Glossary of Terms

This glossary of terms is meant to help everyone understand medical words. It is a place to quickly find information on medical words.

To find a word or term begin by clicking on a letter in the A-Z list. Then you can browse down the list to find the word you want. You can also type your medical word in the search box in the upper right corner and then click on the little magnifying glass.

This glossary is for information only. It should never be used instead of advice from a healthcare provider.

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to protect from disease, usually by having a needle


shot, flu shot, medication, needle

vaginal birth

birth of a baby through the birth canal (vagina) instead of by a cesarean section, which is the birth of a baby through a surgical incision in the abdomen.

vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC)

vaginal birth of a baby after a woman had a cesarean section in a prior pregnancy


prove, test


truth, proof


version, slightly different


chicken pox

varicose veins

swollen veins that you can see just underneath your skin



vascular lab - doppler imaging (doppler lab)

ultrasound imaging of blood vessels to look at blood flow to parts of your body

Doppler ultrasound is a noninvasive test that can be used to estimate the blood flow through your blood vessels by bouncing high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) off circulating red blood cells


an operation that prevents a man from being able to get a woman pregnant

venous thromboembolism (VTE)

when a clot forms in a deep vein, usually in the leg. If that clot breaks loose and travels to the lungs, it is called a pulmonary embolism or PE.

condition that includes both DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and/or PE (Pulmonary Embolism)

ventricular fibrillation (V-Fib)

when the heart quivers instead of pumping  because of an electrical problem the ventricle (lower chamber of the heart)

the most serious cardiac rhythm disturbance. The lower chambers quiver and the heart can't pump any blood, causing cardiac arrest.

ventricular tachycardia (V-Tach)

an electrical problem involving irregular heart beats in the lower chamber of your heart

a type of regular and fast heart beat that starts from improper electrical activity in the ventricles (lower chambers) of your heart


a procedure performed during an angiogram  that looks at the ventricular function of the heart.


something true, habit of always telling the truth


word for word


check, find out


blisters, small bumps on your skin


able to live, usable, can be used


viruses in your blood


strength, how dangerous a disease is


strong, dangerous

visual field

the entire area visible to your eye when you are looking straight ahead


look at, see



voiding cystourethrogram (VCUG)

a test that is commonly done after a child has a urinary tract infection (UTI)

test that uses a special x-ray technology called fluoroscopy to look at your child's urinary tract and bladder


throw up