ECHINACHEA
ECTASIA
An ECG is useful for diagnosing heart
disorders, many of which produce devi-
ations from normal electrical patterns.
Electrodes connected to a recording
machine are placed on the chest, wrists,
and ankles. The machine displays the
electrical activity of the heart on a
screen or as a printed trace.
echinachea
A preparation of the plant
ECHINACEA ANGUSTIFOLIA,
used in
herbal
medicine.
Echinachea is believed to
boost the
immune system
and therefore
increase the body's resistance to bacte-
rial, viral, and fungal infections.
echocardiography
A method of ob-
taining an image of the structure and
movement of the heart with
ultrasound
.
Echocardiography is a major diagnostic
technique used to detect structural, and
some functional, abnormalities of the
heart wall, heart chambers,
heart valves
,
and large
coronary arteries
. It is also
used to diagnose congenital heart dis-
ease
(see
heart disease, congenital),
cardiomyopathy,
aneurysms, pericardi-
tis,
and blood clots in the heart.
A transducer
(an
instrument that
sends out and receives sound signals)
is placed on the chest, or an ultrasound
probe is passed into the oesophagus
using a flexible
endoscope
. Ultrasound
waves are reflected differently by each
part of the heart, resulting in a complex
series of echoes, which are viewed on a
screen and can be recorded or the
results printed out. Developments such
as multiple moving transducers and
computer analysis give clear anatomical
pictures of the heart.
Doppler echocardiography measures
the velocity of blood flow through the
heart, allowing assessment of structural
abnormalities, such as
septal defects
.
echolalia
The compulsive repetition of
what is spoken by another person. The
tone and accent of the speaker are
copied as well as the words. Echolalia
may be a symptom of
schizophrenia
and
sometimes occurs in people with a
learning disability
or
autism.
eclampsia
A rare, but serious condition
that develops in late
pregnancy
, during
labour
, or after delivery. Eclampsia is
characterized by
hypertension
,
protein-
uria
,
oedema
, and the development of
seizures
; it threatens the life of both the
mother and the baby. Eclampsia occurs
as a complication of moderate or severe
(but not mild)
pre-eclampsia
,
The warning symptoms of impending
eclampsia include headaches, confu-
sion, blurred or disturbed vision, and
abdominal pain. If untreated, seizures
can then occur and may be followed by
coma
. Levels of blood
platelets
may fall
severely, resulting in bleeding; liver and
kidney function may be affected.
Careful monitoring of blood pressure
and proteinuria throughout pregnancy
ensures prompt treatment of impending
eclampsia. Immediate delivery, often by
caesarian section
, together with
antihy-
pertensive
and
anticonvulsant drugs
is
needed. Patients may need intensive
care to prevent the development of
complications such as kidney failure.
Blood pressure often returns to normal
in the months after delivery, but it may
remain high. There is a risk of recur-
rence in subsequent pregnancies.
econazole
An
antfungal drug
used as a
cream for fungal skin infections (see
athlete's foot
;
tinea
),
and in cream or
pessary form to treat vaginal
candidia-
sis
.
Skin irritation is a rare side effect.
ECT
The abbreviation for electroconvul-
sive therapy, in which an electric current
is passed through the brain to induce
seizures
in order to treat severe
depres-
sion
.
It
is
sometimes
administered
under a short-lived general anaesthetic.
Temporary
amnesia
is a possible side
effect. ECT usually relieves depression
more rapidly than drug treatment and
may be lifesaving in severe depression
that is resistant to other treatments.
Ecstasy
An illegal
designer drug
,
rela-
ted to the
amfetamine drugs
.
Ecstasy
has a mildly hallucinogenic effect and
generates feelings of euphoria. In most
people, the drug has no ill effects in the
short-term, but repeated use carries a
risk of liver damage. The most common
side-effect is
hyperthermia
. Taking the
drug causes intense thirst, and drinking
large quantities of water to combat this
may result in fatal damage to the body,
including brain swelling.
ectasia
A term meaning widening, usu-
ally used to refer to a disorder of a
duct
.
E
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