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Glossary

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V

  • vaccination

    The introduction of vaccine into the body for the purpose of inducing immunity. Coined originally to apply to the injection of smallpox vaccine, the term has come to mean any immunising procedure in which vaccine is injected.

  • vaccination dressing

    Dressing used to protect any vesicles which appear after vaccination.

  • vaccine

    A substance given to humans or animals to improve immunity from disease. A vaccine can sometimes contain a small amount of bacteria that is designed to stimulate the body's reaction to that particular disease. The first vaccine was developed in 1796 by Edward Jenner to prevent smallpox.

  • vaginal speculum

    Instrument for dilating the vagina, and throwing light within thus facilitating examination or surgical operations

  • Valentin knife

    used to cut slices of organs for microscopic examination

  • valve

    A structure that restricts the flow of fluid to one direction only. Valves are found within veins in the human body where they prevent blood from flowing in the wrong direction.

  • valvulotome

    An instrument for sectioning a valve

  • vanitas

    A type of still-life painting in which the objects are reminders of mortality. These often include hourglasses, scales, mirrors or skulls. Popular in Dutch painting in the 1600s.

  • vaporizer

    A device that turns substances into vapour or gas, especially for medicinal inhalation. The term also refers to an aid for people who are quitting smoking. (It allows them to mimic the act of smoking while reducing the harmful by-products that might otherwise be inhaled.)

  • varicose veins

    Swollen veins that are usually blue or purple in colour.

  • vector

    A vector is the intermediary – the ‘middle-man’ – between the disease-causing organism and the disease sufferer. In the case of malaria, the mosquito that carries the parasite that causes the disease is the vector.

  • vein

    Blood vessel that returns blood to the heart from around the body.

  • vending machine

    A slot machine from which food or other small goods may be obtained.

  • venereal disease

    Historical term for diseases transmitted by sexual intercourse, most notably syphilis and gonorrhoea. Now referred to as sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

  • ventilator

    A machine which mechanically assists patients in the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. Often used when a patient has difficulty breathing.

  • ventouse

    A device assisting the delivery of the foetus during childbirth as an alternative to forceps or caesarean section. It is also known as vacuum extraction. A cup attaches to the baby’s head and a vacuum pump and a small handle are used for pulling once the cup is securely in place.

  • ventricular fibrillation

    A disorganised chaotic contraction of the ventricle that fails to effectively eject blood from the ventricle

  • vertebrae

    A bone that is part of the spinal column.

  • vessel

    Containers designed to serve as receptacles for a liquid or other substance, usually those of circular section and made of some durable material; especially containers of this nature in domestic use, employed in connection with the preparation or serving of food or drink, and usually of a size suitable for carrying by hand.

  • veterinary medicine

    Medical science that deals with the diseases and care of animals.

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