Emergency Department Glossary
A&O: Alert and Oriented
AED: Automatic External Defibrillator – portable electronic device that automatically diagnoses the potentially life-threatening heart activity in a patient and is able to treat them through defibrillation (electric shocks)
ALS: Advanced Life Support
AMA: Against Medical Advice
Ambulance: a vehicle that has special equipment and medical personnel for taking sick or injured people to and from the hospital, especially in emergencies
Ambulatory: able to move about (not confined to a bed)
BLS: Basic Life Support
BMP: Basic Metabolic Panel – measures glucose level, electrolyte and fluid balance, and kidney function
BP: Blood Pressure
CBC: Complete Blood Count – measures the concentration of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets in the blood
Chief Complaint: primary reason the patient came to the ED
CT Scan: Computed Tomography Scan – imaging that generates a #D image of the inside of a human or object from a large series of 2D x-ray images taken around a single axis of rotation
DNI: Do Not Intubate
DNR: Do Not Resuscitate
DOA: Dead on Arrival
DOB: Date of Birth
ECHO: a cardiac ultrasound of the heart that evaluates how the heart is beating and pumping blood
ECO: Emergency Containment Order – issued by the court if someone thinks a patient is a threat to themselves or others. The ECO allows the patient to be held against their will until a physician can evaluate and determine whether or not they are a threat.
ED: acronym for Emergency Department
EKG/ECG: Electrocardiogram – interpretation of the electrical activity of the heart over a period of time, as detected by electrodes attached to the skin and recorded by an external device
EMS: Emergency Medical Services
Express Care: minor emergency care for adult patients who have an emergency of a less serious nature, such as sore throats, fever, sprains, and lacerations.
HEENT/HENT: Head, Eyes, Ears, Nose, Throat
History of Present Illness (HPI): an explanation of the chief complaint that includes location, quality, severity, duration, timing, context, modifying factors and associated signs and symptoms.
Idiopathic: no known cause
Levels of Coding: there are six major coding levels used in the ED that denote the level of care needed by the patient – from very minor care, such as suture removal, (Level 1) to critical care that requires extensive procedures and continuous care (Level 6).
LMP: Last Menstrual Period
MedCom: Medical Communications Center – located at the UVA Medical Center and provides dispatching, communication, and monitoring for trauma alerts, plans, and inbound critical care patients.
Medic V: a mobile branch of the Medical Transport Network at the UVA Medical Center that provides urgent care to patients, visitors, and staff
MRI: Magnetic Resonance Imaging – imaging that uses a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy to make pictures of organs and structures inside the body
MVC: Motor Vehicle Collision
PCP: Primary Care Physician
Pegasus: the service for the UVA Emergency Department that provides air transport for critically ill or injured patients who need acute care and/or the fastest possible means of transportation
Physical Examination (PE): the physician evaluates a patient’s body by inspection, palpation (feeling with the hands), percussion (tapping with the fingers), and auscultation (listening with stethoscope).
Region Ten: social service board of Charlottesville responsible for mental health and substance use services
RME: Rapid Medical Evaluation
SOB: Shortness of Breath
Staff that you may see in the ED: nurses, medical scribes, patient care technicians (techs), health unit coordinators (HUCs), physicians, residents, medical students, x-ray technicians, respiratory therapists, chaplains, social workers and more!
Stress Test: measures the heart’s ability to respond to external stress in a controlled clinical environment
TDO: Temporary Detaining Order – issued if physician considers the person a threat but they refuse to be admitted. The court with issue a TDO to keep them in the hospital for a certain period of time.
US: Ultrasound – imaging that uses high-frequency sound waves to create images by detecting sound waves reflected from internal organs and structures