Medical Terms

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Ambulatory Study
Oximetry test completed – while walking.

The cessation of breathing for a minimum of 10 seconds.

Apnea/Hypopnea Index (AHI)
An average number of apnea and hypopnea events per hour of sleep shown on a sleep study. Apnea (no breathing); Hypopnea (under breathing, breathing that is shallower or slower than normal).

Arterial Blood Gas (ABG)
A blood gas that is primarily performed using blood from an artery. The test is used to determine the PH of the blood, the partial pressure of carbon dioxide and oxygen and the bicarbonate level. This testing is mainly used in pulmonology to determine gas exchange levels in the blood related to lung function.

Branching, elastic tubes that carry oxygen-rich blood AWAY from the heart.

Assisted Living
A facility for patients that are not able to care for themselves but do not require constant care either. Assisted Living Facilities offer residents help with eating, bathing, dressing, laundry, housekeeping, and assistance with medications.

Autopap (Auto Adjusting Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Device)
A type of CPAP machine monitoring changes in breathing and compensates automatically by making appropriate adjustments in pressure.

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Bi – Level Positive Airway Pressure (Bi-PAP)
Bi-level pressure device used to treat sleep disorder breathing. The “bi” refers to two pressures: a lower pressure for exhalation and a higher pressure for inhalation.

The fluid that travels in the vascular system. It has three components:

  • Plasma – A fluid substance that is mostly water
  • Red blood cells (RBC) – cells that give blood its characteristics red color and ability to transport oxygen
  • White blood cells (WBC) – proteins, fats, etc.
  • Cardiomegaly — enlargement of the heart

Body Mass Index (BMI)
A number calculated from a person’s height and weight. BMI is used as a screening tool to identify possible weight problems for adults.

Breathe Healthy
A program designed for individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Often during follow up with our respiratory patients we are able to identify other possible needs pertinent to that individual’s health concerns. Physicians may also want to utilize the program for newly diagnosed pulmonary patients in order to better assess their homecare needs. The program components are: education on disease process, prescribed therapies/medications and equipment management. Home visits by a licensed Clinician. Assessment of living environment, respiratory assessment , and follow up reporting to the physician.

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Cardiovascular System
Includes not only the heart, but also the arteries and veins it pumps blood through.

Central Sleep Apnea (CSA)
A sleep disorder caused by irregularity in the brain’s control of breathing.

Certificate of Medical Necessity (CMN)
This is a state-specific form that is filled out and signed by the physician. This is required by Center for Medicare and Medicaid services to substantiate the need of an item of DME furnished to a Medicare beneficiary. It is essentially like a detailed prescription.

Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)
A person trained to assist a physician or other medical provider in clinical procedures.

Chest X-ray
Picture of your heart, lungs and blood vessels.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
A disease of the lungs in which the airways become narrowed. This leads to a limitation of the flow of air to and from the lungs causing shortness of breath. The limitation of airflow is poorly reversible and usually gets progressively worse over time. COPD is caused by noxious particles or gases, most commonly from smoking.

Comprehensive Study
Oximetry test completed at rest, while walking for six minutes and during sleep.

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)
Obstruction in the coronary arteries preventing blood flow/ oxygen delivery to the heart.

Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)
Inability of the heart to keep up with the demands on it and, specifically, failure of the heart, to pump blood with normal efficiency. The heart is unable to pump blood to the other organs. This leads to the accumulation of fluid in the lungs, lower legs, or abdomen, resulting in shortness in breath, weakness, fatigue, or swelling.

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)
A device used to treat sleep disorder breathing by sending positive airway pressure at a constant, continuous pressure to help keep an open airway, allowing the patient to breathe normally through his/her nose and airway.

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The nature of a disease or definition of an illness.

Difficulty breathing.

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A procedure used to visualize the pumping action of the heart.

Fluid accumulation in the tissues usually due to excessive pressure in the blood vessels.

Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG)
Measures the electrical activity of the heart.

Epworth Sleepiness Scale
An index of sleep propensity during the day as perceived by patients, and derived from the answers to eight questions.

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This organ is the driving force of the entire circulatory system. It pumps blood throughout the body.

Heart Failure
Condition initiated by impairment of the heart’s function as a pump. A progressive disorder in which damage to the heart causes weakening of the cardiovascular system. It is clinically manifested by fluid congestion or inadequate blood flow to tissues.

Heart Healthy
A program designed for those individuals with congestive heart failure. It is largely for the newly diagnosed CHF patient as a tool for early intervention and better compliance, or an individual with exacerbation if CHF due to non-compliance. It involves: education on disease process, prescribed medications/treatments and equipment. Home visits by a Clinician. Assessment of home environment, respiratory assessment with oximetry screening and follow up reporting to the physician.

High blood pressure. The normal range: the first number (systole) 100-140 mmHg and the second (diastole) 60-90 mmHg.

Shallow breathing in which the air flow in and out of the airway is less than half of normal–usually associated with oxygen desaturation.

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ICD-9 Codes
The international classification of diseases and related health problems. Provides codes to classify diseases and is used worldwide for morbidity and mortality statistics.

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Two sac-like organs that occupy the chest cavity and intake air from the surroundings and puts oxygen into the blood.

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Medical Records
A systematic documentation of a patients medical history and care. A very personal document – many legal and ethical issues surround them such as the degree of third party access, appropriate storage, and disposal. A patient who has experienced a hospital stay will have a chart in the Medical Records department of that facility following discharge.

Mild OSA
A diagnosis for patients that average between 5-20 apneas and hypopneas per hour during a sleep study.

Moderate OSA
A diagnosis for patients that average between 21-50 apneas and hypopneas per hour during a sleep study.

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Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
A pause of breathing lasting ten seconds or longer during sleep. Sleep Apnea is usually associated with snoring. The snoring proceeds at a regular pace for a period of time, often becoming louder, but is then interrupted by a long silent period with no breathing (apnea). The apnea is then interrupted by a loud snort and gasp and the snoring resumes at a regular pace. This recurs frequently throughout the night.

Oximetry Test- Pulse Oximetry- Saturation
Is the non-invasive method allowing the monitoring of the oxygenation of a patient’s hemoglobin. A sensor is placed on the fingertip and a light containing both red and infrared wavelengths is passed from one side to the other. Acceptable normal ranges are from 95-100%, although values down to 90% are common. Most monitors also display the heart rate.

Overnight Saturation Study
Oximetry test completed at night or while a patient is sleeping.

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Physician Assistant (PA)
A mid-level medical practitioner who works under the supervision of a licensed doctor. PAs can perform histories and physical examinations, order diagnostic tests and provide the appropriate treatment.

Polysomnography (PSG)
A sleep study used to determine whether or not a patient has a sleep disorder and to measure the severity of the problem.

Pulmonary Department
A department within a hospital that includes respiratory therapy and pulmonary diagnostic testing.

Pulmonary Edema
Fluid that leaks into the lungs causing Congestion Syndrome, a collection of findings which may arise from a number of causes.

Pulmonary Rehab
A facility that utilizes a team of specialists with a goal of reducing symptoms, decreasing disability, increasing participation in physical and social activities, and improving quality of life for patients with chronic respiratory disease.

Pulse Oximeter
A medical device that measures the patient’s heart rate and oxygen saturation levels through a probe attached to the finger, ear or toe.

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Qualifying ABG
An arterial blood gas result with a PO2 of 55 mmhg or less on room air to qualify a patient for home oxygen therapy. A patient can also have an arterial PO2 of 56-59 if there is presence of polycythemia, cor pulmonale, pedal edema or CHF.

Qualifying Saturation
An oxygen saturation level of 88% or less on room air. Can be performed at rest, with exercise or while sleeping. A qualifying saturation is necessary for the administration of oxygen therapy in the home. It must be performed within 48 hours of discharge from an acute care facility or within 30 days if the patient is stable and was tested as an outpatient at either a provider’s office or clinic.

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Registered Polysomnography Technician (RPSGT)
Health care professional trained in performing diagnostic sleep studies.

Rehab Hospital
A facility devoted to the rehabilitation of patients with various neurologic, musculoskeletal, orthopedic and other medical conditions. These hospitals use a specialized staff of Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, and Speech Therapists.

Respiratory Disturbance Index (RDI)
A number that is tracked during a sleep study and includes all respiratory events per hour.

Respiratory Therapist (RT)
A health professional trained to evaluate and treat people who have breathing problems or other lung disorders.

  • CRT Certified Respiratory Therapist
  • RRT Registered Respiratory Therapist

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Severe OSA
A diagnosis for patients that average more than 51 apneas and hypopneas per hour during a sleep study.

Skilled Nursing Facility
A Nursing Home or hospital based facility that utilizes Nurses, Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, and Speech Therapists who help provide care to people who can no longer care for themselves due to physical, emotional, or mental conditions.

Sleep Healthy
A program designed for those individuals with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The program is initiated with all sleep therapy set ups. Educational materials and customer support are provided for better understanding of diagnosis and therapy. Continued follow up with the patient and physician will better ensure patient compliance along with routine replacement of equipment and supplies. It involves: education on the disease process, prescribed therapies/medications and equipment management. Home visits by a licensed health care professional. Assessment of living situation, respiratory assessment with oximetry screening and follow up reporting to physician.

Sleep Lab
A facility designed to detect and treat sleep disorder breathing.

Comprehensive inpatient care designed for someone who has an acute illness, injury, or exacerbation of a disease process. Sub-acute care is generally more intensive than traditional nursing facility care and less than acute care. It requires frequent (daily to weekly) recurrent patient assessment and review of the clinical course and treatment plan for a limited (several days to several months) time period, until the condition is stabilized or a predetermined treatment course is completed.

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A sleep study used with positive airway pressure (PAP) to determine the optimal airflow required to treat the patient.

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Vascular System
A closed system of different forms of living vessels that carry and transfer blood products to organs and tissues.

Thinner walled branching vessels that carry oxygen-poor blood BACK to the heart. The only veins that carry oxygen-rich blood are those that return blood from the lungs to the heart.

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