Glossary

Institutes & Services > Women's Services
  • Adjusted age - a premature infant's age counting from the mother's due date. For example, an infant who was born at 30 weeks and is now 12 weeks old has an adjusted age of two weeks.
  • Anemia - A blood condition where there is not enough red blood cells in the blood. Red blood cells carry oxygen to the blood. Premature and sick infants are not always able to make enough red blood cells to replace the ones lost when blood is taken from them for testing. They may need a blood transfusion to correct this anemia.
  • Antibiotics - Medications used to treat bacterial infections. They can also be given when an infection is strongly suspected.
  • Apgar score - A score taken at birth to measure the condition of the baby, including heart rate, respiratory effort, muscle tone, reflexes and color.
  • Apnea - When an infant stops breathing for twenty seconds or more. Premature infants often forget to breathe and may require stimulation to remind them. This is a common occurence in premature infants and usually decreases as the infant matures.
  • Artery - Blood vessels that carry oxygen rich blood throguh the body.
  • Aspirate - Milk or formula that is left in the infant's stomach from the previous feeding.
  • Aspiration - To breathe a substance into the windpipe or lungs.
  • Bagging - A procedure used to help the baby breathe. The baby is given oxygen or extra breaths through a mask placed over the mouth and nose that is connected to a Neopuff machine.
  • Bilirubin - A product of the breakdown of red blood cells. This is used to measure the level of jaundice. It is filtered out by the liver. Premature infants have a higher risk of jaundice due to the liver being immature
  • Blood culture - A blood sample sent to the lab to rest for infection
  • Blood gas - A blood test that measures the amount of oxygen, carbion dioxide and acid in the blood.
  • Blood pressure - A measure of the force of blood moving through the blood vessels. This can be taken by a blood pressure cuff periodically or can be continuouly monitored by an umbilical artery catheter or peripheral arterial line.
  • Blood tranfusion - the administration of blood, platelets or plasma through an IV for low blood counts. This blood is supplied by the blood bank.
  • Blow-by Oxygen - An oxygen mask is placed next to the infant's face to give a small amount of extra oxygen. Used for desaturations or low oxgen levels.
  • Bronchopulmonary dysplasia or Chronic Lung Disease - Refers to the chronic lung disease most commonly seen in premature infants who have long-term oxygen needs.
  • Bradycardia - A heart rate less than 80. In premature infants, it is frequently associated with apnea and the frequency decreases as infant matures.
  • Carbon dioxide - The gas we breathe out as a waste product.
  • Caffeine - A medication that can be given to help with apnea and bradycardia.
  • Catheter - A tube used for putting fluids in or removing fluids from the body.
  • Complete blood count (CBC) - A blood test done to determine if an infant has an infection and/or if the infant is anemic.
  • Chest tube - A tube inserted into the chest to remove air or fluid.
  • Corrected age - The baby's gestational age plus the chronological age. For example, an infant born at 30 weeks gestation who is now 3 weeks old has a corrected age of 33 weeks
  • Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) - A continuous flow of pressurized air and oxygen into the lungs through a mask or prongs in the infant's nose. The baby is doing all of the breathing but receives a small amount of extra pressure to help the lungs inflate properly
  • Desaturation - When the infant's oxygen saturation level is below the normal range
  • Diuretic - A medication used to increase the amount of urine an infant produces and decrease the extra fluid in the body
  • Echocardiogram - An ultrasound of the heart that can identify any heart abnormalities and show how the heart is functioning.
  • Edema - Swelling due to extra fluid that can give the infant a swollen appearance.
  • Electrolytes - The measurement of important minerals, including sodium, potassium, and chloride, in an infant's blood.
  • Endotracheal tube (ETT) - A soft plastic tube placed into the infant's mouth and into the windpipe. It is connected to a ventilator. When an infant has an ETT, they are unable to make any noise. Intubation is the process of inserting the ETT and extubation is the process of removing the ETT.
  • Human milk fortifier (HMF) - A powder substance that can be added to breastmilk. It provides extra calories, minerals, protein, and vitamins.
  • Gavage - A method of feeding infants through a tube that goes from the mouth or nose into the stomach. The tube can be left in place between feedings without bothering the baby. Premature infants often require tube feedings since they are often unable to coordinate sucking, swallowing, and breathing
  • Gestational age - The number of weeks the infant is carried in the mother's womb
  • Glucose - A type of sugar in the blood. This can be tested by a small blood sample
  • Glycerin enema - A glycerin suppository that can help the infant have a bowel movement
  • Hearing screen - A test done to test the infant's hearing
  • Heart rate monitor - A monitor that displays the waveform and rate of the infant's heart rate and respirations. This is monitored through three adhesive leads placed on the infant's skin. An alarm rings if the readings are not within normal limits.
  • Heelstick - A method of obtaining blood from an infant by pricking the heel.
  • Hematocrit - The amount of red blood cells in the body.
  • Hyperalimentation - Also referred to as TPN, this is IV nutrition given through a vein. It is used for infants who cannot be fed breast milk or formula or as a supplement until the baby is on full feedings.
  • Hypoglycemia - Low blood sugar levels in the body.
  • Hypoxia- A decrease in the level of oxygen in the blood.
  • Infiltrate- A term used to refer to an IV that is no longer in the vein and must be re-started
  • Intralipids - A white, high-calorie fat solution that is given IV.
  • IV - a small catheter placed into a vein to provide fluids, nutrition, and/or medications. Infants can have IVs in the hands, arms, feet, legs, or scalp.
  • Intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) - A condition where bleeding occurs in the ventricles of the brain. IVH is diagnosed by ultrasound.
  • Isolette - An enclosed bed that provides a warm environment and allows for easy observation of the infant.
  • Jaundice - The yellow color seen in the skin, due to build up of bilirubin in the blood. The treatment for this is phototherapy.
  • Kangaroo care - The practice of providing infants with skin-to-skin contact from their parents, enabling them to feel a sense of closeness.
  • Lumbar puncture (spinal tap) - A sterile procedure in which a needle is inserted into the space between the vertebrae. Fluid is removed and sent off to the lab for analysis and testing.
  • Meconium - This is the first stool passed by an infant. These stools can last for several days are a dark green/black in color.
  • Monitors - All infants are hooked up to a heart rate, respiratory rate and oxygen monitor on arrival to the unit. This allows us to monitor all of their vital signs and ensure they are within the normal limits. If something is abnormal with these values, an alarm will ring to alert staff to check on the infant.
  • Mucus (Secretions) - A fluid secreted by the membranes of the nose, mouth, trachea and lungs.
  • Murmur - An extra or unusual sound during a heartbeat. It is heard by using a stethoscope and listening to the heart. An echocardiogram may be done to define the cause of the murmur in some infants.
  • Nasal gastric tube - Also known as an ING, NG or OG. It is a plastic tube that is placed in the nose or mouth and goes down into the stomach. It is secured with tape. It is used for feeding  until the infant is mature enough to learn to feed by mouth.
  • Nasal cannula - Small soft, plastic prongs that is placed in the infant’s nose to deliver oxygen.
  • NEC (necrotizing enterocolitis) - A serious condition where the intestines become sick. It is treated by stopping the infant’s feedings and starting IV fluids and antibiotics. Sometimes surgery is needed to help remove the sick part of the intestine.
  • Newborn screening - All babies that are born in Ohio receive a newborn screening at 24 hours old. A small amount of blood is taken from the infant for testing. The test looks for some blood and metabolic disorders.
  • NPO - Nothing by mouth, or that the infant is not allowed to be fed either by ING or bottle.
  • Oxygen - An odorless gas needed by body cells to function. We breathe room air, which is 21%. An infant can receive up to 100% oxygen if necessary.
  • PICC (Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter) - A long plastic IV line that is placed further into a large vein using a sterile technique that can be used to deliver TPN, IV fluids or medications. This line can be left for long periods of time without having to take it out.
  • PDA (Patent Ductus Arteriosis) - The ductus is a blood vessel that keeps the blood away from the lungs before the infant is born. Usually the ductus closes shortly after birth. If the vessel stays open (or patent), it may interfere with normal blood flow to the heart and lungs. A murmur is a typical sign of a PDA and can be diagnosed with an echocardiogram.
  • Phototherapy - Also known as bililights or biliblanket. It is a special ultraviolet light that is used in the treatment of some types of jaundice. The lights help break down the bilirubin, which is then eliminated through bowel movements and urine. Eye shields are used to protect the infant’s eyes during treatment.
  • Pneumonia - An inflammation or infection in the lungs.
  • Pneumothorax - A condition where air is trapped in the space between the lungs and the outer covering of the lungs. This buildup of air compresses the lung and makes it harder for it to expand normally.
  • PPV (Positive Pressure Ventilation) - A procedure used to help a baby breathe. When the baby is apneic, breathing assistance and/or extra oxygen is given through a mask placed over the mouth and nose until the baby begins breathing on his own.
  • PO (By mouth) - This includes bottle and gavage feeding
  • Radiant warmer - A type of bed that uses an overhead heat source to help keep an infant warm after birth. A temperature probe is placed on the infant’s skin to help control the temperature.
  • Red blood cells - Responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body.
  • Reflux - A condition where contents of the stomach come back up into the esophagus and causes discomfort to the infant.
  • Respirator - See ventilator.
  • Respiratory distress syndrome - One of the most common problems found in premature infants. It occurs when there is lack of a lung fluid called surfactant. The air sacs in the lungs collapse (instead of opening up and stretching like balloons) making it difficult to get enough air into the lungs.
  • Room air - The air we breathe on a daily basis. It is made up of 21% oxygen.
  • ROP (Retinopathy of prematurity) - A condition in which there is an abnormal growth of blood vessels in the eye that can occur in babies who were born prematurely. Every infant born less than 30 weeks and or 1,500 grams will have their eyes examined when they are around six weeks old to check for ROP.
  • Sepsis - Refers to an infection that occurs in the blood. If there is any question that your infant may have an infection, blood work will be drawn to checks for infection markers.
  • Sepsis Evaluation  - Refers to the testing done when an infection is suspected. It usually includes a blood draw for a CBC and a blood culture. In some cases a lumbar puncture or urine culture will be obtained.
  • Suctioning - The removal of mucus from the mouth, nose or lungs.
  • Surfactant - An artificial substance that is delivered directly into the lungs through the breathing tube. It helps treat RDS.
  • Tachycardia - A heart rate that is faster than the average or normal range.
  • Tachypnea - A respiratory rate that is faster than the average or normal range.
  • TPN (Total Parenteral Nutrition) - Special nutrition that is given through a vein. It is made up of sugar water and essential vitamins and minerals. TPN is used in infants who cannot be fed breast milk or formula or is a supplement until full nutrition from feedings can occur.
  • Transfusion - Treatment that provides blood or blood products be given through an IV.
  • UAC (Umbilical Arterial Catheter) - A soft catheter placed into one of the umbilical cord vessels. It is used to monitor heart rate, blood pressure and give IV fluids. It is also used to obtain blood for lab testing without having to stick the infant.
  • UVC (Umbilical Venous Catheter) - A soft catheter placed into one of the umbilical cord vessels. It is used to give medications and IV fluids.
  • Ultrasound - A procedure that uses sound waves to produce a picture of internal organs. (Such as the brain, heart, kidneys, liver etc.) It is a painless procedure for the infant.
  • Ventilator - A machine used to help an infant breathe. The machine connects to the breathing tube that has been placed into the infant’s trachea.
  • Ventricles - The spaces in the brain where fluid collects and circulates
  • Vital signs - The combination of temperature, heart rate, breathing rate and blood pressure.
  • Vitamin K - A vitamin shot given shortly after birth to help the baby's blood clot normally. All infants receive this injection.
  • White blood cells - Cells in the body that are responsible for fighting infection.
  • X-rays - A picture taken at the bedside to look at internal structures of the infant’s body.

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