An instrument that is used during biopsies or other surgical procedures to see inside of a canal or other hard-to-see area.

False-Negative
An incorrect negative test result.

False-Positive
An incorrect positive test result.

Fecal Occult Blood Test
A test that uses a chemical solution to detect abnormalities in the stool.

Fluoroscopy
A test in which x-rays are projected through the body onto a fluorescent screen to evaluation organ structure and function.

Functional Testing
A test used to determine if something functions properly in the body.

Guthrie Test
A blood test that evaluates a newborn for phenylketonuria.

Hereditary
A genetic condition inherited by offspring.

Hysteroscopy
A procedure in which an instrument is used to view the inside of the uterus and cervix.

In Utero
In utero refers to anything that happens to a fetus while in the uterus.

In Vitro
In vitro refers to something that occurs while outside of the body, as in a laboratory or other artificial environment.

In Vivo
In vivo means something that occurs within the body.

Infertility Test
A test that helps a doctor to determine factors that are prohibiting a couple from becoming pregnant.

Joint Fluid Analysis
A test that evaluates joint fluid using a microscope to help determine why one experiences pain.

Laparoscopy
A procedure using a lighted tube that allows doctors to examine internal organs or perform surgical procedures with minimal incisions.

Lesion
A lesion is an abnormality of an organ or tissue.

Lipase Test
A test that measures one's lipase enzyme count in the blood.

Lung Biopsy
The removal of a small piece of one's lung to evaluate it for the presence of cancerous tissue or other abnormalities.

Malignant
Malignant is often used to describe tissue that is cancerous, malignant means something that is harmful to the body.

Mammogram
An x-ray of the breasts that is typically used to scan for abnormalities such as cysts or cancer.

Mediastinoscopy
In this procedure, an endocsope is inserted through a neck incision so that a doctor may view the central chest.

Monoclonal Antibodies
A laboratory-produced antibody that helps detect and diagnose cancer.

MRI
A magnetic resonance imaging test uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce pictures that are more detailed than other tests, such an x-ray, can provide.

Neurologic
Neurologic refers to anything that involves the nervous system.

Ophthalmoscopy
The examination of the eye with a lighted instrument.

Oral
Oral refers to conditions affecting the mouth.

Precancerous
Refers to anything that is not cancerous, but shows signs and symptoms of becoming cancerous.

Qualitative Test Results
Qualitative test results explain the presence or absence of something.

Quantitative Test Results
Quantitative test results are those that use numbers.

Quantity Testing
Quantity testing measures the amount of a particular substance.

Radioactive Iodine Uptake Test
A test that measures how the thyroid absorbs substances from the bloodstream.

Random Blood Sample
A blood sample that is collected without regard to the time of day or other factors.

Random Urine Sample
A sample of urine collected without regard to the time of day.

Reagent
A reagent is a substance used during a laboratory test.

Rheumatoid Factor Blood Test
A test used to measure the blood's content of RF antibodies.

Rubella Blood Test
A blood test that measures rubella antibodies.

Schilling 24-hour Urine Test
A test that evaluates urine over a 24-hour period to evaluate how well vitamin B-12 is absorbed by the body.

Sensitivity
A test's ability to identify diseases through the detection of a small reaction or substance.

Sickle Cell Test
A sickle cell test uses high-performance liquid chromatography to determine if the blood contains normal or abnormal hemoglobin.

Sigmoidoscopy
An exam of the inside of the colon and rectum with an instrument that is lighted.

Skin Biopsy
A medical procedure in which a small sample of skin is removed to be evaluated under a microscope for abnormalities.

Specificity
A test's ability to exclude substances that do not pertain to the test at hand.

Speculum
An instrument that is used to open a cavity or passage that is too small to be seen unaided.

Systolic Blood Pressure
Systolic blood pressure is the peak blood pressure that occurs when the heart contracts.

Testicular Biopsy
A medical procedure in which a small sample of testicular tissue is removed and evaluated under a microscope for abnormalities.

Throat Culture
A swab of throat cells that are evaluated for infection.

Timed Urine Sample
Urine that is collected over time or at specific intervals.

Titer
A measurement unit used in testing.

Toxicology Test
Tests that evaluate hair, urine and blood for drugs.

Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
A procedure that uses a lighted instrument so that a doctor can see the insides of one's esophagus, stomach and intestine.

Urinalysis
A test to evaluate urine that may look for the presence of drugs, pregnancy hormone or disease or illness.

Whole Blood
Blood that is not separated after collection for testing.

X-Rays
X-rays use radiation waves that can pass through the human body to produce an image of one's bones and large organs.

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