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Dictionary of Medical Terms 4th Ed

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rectal prolapse


rectal prolapse / rekt(ə)l prəυl ps/ noun a condition in which part of the rectum moves

downwards and passes through the anus rectal temperature / rekt(ə)l tempr tʃə/

noun the temperature in the rectum, taken with

a rectal thermometer

rectal thermometer / rekt(ə)l θə mɒm tə/ noun a thermometer which is inserted into the

rectum to take the person’s temperature rectal triangle / rekt(ə)l tra ŋ&(ə)l/ noun

same as anal triangle

recti / rekti/ plural of rectus

recto- /rektəυ/ prefix referring to the rectum rectocele / rektəυsi l/ noun a condition as-

sociated with prolapse of the uterus, in which the rectum protrudes into the vagina. Also

called proctocele

rectopexy / rektəυpeksi/ noun a surgical operation to attach a rectum which has pro-


rectoscope / rektəskəυp/ noun an instru-

ment for looking into the rectum rectosigmoid / rektəυ s &mɔ d/ noun the

part of the large intestine where the sigmoid

colon joins the rectum

rectosigmoidectomy / rektəυ s &mɔ dektəmi/ noun the surgical removal of the

sigmoid colon and the rectum

rectovaginal / rektəυvə d a n(ə)l/ adjective relating to both the rectum and the vagina

rectovaginal examination / rektəυvəd a n(ə)l & z m ne ʃ(ə)n/ noun an exami-

nation of the rectum and vagina rectovesical / rektəυ ves k(ə)l/ adjective

referring to the rectum and the bladder rectum / rektəm/ noun the end part of the

large intestine leading from the sigmoid colon to the anus. See illustration at DIGESTIVE SYS-

TEM in Supplement, UROGENITAL SYSTEM (MALE) in Supplement (NOTE: For other terms referring to the rectum, see words beginning with proct-,


rectus / rektəs/ noun a straight muscle (NOTE: The plural is recti.)

‘…there are four recti muscles and two oblique muscles in each eye, which coordinate the movement of the eyes and enable them to work as a pair’

[Nursing Times]

rectus abdominis / rektəs b dɒm n s/ noun a long straight muscle which runs down

the front of the abdomen

rectus femoris / rektəs femər s/ noun a flexor muscle in the front of the thigh, one of the four parts of the quadriceps femoris. me-


recumbent /r k"mbənt/ adjective lying down

recuperate /r ku pəre t/ verb to recover, to get better after an illness or accident He is recuperating after an attack of flu. She is going to stay with her mother while she recuperates.

recuperation /r ku pə re ʃ(ə)n/ noun the process of getting better after an illness His recuperation will take several months.

recur /r k! / verb to return The headaches recurred frequently, but usually after the patient had eaten chocolate.

recurrence /r k"rəns/ noun an act of returning He had a recurrence of a fever which he had caught in the tropics.

recurrent /r k"rənt/ adjective 1. occurring in the same way many times 2. referring to a vein, artery or nerve which forms a loop recurrent abortion /r k"rənt ə bɔ ʃ(ə)n/ noun a condition in which a woman has abortions with one pregnancy after another recurrent fever /r k"rənt fi və/ noun a fever like malaria which returns at regular intervals

red /red/ adjective 1. of a similar colour to blood Blood in an artery is bright red, but venous blood is darker. 2. (of an area of skin) with an increased blood flow because of heat or infection noun a colour similar to that of blood

red blood cell /red bl"d sel/ noun a blood cell which contains haemoglobin and carries oxygen to the tissues and takes carbon dioxide from them. Abbr RBC. Also called erythrocyte

red corpuscle / red kɔ p"s(ə)l/ noun same as red blood cell

Red Crescent /red krez(ə)nt/ noun in Islamic countries, an international organisation dedicated to the medical care of the sick and wounded in wars and natural disasters (NOTE: It is known as the Red Cross elsewhere.)

Red Cross /red krɒs/ noun an international organisation dedicated to the medical care of the sick and wounded in wars and natural disasters (NOTE: It is known as the Red Crescent in Islamic countries.)

red–green colourblindness / red &ri n k"lə bla ndnəs/ noun same as deuteranopia

Redivac drain / red v k dre n/, Redivac drainage tube / red v k dre n d tju b/

trademark a tube which drains fluid away from the inside of a wound into a bottle, used mainly after operations on the abdomen

red marrow / red m rəυ/ noun the type of bone marrow where red blood cells and some white blood cells are formed

redness / rednəs/ noun 1. an area of skin to which the blood flow is increased because of heat or infection The redness showed where the skin had reacted to the injection. 2. a red colour

reduce /r dju s/ verb 1. to make something smaller or lower They used ice packs to try to reduce the patient’s temperature. 2. to put something such as a dislocated or fractured



bone, a displaced organ or part or a hernia back into its proper position so that it can heal

‘…blood pressure control reduces the incidence of first stroke and aspirin appears to reduce the risk of stroke after transient ischaemic attacks by some 15%’ [British Journal of Hospital Medicine]

reducible /r dju s b(ə)l/ adjective capable of being reduced

reducible hernia /r dju s b(ə)l h! niə/ noun a hernia where the organ can be pushed back into place without an operation reduction /r d"kʃən/ noun 1. the lessening of something, the process of becoming less

They noted a reduction in body temperature. 2. the action of putting a hernia, a dislocated joint or a broken bone back into the correct position reduction division /r d"kʃən d v (ə)n/ noun same as meiosis

re-emerge / ri m! d / verb to come out again

re-emergence / ri m! d əns/ noun an act of coming out again

refer /r f! / verb 1. to mention or to talk about something The doctor referred to the patient’s history of sinus problems. 2. to suggest that someone should consult something For method of use, please refer to the manufacturer’s instructions. The user is referred to the page giving the results of the tests. 3. to pass on information about a patient to someone else

They referred her case to a gynaecologist. 4. to send someone to another doctor, usually a specialist, for advice or treatment She was referred to a cardiologist. the GP referred the patient to a consultant he or she passed details about the patient’s case to the consultant so that the consultant could examine them

‘27 adult patients admitted to hospital with acute abdominal pains were referred for study because their attending clinicians were uncertain whether to advise an urgent laparotomy’ [Lancet]

‘…many patients from outside districts were referred to London hospitals by their GPs’ [Nursing Times]

referral /r f! rəl/ noun the act of sending someone to a specialist She asked for a referral to a gynaecologist.

‘…he subsequently developed colicky abdominal pain and tenderness which caused his referral’ [British Journal of Hospital Medicine]

referred pain /r f! d pe n/ noun same as


reflection /r flekʃən/ noun 1. the image of somebody or something which is seen in a mirror or still water 2. the process of reflecting something, especially light, sound or heat 3. careful thought 4. a situation in which an anatomical structure bends back upon itself reflective practice /r flekt v pr kt s/ noun the process of improving professional skills by monitoring your own actions while they are being carried out, and by then later evaluating them by talking or writing about

them and asking other professionals to give their assessments of you

reflex / ri fleks/, reflex action / ri flekskʃən/ noun a physiological reaction without any conscious thought involved, e.g. a knee jerk or a sneeze, which happens in response to a particular stimulus light reflex, pupillary reflex to light reaction of the pupil of the eye which changes size according to the amount of light going into the eye

reflex arc / ri fleks ɑ k/ noun the basic system of a reflex action, where a receptor is linked to a motor neurone which in turn is linked to an effector muscle

reflexologist / ri flək sɒləd st/ noun a person specialising in reflexology reflexology / ri flek sɒləd i/ noun a treatment to relieve tension by massaging the soles of the feet and thereby stimulating the nerves and increasing the blood supply

reflux / ri fl"ks/ noun a situation where a fluid flows in the opposite direction to its usual flow The valves in the veins prevent blood reflux. vesicoureteric reflux

reflux oesophagitis / ri fl"ks i sɒfə d a*

t s/ noun inflammation of the oesophagus caused by regurgitation of acid juices from the stomach

refract /r fr kt/ verb to make light rays change direction as they go from one medium such as air to another such as water at an angle

The refracting media in the eye are the cornea, the aqueous humour, the vitreous humour and the lens.

refraction /r fr kʃən/ noun 1. a change of direction of light rays as they enter a medium such as the eye 2. the measurement of the angle at which the light rays bend, as a test to see if someone needs to wear glasses

refractive /r fr kt v/ adjective referring to refraction

refractometer / ri fr k tɒm tə/ noun an instrument which measures the refraction of the eye. Also called optometer

refractory /r fr kt(ə)ri/ adjective difficult or impossible to treat, or not responding to treatment

refractory period /r fr kt(ə)ri p əriəd/ noun a short space of time after the ventricles of the heart have contracted, when they cannot contract again

refrigerate /r fr d əre t/ verb to make something cold The serum should be kept refrigerated.

refrigeration /r fr d ə re ʃ(ə)n/ noun 1. the process of making something cold 2. the process of making part of the body very cold, to give the effect of an anaesthetic

refrigerator /r fr d əre tə/ noun a machine which cools and keeps things cold



regain /r &e n/ verb to get back something which was lost He has regained the use of his left arm. She went into a coma and never

regained consciousness.

regenerate /r d enəre t/ verb to grow again, or grow something again regeneration /r d enə re ʃ(ə)n/ noun the process where tissue that has been destroyed grows again

regenerative medicine /r d enərət v med(ə)s(ə)n/ noun the branch of medicine that deals with the repair or replacement of tissues and organs by using advanced materials and methods such as cloning

regimen / red mən/ noun a fixed course of treatment, e.g. a course of drugs or a special diet

region / ri d ən/ noun an area or part which is around something She experienced itching in the anal region. The rash started in the region of the upper thigh. The plantar re-

gion is very sensitive.

regional / ri d (ə)nəl/ adjective in a particu-

lar region, referring to a particular region regional enteritis / ri d (ə)nəl entə

ra t s/ noun same as Crohn’s disease

Regional Health Authority / ri d (ə)nəl helθ ɔ θɒr ti/ noun an administrative unit in the National Health Service which is responsible for planning the health service in a region.

Abbr RHA

regional ileitis / ri d (ə)nəl li a t s/ noun compare ulcerative colitis. same as Crohn’s disease

register / red stə/ noun an official list verb to write a name on an official list, especially the official list of patients treated by a GP or dentist, or the list of people with a particular disease He is a registered heroin addict. They went to register the birth with the Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths. to register with someone to put your name on someone’s official list, especially the list of patients treated by a GP or dentist Before registering with the GP, she asked if she could visit him. All practising doctors are registered

with the General Medical Council. registered midwife / red stəd m dwa f/

noun a qualified midwife who is registered to


Registered Nurse / red stəd n! s/, Registered General Nurse / red stəd

d en(ə)rəl n! s/, Registered Theatre Nurse /

red stəd θ ətə n! s/ noun a nurse who has been registered by the UKCC. Abbr RN, RGN,


registrar / red strɑ / noun 1. a qualified doctor or surgeon in a hospital who supervises house officers 2. a person who registers something officially

Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths / red strɑ əv b! θs m r d z ən

deθs/ noun an official who keeps the records of people who have been born, married or who have died in a particular area

registration / red stre ʃ(ə)n/ noun the act of registering A doctor cannot practise without registration by the General Medical Council.

regress /r &res/ verb to return to an earlier stage or condition

regression /r &reʃ(ə)n/ noun 1. a stage where symptoms of a disease are disappearing and the person is getting better 2. (in psychiatry) the process of returning to a mental state which existed when the person was younger regular / re&jυlə/ adjective 1. taking place again and again after the same period of time

He was advised to make regular visits to the dentist. She had her regular six-monthly checkup. 2. happening at the same time each day

regularly / re&jυləli/ adverb happening repeatedly after the same period of time The tablets must be taken regularly every evening.You should go to the dentist regularly. regulate / re&jυ le t/ verb to make something work in a regular way The heartbeat is regulated by the sinoatrial node.

regulation / re&jυ le ʃ(ə)n/ noun the act of regulating the regulation of the body’s temperature

regurgitate /r &! d te t/ verb to bring into the mouth food which has been partly digested in the stomach

regurgitation /r &! d te ʃ(ə)n/ noun the process of flowing back in the opposite direction to the usual flow, especially of bringing up partly digested food from the stomach into the mouth

rehabilitate / ri ə b l te t/ verb to make someone fit to work or to lead their usual life

rehabilitation / ri əb l te ʃ(ə)n/ noun the process of making someone fit to work or to lead an ordinary life again

rehydrate / ri ha dre t/ verb to restore body fluids to a healthy level, or cause this to occur

rehydration / ri ha dre ʃ(ə)n/ noun the act of giving water or liquid to someone who has dehydration

reinfect / ri n fekt/ verb to infect someone or something again

reinfection / ri n fekʃ(ə)n/ noun infection of an area for another time after recovery, especially with the same microorganism

Reiter’s syndrome / ra təz s ndrəυm/, Reiter’s disease / ra təz d zi z/ noun an illness which may be sexually transmitted and affects mainly men, causing arthritis, urethritis and conjunctivitis at the same time [Described 1916. After Hans Conrad Reiter (1881–1969), German bacteriologist and hygienist.]

/r l ps ŋ


remittent fever

reject /r d ekt/ verb 1. to refuse to accept something 2. to be unable to tolerate tissue or an organ transplanted from another body because it is immunologically incompatible

The new heart was rejected by the body. They gave the patient drugs to prevent the transplant being rejected. 3. to be unable to

keep food down and vomit it up again rejection /r d ekʃən/ noun the act of reject-

ing tissue The patient was given drugs to re-

duce the possibility of tissue rejection. relapse / ri l ps, r l ps/ noun a situation in

which someone gets worse after seeming to be getting better, or where a disease appears again after seeming to be cured verb to return to an earlier and worse state, especially to get ill again after getting better She relapsed into a


relapsing fever /r l ps ŋ fi və/ noun a disease caused by a bacterium, where attacks of fever recur from time to time

relapsing pancreatitis

p ŋkriə ta t s/ noun a form of pancreatitis where the symptoms recur, but in a less painful form

relate /r le t/ verb to connect something to something else The disease is related to the weakness of the heart muscles.

-related /r le t d/ suffix connected to drugrelated diseases

relationship /r le ʃ(ə)nʃ p/ noun a way in which someone or something is connected to another The incidence of the disease has a close relationship to the environment. He became withdrawn and broke off all relation-

ships with his family.

relative density / relət v dens ti/ noun the ratio of the density of a substance to the density of a standard substance at the same temperature and pressure. For liquids and solids the standard substance is usually water, and for

gases, it is air.

relative risk / relət v r sk/ noun a measure of the likelihood of developing a disease for people who are exposed to a particular risk, relative to people who are not exposed to the same risk. For example, the relative risk of myocardial infarction for oral contraceptive users is 1.6 times that of non-users. Abbr RR

relax /r l ks/ verb to become less tense, or cause someone or something to become less tense He was given a drug to relax the muscles. The muscle should be fully relaxed. relaxant /r l ksənt/ noun a substance which relieves strain adjective relieving strain relaxation / ri l k se ʃ(ə)n/ noun 1. the process of reducing strain in a muscle 2. the re-

duction of stress in a person

relaxation therapy / ri l k se ʃ(ə)nθerəpi/ noun a treatment in which people are

encouraged to relax their muscles to reduce stress

relaxative /r l ksət v/ noun US a drug which reduces stress

relaxin /r l ks n/ noun a hormone which is secreted by the placenta to make the cervix relax and open fully in the final stages of pregnancy before childbirth

release /r li s/ noun the process of allowing something to go out the slow release of the drug into the bloodstream verb to let something out Hormones are released into the body by glands.

releasing factor /r li s ŋ f ktə/ noun a substance produced in the hypothalamus which encourages the release of hormones releasing hormone /r li s ŋ hɔ məυn/ noun a hormone secreted by the hypothalamus which makes the pituitary gland release particular hormones. Also called hypothalamic hormone

relief /r li f/ noun the process of making something better or easier The drug provides rapid relief for patients with bronchial spasms.

‘…complete relief of angina is experienced by 85% of patients subjected to coronary artery bypass surgery’ [British Journal of Hospital Medicine]

relieve /r li v/ verb to make something better or easier Nasal congestion can be relieved by antihistamines. The patient was given an injection of morphine to relieve the pain. The condition is relieved by applying cold compresses.

‘…replacement of the metacarpophalangeal joint is mainly undertaken to relieve pain, deformity and immobility due to rheumatoid arthritis’ [Nursing Times]

rem /rem/ noun a unit for measuring amounts of radiation, equal to the effect that one roentgen of X-rays or gamma-rays would produce in a human being. It is used in radiation protection and monitoring.

REM /rem/ abbr rapid eye movement. REM sleep

remedial /r mi diəl/ adjective acting as a cure

remedy / remədi/ noun a cure, a drug which will cure Honey and glycerine is an old remedy for sore throats.

remember /r membə/ verb to bring back into the mind something which has been seen or heard before He remembers nothing or he can’t remember anything about the accident.

remission /r m ʃ(ə)n/ noun a period when an illness or fever is less severe

re. mist. / ri m st/ adverb (on a prescription) repeat the same mixture. Full form repetatur mistura

remittent /r m tənt/ adjective lessening and then intensifying again at intervals

remittent fever /r m tənt fi və/ noun fever which goes down for a period each day, like typhoid fever



removal /r mu v(ə)l/ noun the action of removing something An appendicectomy is the surgical removal of an appendix. remove /r mu v/ verb to take something away He will have an operation to remove an ingrowing toenail.

REM sleep / rem sli p/ noun a stage of sleep which happens several times each night and is characterised by dreaming, rapid eye movement and increased pulse rate and brain activity. Also called rapid eye movement sleep

COMMENT: During REM sleep, a person dreams, breathes lightly and has a raised blood pressure and an increased rate of heartbeat. The eyes may be half-open, and the sleeper may make facial movements.

ren- /ri n/ prefix same as reno- (used before vowels)

renal / ri n(ə)l/ adjective referring to the kidneys

renal artery / ri n(ə)l ɑ təri/ noun one of two arteries running from the abdominal aorta to the kidneys

renal calculus / ri n(ə)l k lkjυləs/ noun a small hard mineral mass called a stone in the kidney

renal capsule / ri n(ə)l k psju l/ noun

same as fibrous capsule

renal clearance / ri n(ə)l kl ərəns/ noun the measurement of the rate at which kidneys filter impurities from blood

renal colic / ri n(ə)l kɒl k/ noun a sudden pain caused by a kidney stone or stones in the ureter

renal corpuscle / ri n(ə)l kɔ p"s(ə)l/ noun part of a nephron in the cortex of a kidney. Also called Malpighian body

renal cortex / ri n(ə)l kɔ teks/ noun the outer covering of the kidney, immediately beneath the capsule. See illustration at KIDNEY in Supplement

renal dialysis / ri n(ə)l da ləs s/ noun a method of artificially maintaining the chemical balance of the blood when the kidneys have failed, or the process of using this method. Also called dialysis

renal hypertension / ri n(ə)l ha pə tenʃən/ noun high blood pressure linked to

kidney disease

renal medulla / ri n(ə)l me d"lə/ noun the inner part of a kidney containing no glomeruli. See illustration at KIDNEY in Supplement renal pelvis / ri n(ə)l pelv s/ noun the upper and wider part of the ureter leading from the kidney where urine is collected before passing down the ureter into the bladder. Also called pelvis of the kidney. See illustration at KIDNEY in Supplement

renal rickets / ri n(ə)l r k ts/ noun a form of rickets caused by kidneys which do not function properly

renal sinus / ri n(ə)l sa nəs/ noun a cavity in which the renal pelvis and other tubes lead-

ing into the kidney fit

renal transplant / ri n(ə)l tr nsplɑ nt/

noun a kidney transplant

renal tubule / ri n(ə)l tju bju l/ noun a tiny tube which is part of a nephron. Also called uriniferous tubule

renew /r nju / verb to renew a prescription to get a new prescription for the same drug as before

reni- /ri ni/ prefix referring to the kidneys renin / ri n n/ noun an enzyme secreted by the kidney to prevent loss of sodium, and which also affects blood pressure

rennin / ren n/ noun an enzyme which makes milk coagulate in the stomach, so as to slow down the passage of the milk through the digestive system

reno- /ri nəυ/ prefix referring to the kidneys renogram / ri nəυ&r m/ noun 1. an X-ray

image of a kidney 2. a visual record of kidney function that shows how quickly a radioactive substance introduced into the bloodstream is

removed by the kidneys

renography /ri nɒ&rəfi/ noun an examination of a kidney after injection of a radioactive

substance, using a gamma camera renovascular / ri nəυ v skjυlə/ adjective

relating to the blood vessels of the kidneys renovascular system / ri nəυ v skjυləs stəm/ noun the blood vessels associated with the kidney

reorganisation /ri ɔ &əna ze ʃ(ə)n/, reorganization noun 1. a change in the way something is organised or done 2. the process of changing the way something is organised or done 3. an occasion when a business or organisation is given a completely new structure reovirus / ri əυ va rəs/ noun a virus which affects both the intestine and the respiratory system, but does not cause serious illness. Compare echovirus

rep /rep/ adverb (written on a prescription) repeat. Full form repetatur

repair /r peə/ verb to make something that is damaged good again Surgeons operated to repair a hernia.

repeat /r pi t/ verb to say or do something again The course of treatment was repeated

after two months.

repeat prescription /r pi t pr skr pʃən/ noun a prescription which is exactly the same as the previous one, and is often given without examination of the person by the doctor and may sometimes be requested by telephone repel /r pel/ verb to make something go away

If you spread this cream on your skin it will

repel insects.

repetitive strain injury /r pet t v stre nnd əri/, repetitive stress injury /r pet t v



stres nd əri/ noun pain, usually in a limb, felt by someone who performs the same movement many times over a period, e.g. when operating a computer terminal or playing a musical instrument. Abbr RSI

replace /r ple s/ verb 1. to put something back an operation to replace a prolapsed uterus 2. to exchange one part for another

The surgeons replaced the diseased hip with a

metal one.

replacement /r ple smənt/ noun an operation to replace part of the body with an artifi-

cial part

replacement transfusion /r ple smənttr ns fju (ə)n/ noun an exchange transfu-

sion, a treatment for leukaemia or erythroblastosis where almost all the unhealthy blood is removed from the body and replaced by healthy blood

replant /ri plɑ nt/ verb to reattach or reinsert a body part such as a limb or tooth that has become detached

replantation / ri plɑ n te ʃ(ə)n/ noun a surgical technique which reattaches parts of the body which have been accidentally cut or torn


replicate / repl ke t/ verb (of a cell) to make

a copy of itself

replication / repl ke ʃ(ə)n/ noun the process in the division of a cell, where the DNA

makes copies of itself

repolarisation /ri pəυləra ze ʃ(ə)n/, repolarization noun the restoration of the usual electrical polarity of a nerve or muscle cell membrane after reversal of its polarity while a nerve impulse or muscle contraction travelled along it

report /r pɔ t/ noun an official note stating what action has been taken, what treatment given or what results have come from a test

The patient’s report card has to be filled in by the nurse. The inspector’s report on the hospital kitchens is good. verb to make an official report about something The patient reported her doctor for misconduct. Occupational diseases or serious accidents at work

must be reported to the local officials. reportable diseases /r pɔ təb(ə)l d

zi z z/ plural noun diseases such as asbestosis, hepatitis or anthrax which may be caused by working conditions or may infect other workers and must be reported to the District Health Authority

repositor /r pɒz tə/ noun a surgical instrument used to push a prolapsed organ back into its usual position

repress /r pres/ verb to decide to ignore or forget feelings or thoughts which may be unpleasant or painful

repression /r preʃ(ə)n/ noun (in psychiatry) the act of ignoring or forgetting feelings or thoughts which might be unpleasant

reproduce / ri prə dju s/ verb 1. to produce children 2. (of microorganisms) to produce new cells 3. to do a test again in exactly the same way

reproduction / ri prə d"kʃən/ noun the process of making new living beings by existing ones, e.g. producing children or derived other descendants

reproductive / ri prə d"kt v/ adjective referring to reproduction

reproductive organs / ri prə d"kt vɔ &ənz/ plural noun parts of the bodies of men

and women which are involved in the conception and development of a fetus

reproductive system / ri prə d"kt vs stəm/ noun the arrangement of organs and ducts in the bodies of men and women which produce spermatozoa or ova

COMMENT: In the human male, the testes produce the spermatozoa which pass through the vasa efferentia and the vasa deferentia where they receive liquid from the seminal vesicles, then out of the body through the urethra and penis on ejaculation. In the female, an ovum, produced by one of the two ovaries, passes through the Fallopian tube where it is fertilised by a spermatozoon from the male. The fertilised ovum moves down into the uterus where it develops into an embryo.

reproductive tract / ri prə d"kt v tr kt/ noun the series of tubes and ducts which carry spermatozoa or ova from one part of the body to another

require /r kwa ə/ verb to need something

His condition may require surgery. Is it a condition which requires immediate treatment? required effect effect which a drug is expected to have If the drug does not produce the required effect, the dose should be increased.

requirement /r kwa əmənt/ noun something which is necessary One of the requirements of the position is a qualification in pharmacy.

RES abbr reticuloendothelial system

research /r s! tʃ/ noun a scientific study which investigates something new He is the director of a medical research unit. She is doing research into finding a cure for leprosy.Research workers or Research teams are trying to find a vaccine against AIDS. verb to carry out scientific study He is researching the origins of cancer.

research and development /r s! tʃ ən d veləpmənt/ noun the process by which phar-

maceutical companies find new drugs and test their suitability. Abbr R & D

resect /r sekt/ verb to remove any part of the body by surgery

resection /r sekʃən/ noun the surgical removal of any part of the body

resection of the prostate


resection of the prostate /r sekʃən əv ðə prɒste t/ noun same as transurethral prosta-


resectoscope /r sektəskəυp/ noun a surgical instrument used to carry out a transurethral resection

reservoir / rezəvwɑ / noun 1. a cavity in an organ or group of tissues in which fluids collect and are stored 2. an organism in which a parasite lives and develops without damaging it, but from which the parasite then passes to another species which is damaged by it 3. a part of a machine or piece of equipment where liquid is stored for it to use

reset /ri set/ verb to break a badly set bone and set it again correctly His arm had to be reset.

residency / rez d(ə)nsi/ noun US a period when a doctor is receiving specialist training in a hospital

resident / rez d(ə)nt/ noun 1. someone who lives in a place All the residents of the old people’s home were tested for food poisoning.

2. US a qualified doctor who is employed by a hospital and sometimes lives in the hospital. Compare intern adjective living in a place resident doctor / rez d(ə)nt dɒktə/ noun a doctor who lives in a building such as an old people’s home

residential / rez denʃəl/ adjective 1. living in a hospital 2. living at home

residential care / rez denʃəl keə/ noun the care of patients either in a hospital or at home, but not as outpatients

residual /r z djuəl/ adjective remaining, which is left behind

residual air /r z djuəl eə/, residual volume /r z djuəl vɒlju m/ noun air left in the

lungs after a person has breathed out as much air as possible

residual urine /r z djuəl jυər n/ noun urine left in the bladder after a person has passed as much urine as possible

resin / rez n/ noun a sticky sap or liquid which comes from some types of tree

resist /r z st/ verb to be strong enough to avoid being killed or attacked by a disease A healthy body can resist some infections. resistance /r z stəns/ noun 1. the ability of a person not to get a disease 2. the ability of bacteria or a virus to remain unaffected by a drug The bacteria have developed a resistance to certain antibiotics. 3. opposition to a force

resistant /r z st(ə)nt/ adjective able not to be affected by something The bacteria are resistant to some antibiotics.

resistant strain /r z st(ə)nt stre n/ noun a strain of bacterium which is not affected by antibiotics

resolution / rezə lu ʃ(ə)n/ noun 1. the amount of detail which can be seen in a microscope or on a computer monitor 2. a point in the development of a disease where the inflammation begins to disappear

resolve /r zɒlv/ verb (of inflammation) to begin to disappear

‘…valve fluttering disappears as the pneumothorax resolves. Always confirm resolution with a physical examination and X-ray’ [American Journal of Nursing]

resolvent /r zɒlvənt/ adjective able to reduce inflammation or swelling

resonance / rez(ə)nəns/ noun a sound made by a hollow part of the body when hit. magnetic

resorption /r sɔ pʃən/ noun the process of absorbing a substance produced by the body back into the body

respiration / respə re ʃ(ə)n/ noun the act of taking air into the lungs and blowing it out again through the mouth or nose. Also called breathing

COMMENT: Respiration includes two stages: breathing in (inhalation) and breathing out (exhalation). Air is taken into the respiratory system through the nose or mouth, and goes down into the lungs through the pharynx, larynx and windpipe. In the lungs, the bronchi take the air to the alveoli (air sacs) where oxygen in the air is passed to the bloodstream in exchange for waste carbon dioxide which is then breathed out.

respiration rate / respə re ʃ(ə)n re t/ noun the number of times a person breathes per minute

respirator / respəre tə/ noun 1. same as ventilator the patient was put on a respirator the patient was attached to a machine which forced him to breathe 2. a mask worn to prevent someone breathing harmful gas or fumes

respiratory /r sp rət(ə)ri/ adjective referring to breathing

respiratory allergy /r sp rət(ə)ri ləd i/ noun an allergy caused by a substance which is inhaled. alveolitis, food allergy

respiratory bronchiole /r sp rət(ə)ri brɒŋkiəυl/ noun the end part of a bronchiole

in the lung, which joins the alveoli respiratory centre /r sp rət(ə)ri sentə/ noun a nerve centre in the brain which regulates the breathing

respiratory distress syndrome /rsp rət(ə)ri d stres s ndrəυm/ noun a con-

dition of newborn babies, and especially common in premature babies, in which the lungs do not expand properly, due to lack of surfactant. Also called hyaline membrane disease

respiratory failure /r sp rət(ə)ri fe ljə/ noun failure of the lungs to oxygenate the blood correctly



respiratory illness /r sp rət(ə)ri lnəs/ noun an illness which affects someone’s


respiratory pigment /r sp rət(ə)ri p &mənt/ noun blood pigment which can car-

ry oxygen collected in the lungs and release it

in tissues

respiratory quotient /r sp rət(ə)ri kwəυʃ(ə)nt/ noun the ratio of the amount of

carbon dioxide taken into the alveoli of the lungs from the blood to the amount of oxygen which the alveoli take from the air. Abbr RQ

respiratory syncytial virus /r sp rət(ə)ri s n s tiəl va rəs/ noun a virus which causes

infections of the nose and throat in adults, but serious bronchiolitis in children. Abbr RSV



/r sp rət(ə)ri

s stəm/, respiratory tract

/r sp rət(ə)ri

tr kt/ noun the series of organs and passages which take air into the lungs, and exchange ox-

ygen for carbon dioxide

respite care / respa t keə/ noun temporary care provided to people with disabilities, serious conditions or terminal illness, so that their

families can have a rest from the daily routine respond /r spɒnd/ verb 1. to react to some-

thing The cancer is not responding to drugs.

2. to begin to get better because of a treatment

She is responding to treatment.

‘…many severely confused patients, particularly those in advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease, do not respond to verbal communication’ [Nursing Times]

response /r spɒns/ noun a reaction by an organ, tissue or a person to an external stimulus immune response 1. reaction of a body to an antigen 2. reaction of a body which rejects a transplant

‘…anaemia may be due to insufficient erythrocyte production, in which case the reticulocyte count will be low, or to haemolysis or haemorrhage, in which cases there should be a reticulocyte response’ [Southern Medical Journal]

responsibility /r spɒns b l ti/ noun 1. somebody or something which a person or organisation has a duty to take care of Checking the drip is your responsibility. 2. the blame for something bad which has happened She has taken full responsibility for the mix-up. 3. the position of having to explain to somebody why something was done Whose responsibility is it to talk to the family?

responsible /r spɒns b(ə)l/ adjective referring to something which is the cause of something else the allergen which is responsible for the patient’s reaction This is one of several factors which can be responsible for high blood pressure.

responsive /r spɒns v/ adjective reacting positively to medical treatment responsiveness /r spɒns vnəs/ noun the ability to respond to other people or to sensations

rest /rest/ noun a period of time spent relaxing or sleeping What you need is a good night’s rest. verb 1. to spend time relaxing or sleeping 2. to use a body part less for a period of time Rest your arm for a week. restenosis / ri stə nəυs s/ noun an occasion when something becomes narrow again, e.g. a coronary artery which has previously been widened by balloon angioplasty (NOTE: The

plural is restenoses.)

restless / restləs/ adjective not able to relax or be still restless sleep She had a restless


restless leg syndrome / restləs le& s n* drəυm/ noun painful discomfort in the legs

when not active that can lead to interrupted sleep and fatigue

restore /r stɔ / verb to give something back

She needs vitamins to restore her strength. The physiotherapy should restore the strength of the muscles. A salpingostomy was performed to restore the patency of the Fallopian tube.

restrict /r str kt/ verb 1. to make something less or smaller The blood supply is restricted by the tight bandage. 2. to set limits to something The doctor suggested she should restrict her intake of alcohol.

restrictive /r str kt v/ adjective restricting,

making something smaller

result /r z"lt/ noun figures at the end of a calculation, at the end of a test What was the result of the test? The doctor told the patient the result of the pregnancy test. The result of the operation will not be known for some weeks.

resuscitate /r s"s te t/ verb to make someone who appears to be dead start breathing again, and to restart the circulation of blood resuscitation /r s"s te ʃ(ə)n/ noun the act of reviving someone who seems to be dead, by making him or her breathe again and restarting the heart

COMMENT: The commonest methods of resuscitation are artificial respiration and cardiac massage.

retain /r te n/ verb to keep or hold something

He was incontinent and unable to retain urine in his bladder. retention

retard /r tɑ d/ verb to make something slower, e.g. to slow down the action of a drug The drug will retard the onset of the fever. The injections retard the effect of the anaesthetic. retardation / ri tɑ de ʃ(ə)n/ noun the process of making something slower

retch /retʃ/ verb to try to vomit without bringing any food up from the stomach

retching / retʃ ŋ/ noun the fact of attempting to vomit without being able to do so

rete / ri ti / noun a network of veins, arteries or nerve fibres in the body. reticular (NOTE: The plural is retia.)



retention /r tenʃən/ noun the act of not letting out something, especially a fluid, which is usually released from the body, e.g. holding back urine in the bladder

retention cyst /r tenʃən s st/ noun a cyst which is formed when a duct from a gland is


retention of urine /r tenʃən əv jυər n/ noun a condition in which passing urine is difficult or impossible because the urethra is blocked or because the prostate gland is en-


rete testis / ri ti test s/ noun a network of channels in the testis which take the sperm to the epididymis. reticular

retia / ri ʃiə/ plural of rete

reticular /r t kjυlə/ adjective relating to or in

the form of a network

reticular fibres /r t kjυlə fa bəs/ plural noun fibres in connective tissue which support,

e.g., organs or blood vessels

reticular tissue /r t kjυlə t ʃu / noun

same as reticular fibres

reticulin /r t kjυli n/ noun a fibrous protein which is one of the most important compo-

nents of reticular fibres

reticulocyte /r t kjυləυsa t/ noun a red

blood cell which has not yet fully developed reticulocytosis /r t kjυləυsa təυs s/

noun a condition in which the number of reticulocytes in the blood increases unusually

reticuloendothelial cell /r t kjυləυendəυ θi liəl sel/ noun a phagocytic cell in

the reticuloendolethial system

reticuloendothelial system /r t kjυləυendəυ θi liəl s stəm/ noun a series of

phagocytic cells in the body, found especially in bone marrow, lymph nodes, liver and spleen, which attack and destroy bacteria and form antibodies. Abbr RES reticuloendotheliosis /r t kjυləυ endəυ θi li əυs s/ noun a condition in which cells in the RES grow large and form swellings in

bone marrow or destroy bones

reticulosis /r t kjυ ləυs s/ noun any of several conditions where cells in the reticuloendothelial system grow large and form usually

malignant tumours

reticulum /r t kjυləm/ noun a series of small fibres or tubes forming a network retin- /ret n/ prefix same as retino- (used before vowels)

retina / ret nə/ noun the inside layer of the eye which is sensitive to light. detached retina. See illustration at EYE in Supplement

(NOTE: The plural is retinae.)

COMMENT: Light enters the eye through the pupil and strikes the retina. Light-sensitive cells in the retina (cones and rods) convert the light to nervous impulses. The optic nerve sends these impulses to the brain which interprets them as images. The point where the

optic nerve joins the retina has no light-sensi- tive cells, and is known as the blind spot.

retinaculum / ret n kjυləm/ noun a band of tissue which holds a structure in place, as found in the wrist and ankle over the flexor tendons

retinae / ret ni/ plural of retina

retinal / ret n(ə)l/ adjective referring to the


retinal artery / ret n(ə)l ɑ təri/ noun the only artery of the retina, which accompanies the optic nerve

retinal detachment / ret n(ə)l d t tʃmənt/ noun a condition in which the ret-

ina is partly detached from the choroid retinitis / ret na t s/ noun inflammation of

the retina

retinitis pigmentosa / ret na t s p &men təυsə/ noun a hereditary condition in which inflammation of the retina can result in blindness

retino- /ret nəυ/ prefix referring to the retina retinoblastoma / ret nəυbl stəυmə/ noun

a rare tumour in the retina, affecting infants retinol / ret nɒl/ noun a vitamin found in liver, vegetables, eggs and cod liver oil which is essential for good vision. Also called Vitamin


retinopathy / ret nɒpəθi/ noun any disease

of the retina

retinoscope / ret nəskəυp/ noun an instrument with various lenses, used to measure the

refraction of the eye

retinoscopy / ret nɒskəpi/ noun a method of measuring refractive errors in the eye using a retinoscope

retire /r ta ə/ verb to stop work at a particular age Most men retire at 65, but women only go on working until they are 60. Although she has retired, she still does voluntary work at the clinic.

retirement /r ta əmənt/ noun 1. the act of retiring The retirement age for men is 65. 2.

the act of being retired

retraction /r tr kʃən/ noun the fact of moving backwards or becoming shorter There is retraction of the overlying skin.

retraction ring /r tr kʃən r ŋ/ noun a groove round the uterus, separating its upper and lower parts, which, in obstructed labour, prevents the baby from moving forward as expected into the cervical canal. Also called

Bandl’s ring

retractor /r tr ktə/ noun a surgical instrument which pulls and holds back the edge of

the incision in an operation

retro- /retrəυ/ prefix at the back, behind retrobulbar / retrəυ b"lbə/ adjective behind

the eyeball

retrobulbar neuritis / retrəυ b"lbə nju ra t s/ noun inflammation of the optic nerve


rhesus factor

which makes objects appear blurred. Also

called optic neuritis

retroflexion / retrəυ flekʃ(ə)n/ noun the fact of being bent backwards retroflexion of the uterus a condition in which the uterus

bends backwards away from its usual position retrograde / retrəυ&re d/ adjective going

backwards or deteriorating, getting worse

retrograde pyelography / retrəυ&re dpa ə lɒ&rəfi/ noun an X-ray examination of

the kidney where a catheter is passed into the kidney and an opaque liquid is injected direct-

ly into it

retrogression / retrəυ &reʃ(ə)n/ noun re-

turning to an earlier state

retrolental fibroplasia / retrəυ lent(ə)lfa brəυ ple ziə/ noun a condition in which fi-

brous tissue develops behind the lens of the eye, resulting in blindness

COMMENT: Retrolental fibroplasia can occur in premature babies if they are treated with large amounts of oxygen immediately after birth.

retro-ocular / retrəυ ɒkjυlə/ adjective at

the back of the eye

retroperitoneal / retrəυ per tə ni əl/ ad-

jective at the back of the peritoneum retroperitoneal space / retrəυ peritəυni əl

spe s/ noun the area between the posterior parietal peritoneum and the posterior abdominal wall, containing the kidneys, adrenal glands,

duodenum, ureters and pancreas retropharyngeal / retrəυ f r n d i əl/ ad-

jective at the back of the pharynx retropubic / retrəυ pju b k/ adjective at the

back of the pubis

retropubic prostatectomy / retrəυpju b kprɒstə tektəmi/ noun removal of the prostate

gland which is carried out through a suprapubic incision and by cutting the membrane

which surrounds the gland

retrospection / retrə spekʃən/ noun the act

of recalling what happened in the past retrospective / retrə spekt v/ adjective ap-

plying to the past, tracing what has happened

already to selected people

retroversion / retrəυ v! ʃ(ə)n/ noun the fact of sloping backwards retroversion of

the uterus Same as retroverted uterus

retroverted uterus / retrəυv! t d ju tərəs/ noun a condition in which the uterus

slopes backwards away from its usual position. Also called retroversion of the uterus,

tipped womb

retrovirus / retrəυva rəs/ noun a virus whose genetic material contains RNA from which DNA is synthesised (NOTE: The AIDS virus and many carcinogenic viruses are retrovi-


revascularisation /ri v skjυləra ze ʃ(ə)n/, revascularization noun 1. the act of restoring an adequate blood supply to an organ or tissue, especially in a surgical operation us-

ing a blood vessel graft 2. the condition of having an adequate blood supply restored reveal /r vi l/ verb to show something Digital palpation revealed a growth in the breast. reversal /r v! s(ə)l/ noun the procedure to change something back reversal of sterilisation

reverse isolation /r v! s a sə le ʃ(ə)n/ noun same as protective isolation

revision /r v (ə)n/ noun an examination of a surgical operation after it has been carried out a revision of a radical mastoidectomy revive /r va v/ verb to bring someone back to life or to consciousness They tried to revive him with artificial respiration. She collapsed on the floor and had to be revived by the nurse.

Reye’s syndrome / ra z s ndrəυm/ noun a form of brain disease affecting young children, which is possibly due to viral infection and has a suspected link with aspirin

RGN abbr Registered General Nurse Rh abbr rhesus

RHA abbr Regional Health Authority rhabdomyosarcoma / r bdəυ ma əυsɑ

kəυmə/ noun a malignant tumour of striated muscle tissue. It occurs mostly in children. rhabdovirus / r bdəυva rəs/ noun any of a group of viruses containing RNA, one of which causes rabies

rhachio- /re kiəυ/ prefix referring to the spine rhagades / r &ədi z/ plural noun long thin scars in the skin round the nose, mouth or anus, seen in syphilis. fissure

Rh disease /ɑ r e tʃ d zi z/ noun same as rhesus factor disease

rheo- /ri əυ/ prefix 1. relating to the flow of liquids 2. relating to the flow of electrical current

rheometer /ri ɒm tə/ noun a device that measures the flow of thick liquids such as blood

rhesus baby / ri səs be bi/ noun a baby with erythroblastosis fetalis

rhesus factor / ri səs f ktə/ noun an antigen in red blood cells, which is an element in blood grouping. Also called Rh factor

COMMENT: The rhesus factor is important in blood grouping, because, although most people are Rh-positive, an Rh-negative patient should not receive an Rh-positive blood transfusion as this will cause the formation of permanent antibodies. If an Rh-negative mother has a child by an Rh-positive father, the baby will inherit Rh-positive blood, which may then pass into the mother’s circulation at childbirth and cause antibodies to form. This can be prevented by an injection of anti D immunoglobulin immediately after the birth of the first Rh-positive child and any subsequent Rhpositive children. If an Rh-negative mother has formed antibodies to Rh-positive blood in the past, these antibodies will affect the blood

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