ABDOMINAL THRUST
ABSCESS
For instance,
ascites
(accumulation of
fluid between organs) may be a symp-
tom of cancer or disease of the heart,
kidneys, or liver; swelling may also be
due to intestinal obstruction (see
intes-
tine, obstruction
of) or an
ovarian cyst.
Diagnosis of the underlying cause may
involve
abdominal X-rays, ultrasound
scanning
,
laparotomy
, or
laparoscopy
. In
ascites, some fluid between organs may
be drained for examination.
abdominal thrust
A
first-aid
treatment
for choking, in which sharp upward pres-
sure is applied to the upper abdomen
to dislodge a foreign body obstructing
the airway. The technique is also known
as the Heimlich manoeuvre.
abdominal X-ray
An X-ray examina-
tion of the abdominal contents. X-rays
can show whether any organ is enlarged
and can detect swallowed foreign bod-
ies in the digestive tract. They also show
patterns of fluid and gas: distended
loops of bowel containing fluid often
indicate an obstruction (see
intestine
,
obstruction of);
gas outside the intestine
indicates intestinal
perforation
.
Calcium, which is opaque to X-rays, is
present in most kidney stones (see
calculus, urinary tract)
and in some
gallstones
and aortic
aneurysms;
these
can sometimes be detected on an
abdominal X-ray.
abducent nerve
The 6th
cranial nerve.
It supplies the lateral rectus muscle of
each eye, which is responsible for mov-
ing the eyeball outwards. The nerve
originates in the pons (part of the
brain-
stem)
and passes along the base of the
brain, entering the back of the eye socket
through a gap between the skull bones.
abduction
Movement of a limb away
from the central line of the body, or of a
digit away from the axis of a limb. Mus-
cles that carry out this movement are
called abductors. (See also
adduction.)
ablation
Removal or destruction of dis-
eased tissue by excision (cutting away),
cryosurgery
(freezing),
radiotherapy
,
dia-
thermy
(burning), or
laser treatment
.
abnormality
A physical deformity or
malformation, a behavioural or mental
problem, or a variation from normal in
the structure or function of a cell, tis-
sue, or organ in the body.
ABO blood groups
See
blood groups.
abortifacient
An agent that causes
abor-
tion.
In medical practice, abortion is
induced
using
prostaglandin
drugs
,
often given as vaginal pessaries.
abortion
In medical terminology, either
spontaneous abortion (see
miscarriage
)
or medically induced termination of
pregnancy (see
abortion
,
induced
).
abortion, induced
Medically induced
termination of pregnancy. Abortion may
be performed if continuation of the
pregnancy would risk the woman's life,
if the mental or physical health of the
woman or her existing children is at
risk, or if there is a substantial risk of
handicap to the baby.
Depending on the stage of pregnancy,
termination may be induced by using
drugs or by the surgical technique of
vacuum suction curettage, under either
a general or local anaesthetic, during
which the fetal and placental tissues are
removed. Complications are rare.
abrasion
Also called a graze, a
wound
on the skin surface that is caused by
scraping or rubbing.
abrasion, dental
The wearing away of
tooth enamel, often accompanied by the
erosion of dentine (the layer beneath
the enamel) and cementum (the bone-
like tissue that covers the tooth root),
usually through too-vigorous brushing.
Abraded areas are often sensitive to
cold or hot food or drink, and a desensi-
tizing toothpaste and/or protection with
a bonding (see
bonding
,
dental
) agent or
Ming
may be needed.
abreaction
In
psychoanalysis
, the pro-
cess of becoming consciously aware of
repressed (buried) thoughts and feelings.
In Freudian theory, abreaction ideally
occurs by way of
catharsis.
abscess
A collection of
pus
formed as a
result of infection by microorganisms,
usually bacteria. Abscesses may develop
in any organ and in the soft tissues
beneath the skin in any area. Common
sites include the armpit, breast (see
breast abscess
), groin, and gums (see
abscess
,
dental
). Rarer sites include the
liver (see
liver abscess
) and the brain
(see
brain abscess
).
Common bacteria, such as staphylo-
cocci, are the usual cause of abscesses,
A
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