This article is from the ER FAQ, by Rose Cooper email@example.com with numerous contributions by others.
+ Pulse Oximetry ("pulse ox"): Arguably one of the most important
diagnostic tools developed in the past fifteen years, and properly
"transcutaneous pulse oximetry," it's a non-invasive and painless way
to measure the oxygen saturation of arterial blood. It gives a pretty
good indication of how well someone's breathing; normal values for a
healthy individual will range between about 96 and 100. <90 is not
good, and <85 is really bad for most people.
+ RSI: Rapid Sequence Intubation (or Induction). The preferred (well,
it's my favourite) way of intubating a patient in the emergency
department. It involves the use of paralytic drugs to induce apnea
(absence of respiration) and to suppress the gag reflex. It's safe, and
the success rate is really good -- up to 96% success on first attempt
by most operators.
+ Sinus Rhythm: A normal heart beat and rhythm.
+ Stat: Immediately. I hate this term, and will quite cheerfully smack
anyone who uses it around me.
+ Sux /sukhs/: Succinylcholine. It's a paralytic, and a drug used in
rapid sequence intubation, it causes whole-body paralysis rapidly after
administration. Some people call this Vitamin S.
+ Tachycardia: Rapid heart beat. Sinus tachycardia (normal rhythm, just
an accelerated beat) is >120 beats/minute; ventricular tachycardia is
a life-threatening arrhythmia that requires immediate correction (and
is, along with ventricular fibrillation, a leading cause of death in
+ Tox screen: Analysis of blood toxins. May contain a free blood alcohol
level without your asking for it in some places.
+ TPA: Properly tPA, it stands for Tissue Plasminogen Activator, part of
a class of drugs known as thrombolytics. If you know anything about how
biologists name stuff, the word should probably clue you in to what it
does -- it dissolves clots. It's kinda like Drano for your blood
vessels. Historically, thrombolytics have been given heart attack
patients. Recent research, however, has suggested that tPA and other
thrombolytics may be of value for stroke victims if it's administered
within six hours of the actual ischemia. Most institutions now have
guidelines on the administration of thrombolytics (there are others
besides plasminogen) to MI and CVA patients. Some doctors like
thrombolytic therapy because it's less expensive, traumatic and
invasive than surgical interventions like angioplasty. There are
concerns, however, about bleeding disorders and coagulation problems
in some patients, so more research is needed. Time will tell how well
tPA and thrombolytics in general work, but the evidence thus far has
won them a lot of praise over the years.
+ Tube: Used alone, usually referring to an endotracheal tube. As a
verb, it means to intubate someone.
+ Turf: To dump a patient to someone else, usually another service. A
great way of making your day easier.
+ Type and Cross-Match: Blood typing prior to transfusion.
If I think hard enough about it, I'll include a brief drug reference in
the next update.