Glossary of Terms

ADDITIVE - Any drug that is added to another solution container.

ADMINISTRATION SET - Tubing used to connect solution or medication to the catheter.

ALCOHOL - An antiseptic used to destroy or slow the growth of microorganisms. Alcohol is used to clean the surface of the skin and supplies.

AMPULE - A small glass drug container that contains only one dose of a drug.

ANTIBIOTIC - Medication used to fight infection.

ANTISEPTIC - A chemical substance used to destroy or slow the growth of microorganisms.

ASEPTIC TECHNIQUE - Special methods of handling supplies to keep them sterile.

CARBOHYDRATES - A nutrient which is a source of energy (calories) for the body. Dextrose is the carbohydrates used in PN.

CATHETER CLAMP - A device used to pinch the catheter tubing so air will not enter the bloodstream when the end of the catheter is opened.

CENTRAL VENOUS CATHETER - A specially designed piece of tubing that is inserted into a large vein. This catheter is usually placed for IV therapies given over an extended period of time.

CLEAN ENVIRONMENT - An area that contains only a limited number of microorganisms and is free from obvious soil.

CONSTIPATION - Decreased bowel movements; usually hard and sometimes painful.

CONTAMINATION - The introduction of microorganisms onto a previously clean or sterile surface. When any supply is contaminated it must be discarded.

DEHYDRATION - Decreased level of fluid in the body (may be caused by diarrhea; vomiting; a large output of fluid.) May cause thirstiness and decreased urine output.

DIARRHEA - Frequent, loose, watery bowel movements.

DISTAL END - The end of the intravenous tubing that is plugged into the catheter hub.

DRESSING - A covering placed on top of the catheter exit site after the surrounding skin has been cleansed.

DUODENUM - The first part of the small intestine.

ELECTROLYTES - Substances, such as potassium and sodium, that are essential to maintaining a balance between cells in the body. IV solutions contain electrolytes to replace those lost through normal body functions.

EXIT SITE - The opening in your skin where the catheter exits from the body.

EXPIRATION DATE - The date written on medication labels after which a medication should not be used.
FAT EMULSION - An intravenous formulation of fatty acids used to provide calories and essential fats. Typically found in PN formulation.

FILTER - A safety device sometimes added to IV tubing that traps tiny particles and air bubbles before they enter the blood stream.

GLUCOSE - A sugar also called Dextrose, which provides calories in PN. It is the main sugar in the blood and body fluids.

HEPARIN - A drug used to prevent blood from clotting inside the catheter when not infusing.

HUBER NEEDLE - A non-coring needle used to enter a subcutaneous port.

INFECTION - The body’s reaction to the presence of harmful microorganisms often having symptoms of fever, chills, swelling, tenderness, pain, redness, or the presence of pus.

INFILTRATION - Leakage of IV solution out of the vein and into the surrounding tissues. The skin may look swollen or feel cool to the touch.

INFUSE - Putting a medication or solution in the vein through a needle or catheter.

INJECTION CAP - Rubber stopper on the end of the catheter used to connect the tubing to the catheter.

INSULIN - A hormone needed in order for the body to use carbohydrates effectively. Even though the body makes insulin, extra insulin may be added to the PN.

INTERMITTENT - On and off, not all the time.

INTRASPINAL/INRATHECAL - These terms refer to infusion of medications into the spaces next to the spinal cord, such as, the subarachnoid space and the epidural space. Usually used for pain medications.

INTRAVENOUS - Inside the vein. Abbreviation = IV.

LETHARGY - Feeling tired or sleepy; lack of energy.

LIPIDS - See Fat Emulsion.

LITER - Measurement of liquids almost equal to one quart.

LUMEN - The opening in a catheter.

KETODIASTIX - A chemically treated strip of paper to detect sugar and ketone in the urine. It is used to measure tolerance to dextrose in the PN.

MICROORGANISMS - Organisms too small to see, such as bacteria and viruses, which can cause infection.

MILLILITER - A unit of measure used to describe the volume of drug. Abbreviation = ml. same as a cc.

MINERALS - Inorganic substances, such as magnesium and calcium, that are essential to the functioning of the body.

NUTRIENTS - Parts of foods that nourish the body, i.e., vitamins, minerals, fats, protein, carbohydrates and water.

OCCLUSION - Obstruction in flow, usually referring to a clot inside the catheter or a kink in the IV tubing.

PARENTERAL - Outside the intestine. In IV therapy, it refers to infusing fluids into the vein, i.e., intravenously.

PARENTERAL NUTRITION - A solution of the total nutrients needed by the body delivered directly into the bloodstream. Also referred to as Parenteral Nutrition (PN) or Home Parenteral Nutrition (HPN).

PERIPHERAL IV - A catheter placed into a surface vein of the hand or arm, usually for short term IV therapy.

PHLEBITIS - Inflammation of the vein around an IV catheter. The area may be red, swollen, warm or tender to the touch. It may be caused by the catheter, medication or infection.

POVIDONE IODINE - An antiseptic used to destroy or slow the growth of microorganisms. Also called Betadine. It may be used to clean the area around the catheter and IV supply surfaces.

PRIME - To force liquid into the tubing. To purge the air from the tubing. Also called purge.

RATE - How fast the solution is infused.

RESIDUAL - Contents in the stomach since the last meal.

SASH - A term, which describes the order the items are used in a catheter flushing method:
S = Saline
A = Antibiotic
S = Saline
H = Heparin

SEPSIS - Infection in the blood stream causing fever and chills.

SHARPS - Items that can puncture the skin, such as needles and IV catheters. Sharps should be disposed of in a special “Sharps container.”

SODIUM CHLORIDE - A sterile salt-water solution used for flushing catheters in order to clear the inside of a tubing.

STERILE - Free of all microorganisms.

STOMA - Surgical opening through which a feeding tube enters the body.

SUBCUTANEOUS - Under the skin. In IV therapy, it refers to infusing medications under skin surface.

SUBCUTANEOUS PORT - A catheter system in which the port, or reservoir is placed directly under the skin. The catheter is threaded through a large vein or cavity. The catheter is entered by inserting a non-coring needle into the port section directly under the skin. Usually used for extended IV therapy.

SYSTEMIC - Refers to the whole body.

TAPERING - Gradual building up or slowing down of rate of solution infusion to maintain blood sugar levels.

TRACE MINERALS - Required by the body in small amounts, i.e., zinc and copper.

VIAL - A sterile drug container that contains one or more doses of medication.

VITAMINS - Nutrients essential to the body in small amounts, such as Vitamin A, B, C, etc.

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