called Bornholm disease, it often occurs
in epidemics and usually affects chil-
dren. There is sudden severe pain in the
lower chest or upper abdomen, with
fever, sore throat, headache, and malaise.
The disease usually settles in 3-4 days
plexus A network of interwoven nerves
or blood vessels.
plication A surgical procedure in which
tucks are taken in the walls of a hollow
organ and then stitched to decrease the
size of the organ.
Plummer-Vinson syndrome Difficul-
ty in swallowing due to webs of tissue
forming across the upper
The syndrome often occurs with severe
plutonium A radioactive metallic ele-
ment which occurs naturally only in
ores; it is produced artificially
in breeder reactors.
PMS The abbreviation for
PMT The abbreviation for premenstrual
tension (an alternative name for
pneumaturia The presence of gas in
the urine, usually indicating that a
has developed between the bladder
and the intestine.
pneumo- A prefix meaning related to
the lungs, to air, or to the breath.
pneumococcus A common
streptococcus pneum oniae
pneumoconiosis Any of a group of
lung diseases caused by the inhalation
of certain mineral dusts. Only dust par-
ticles less than 0.005 mm across reach
the alveoli (air sacs) in the lungs. The
particles accumulate and may cause
thickening and scarring. The main types
of pneumoconiosis are asbestosis (see
diseases), coal workers'
pneumoconiosis, and silicosis, caused
by silica dust. These diseases primarily
affect workers aged over 50. However,
the incidence is falling due to better
Pneumoconiosis is often detected by
before symptoms develop.
The main symptom is shortness of
breath. In severe cases,
may develop. The risk of
following asbestos or haematite expo-
sure. Diagnosis is based on a history of
exposure to dusts, chest X-rays, medi-
cal examination, and
tests. There is no treatment apart from
treating any complications. Further expo-
sure to dust must be avoided.
pneumocystis pneumonia An infection
of the lungs caused by
a type of
pneumonia is an
that is dangerous only to people with im-
paired resistance to infection.
particularly common in those with
Symptoms include fever, dry cough, and
shortness of breath lasting weeks to
months. Diagnosis is made by examina-
tion of sputum or a lung
trimoxazole) may eradicate the infec-
tion; they may also be used over the
long term to prevent infection in those
people at increased risk.
pneumonectomy Surgery carried out to
remove a lung.
pneumonia Inflammation of the lungs
due to infection. There are 2 main types:
lobar pneumonia and bronchopneu-
monia. Lobar pneumonia initially affects
1 lobe of a lung. In bronchopneumonia,
bronchi and bronchioles (airways).
Pneumonia can be caused by any type
of microorganism, but most cases are
due to viruses, such as adenovirus, or
bacteria, such as
staphylococcus au reu s
usually fever, chills, shortness of breath,
and a cough that produces yellow-green
and occasionally blood. Potential
, and a lung
Diagnosis is made by physical exami-
sputum and blood for microorganisms.
Treatment depends on the cause, and
gal drugs. Aspirin
be given to reduce fever, and, in severe
may be needed. In most cases,
recovery usually occurs within