Intestine and Multivisceral Transplant Program Glossary

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Glossary A-B

  • Albumin: a protein made by the liver
  • Alkaline phosphatase: an enzyme produced by liver cells and other cells; blood tests that measure this enzyme indicate if the liver and bile ducts are functioning properly
  • Amylase: a substance produced by the pancreas when it is inflamed that can be measured in the blood
  • Anesthesia: medicine that is given by a specially trained physician or nurse to put a patient to sleep (general anesthesia) or numb an area of the body (local anesthesia) so that a medical procedure or operation can be done without pain
  • Antacid: a medicine that protects the digestive system; it can relieve indigestion and other digestive discomfort
  • Antibody: a protein that the body produces after fighting an infection
  • Antigen: a substance found on the surface of some cells that can trigger an immune response
  • Arteriogram: an x-ray of the arteries in which a dye is injected into the body to get a clearer picture of blood vessels and organs
  • Ascites: fluid in the abdomen
  • Bacteria: organisms or germs that can cause disease
  • Bile: a fluid produced by the liver, stored in the gallbladder and released into the small intestine to help the body digest fats
  • Bile leak: a hole in the bile duct resulting in bile spilling into the abdomen
  • Bile tube: a tube placed in the bile duct allowing bile to drain into a bag outside of the body
  • Biliary stenosis: narrowing or constriction of the bile duct
  • Biliary tree: the passageways that carry bile to the intestines located inside and outside of the liver
  • Bilirubin: an orange colored substance in the bile that is produced when red blood cells break down
  • Biopsy: the procedure that removes a piece of tissue from a part of the body and is examined in the lab
  • Bladder: the part of the urinary tract that receives urine from the kidneys and stores it until urination

Glossary C-F


  • Cadaver: the body of person who is dead
  • Cadaveric (should be deceased not cadaveric) donor: an individual whose death does not affect the quality of their organs; the individual and their family have agreed to donate organs and tissues for transplantation
  • Cardiac: the heart
  • Cardiologist: a doctor specializing in heart diseases
  • Cholesterol: a form of fat the body needs to perform certain functions; too much cholesterol can cause heart disease
  • Cirrhosis: severe scarring of the liver
  • CMV (Cytomegalovirus): a virus that lies dormant in the body and can be reactivated after transplantation causing flu like illness, pneumonia and/or gastrointestinal ulcers
  • Diabetes: a disease in which people are unable to process sugar in the body correctly
  • Donor: a person who gives an organ to someone else
  • deceased donor is an individual whose death does not affect the quality of their organs; the individual and their family have agreed to donate organs and tissues for transplantation.
  • living related donor is a donor who is a blood relative of the recipient, such as a parent or sibling
  • living unrelated donor is a donor who is not a blood relative of the recipient.
  • All living donors must pass a comprehensive medical evaluation to assure they can donate without complications. The testing for living donors may take up to two to three months.
  • EBV (Epstein Barr Virus): a virus that lies dormant in the body and can be activated after transplantation or during childhood causing flu-like illness, enlarged lymph nodes and/or general malaise
  • Edema: excess fluid in the tissues in the body; swollen ankles are a sign
  • Electrocardiogram: a recording of the electrical activity of the heart
  • Encephalopathy: a condition associated with liver disease characterized by insomnia, memory loss and an inability to concentrate or think clearly
  • Endotrachael tube: a tube inserted through the mouth or nose into the windpipe allowing people to breathe during surgery


Glossary G-L


  • Gallbladder: a sac attached to the liver that stores bile
  • Gastroenterologist: a doctor specializing in the digestive tract and its diseases
  • Gingival: enlargement of the gums resulting from some anti-rejection medications; can be managed with oral hygiene and dental care
  • Glucose: a type of sugar found in the blood
  • Hematocrit: a measure of the percent of red blood cells in the blood
  • Hepatic: having to do with the liver
  • Hepatologist: a doctor specializing in the liver and its diseases
  • Herpes: a family of viruses infecting humans and causing lip sores, genital sores and shingles
  • Hypertension: high blood pressure; can cause damage to the body by overworking the heart and blood vessels
  • Immune response: a defensive action by the immune system
  • Immunosuppressive agents: medicines to control the immune system and prevent rejection of a transplanted organ
  • International normalized ratio (INR): a standardized way of monitoring blood clotting
  • Intravenous (IV): a line that is placed into a vein through which medicines and fluids can be administered
  • Jaundice: a yellowing of the skin and eyes caused by excess bile products in the blood; common sign of liver disease
  • Liver: the largest internal organ of the body, located in the upper right portion of the abdomen; performs numerous vital functions
  • Liver enzymes (AST/SGOT/ALT/SGPT): substances produced by the liver; when there is injury to the liver these enzymes are produced in large amounts and can be measured in the blood


Glossary M-Z


  • Match: the compatibility between a recipient and a donor
  • Orally: by mouth
  • PCP (Pneumocystis Carinni Pneumonia): a type of pneumonia most often seen in patients whose immune systems are suppressed
  • PTLD (Post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease): a problem that occurs in transplant patients and is believed to be caused by an interaction between immunosuppression medications and a chronic viral infection called EBV (Epstein Barr Virus)
  • Potassium: an electrolyte responsible for vital muscle functioning
  • Prothrombin: a substance produced by the liver that helps with clotting; prothrombin is a blood test that indirectly measures the ability of the liver to produce prothrombin
  • Recipient: the person receiving a donated organ
  • Sensitized: the ability to develop an immune response to an antigen by being exposed to it at some other time
  • Shingles: a condition caused by a virus that lies dormant in a nerve root after having chicken pox and when activated can cause blisters and pain in a area of the body
  • Sodium: electrolyte that is the main salt in the blood; also one component of table salt
  • Stenosis (Stricture): a narrowing of a passage in the body
  • Thrush: a fungal infection in the mouth
  • T cells: white blood cells that play a major role in rejection destroying cells infected by bacteria and viruses; can identify new organ harming the body
  • Tissue typing: a blood test to determine the compatibility of a donor and recipient's antigens
  • Triglycerides:a form of fat that the body makes from sugar, alcohol and excess calories
  • Ultrasound: a non-invasive x-ray allowing clinicians to see and evaluate internal organs and blood vessels
  • Urinary tract infection: an infection on one or more parts of the urinary tract
  • Ventilator: a machine that helps a person breathe
  • Virus: germ causing infection
  • White blood cells: the cells in the blood that fight infection


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- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

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