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Glossary of terms

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hemangiomas
Raised birthmarks that consist of a clump of blood vessels that did not grow normally. They are often found on the face in many sizes and shapes and are usually blue, red, or purple.

hematoma
A collection of blood formed when small blood vessels are damaged, causing bleeding into the tissues.

hemodialysis
A procedure often required at regular intervals by patients whose kidneys no longer are able to remove waste materials from the blood. A machine performs this function instead and the cleansed blood then is returned to the patient.

hemoglobin
The iron-rich protein that carries oxygen inside the red blood cells and gives blood its red color.

hemorrhage
The flow of blood from a ruptured blood vessel.

hemorrhagic stroke
A stroke in which blood flow to part of the brain is interrupted as a result of a ruptured blood vessel.

hemothorax
Excess blood in the pleural space caused by a chest injury, tumor or other bleeding problems.

heparin
A drug that thins the blood and helps to prevent abnormal blood clotting.

hepatic vein
There are three hepatic veins: the right, middle, and left hepatic veins drain blood from the liver back toward the heart.

hepatobiliary system
The liver, gall bladder and bile ducts. The liver produces and secretes bile which is stored in the gallbladder and released through tubular passageways called bile ducts into the bowel to help digest fat and carry away waste.

hepatocellular carcinoma
The most common type of primary liver cancer that starts in the main cells of the liver.

hepatoma
Short for hepatocellular carcinoma.
The most common type of primary liver cancer that originates from the main cells of the liver.

hereditary diffuse gastric cancer
A hereditary condition associated with an increased risk of stomach cancer.

hereditary disorders
Medical conditions that are passed on genetically from parent to child.

herniated disk
Protrusion of a degenerated or fragmented vertebral disk with potential compression of nerves in the spine.

hiatal hernia
An abnormality in which part of the stomach protrudes through the diaphragm.

high-dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy
One of two types of temporary brachytherapy, a radiation therapy treatment for cancer that involves the placement of a radioactive material directly inside the body, in or near a tumor, for a specific amount of time and then withdrawn. In HDR brachytherapy, a high dose of radiation is delivered to the tumor in a short burst, lasting only a few minutes. This treatment may be repeated several times in a day or a number of times over one or more weeks.

HIPAA
HIPAA – Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act; Federal Law as of 1996.

HIPAA security standards

The Federal Government's requirements for handling electronic media and protected health information. The standards address the following:

  1. Ensuring confidentiality, integrity and availability of all electronic protected health information (ePHI) created, received, maintained, or transmitted by a healthcare entity.
  2. Protecting against any reasonably anticipated threats or hazards to security or integrity of ePHI.
  3. Protecting against any reasonably anticipated uses or disclosures of ePHI that are not permitted or required for the care of the patient.
  4. Ensuring compliance by the workforce.

hives
Confined, short-term elevation or irregular fluid-filled spot on the skin, slightly reddened, often changing in size and shape and extending to adjacent areas. Hives suddenly erupt and are usually accompanied by intense itching; usually produced by exposure to allergenic substances in susceptible persons.

Hodgkin lymphoma (HL)
One of two major types of lymphoma, a cancer that develops in the white blood cells (lymphocytes) of the lymphatic system, which is part of the body’s immune system.

hormone
A complex chemical substance produced in one part or organ of the body that sets the pace for the activity of an organ or group of cells in another part of the body.

hospice
A family-centered system of care that attempts to keep chronically ill and terminal patients as comfortable and active as possible.

hospital information system (HIS)
Also called an EMR (Electronic Medical Record) or EHR (Electronic Health Record). See Electronic Medical Record.

human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
A virus spread through body fluids that affects specific cells of the immune system and can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

human papilloma virus (HPV)
A collection of infectious viruses that are spread through intercourse. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease (STD).

hydrocephalus
A condition marked by an excessive accumulation of fluid resulting in enlarging of the brain cavities and raised pressure within the skull; may also result in enlargement of the skull and wasting of the brain.

hyperfractionation
The process of administering a dose of radiation in smaller units two to three times a day, as opposed to a larger amount once a day.

hyperparathyroidism
An excessive hormone production by the parathyroid gland(s).

hyperthyroidism
A condition, also called Graves' disease, in which the thyroid gland produces more thyroid hormone than the body needs. Symptoms include an enlarged thyroid gland, rapid heart rate, and high blood pressure.

hypothyroidism
A condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone for the body's needs. Symptoms include weight gain, energy loss, and dry skin.

hysterectomy
Surgical removal of the uterus.

hysterosalpingography
An x-ray examination of the uterus and fallopian tubes performed after the injection of a contrast material.

hysteroscope
A narrow lighted tube with an optical instrument or viewing device on the end that is used to examine the inside of the uterus.

hysteroscopy
An examination of the uterus using a hysteroscope, a narrow lighted tube with an optical instrument or viewing device on the end that is inserted into the vagina.