Glossary (V-Z)

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V

Vasculitis, Allergic Cutaneous
Vasculitis due to allergic reaction, marked by such cutaneous lesions as papules, macules, vesicles, urticarial wheals, purpura, and small ulcers, and accompanied by itching and usually a slight fever and malaise.

Vasculitis, Hypersensitivity
Heterogeneous group of disorders characterized by a vasculitic syndrome presumed to be associated with a hypersensitivity reaction following exposure to an antigen such as an infectious agent, a drug, or other foreign or endogenous substance (Wilson et al., Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 12th ed, p1459).

VATS
Please see "Video Assisted Thoracic Surgery."

VC
Please see "Vital Capacity."

Ventilation Perfusion Scan (V/Q)
A Ventilation Perfusion Scan (V/Q) is a nuclear medicine test that looks at blood flow and air distribution in the lungs. V/Q scans are done before surgery that involves resection of lung to determine where the areas are that receive both air (ventilation) and blood (perfusion). The surgeon can then determine how much contribution to overall lung function those areas provide.

Ventilators
These machines substitute for, or assist normal breathing. They include NIPPV (Non-Invasive Positive Pressure Ventilation) and IPPV (Invasive Positive Pressure Ventilation). Each ventilator can be programmed to assist the patient who breathes on their own with extra pressure support to the airway, add extra breaths to the patient's own spontaneous respiratory rate, and totally provide all respiratory support for the patient. They can also provide high amount of oxygen support.

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Video Assisted Thoracic Surgery (VATS)
Video-Assisted Thoracic Surgery (VATS) is a recently developed type of surgery that allows doctors to view the inside of the chest cavity after making only very small incisions. Patients are placed under general anesthesia and are typically positioned on their sides. VATS procedures are done with several (usually 2 to 4) small incisions between the ribs. Using a trocar (a narrow tube-like instrument), the surgeon gains access into the chest cavity through a space between the ribs. An endoscope (a tiny telescope connected to a video camera) is inserted through the trocar and allows the surgeon to view the patient's internal organs on a television monitor. Following the procedure, the small incisions are closed with surgical tape or a stitch or two. In most cases, the incisions are barely visible after a few months.

Viruses
Very small organisms that cause infection.

Visceral Pleura
The portion of the pleural membrane that covers the lung.

Vital Capacity
Vital Capacity (VC) is the difference between Total Lung Capacity (the total amount of air the lung can hold) and Residual Volume (the air that remains in the lung after a person has breathed out as hard as possible). It is the maximum amount of air which can be breathed out slowly after as taking as big a breath in as possible.

Vocal Cord Paralysis
Paralysis of one or both of the vocal cords.

Vocal Cords
The folds of mucous membrane along either wall of the larynx from the angle between the laminae of the thyroid cartilage to the vocal process of the arytenoid cartilage.

Voice Disorders
Disorders of voice pitch, loudness, or quality.

Vomeronasal Organ
A specialized part of the olfactory system located anteriorly in the nasal cavity within the nasal septum. Chemosensitive cells of the vomeronasal organ project via the vomeronasal nerve to the accessory olfactory bulb. The primary function of this organ appears to be in sensing pheromones which regulate reproductive and other social behaviors. While the structure has been thought absent in higher primate adults, data now suggests it may be present in adult humans.

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W

Waldenstrom Macroglobulinemia
A plasma cell dyscrasia resembling leukemia with cells of lymphocytic, plasmacytic, or intermediate morphology, which secrete an IgM M component. There is diffuse infiltration of bone marrow and also, in many cases, of the spleen, liver, or lymph nodes. The circulating macroglobulin produces symptoms of hyperviscosity syndrome: weakness, fatigue, bleeding disorders, and visual disturbances. Peak incidence is in the sixth and seventh decades. (Dorland, 28th ed)

Wegener's Granulomatosis
A multisystem disease chiefly affecting males, characterized by necrotizing granulomatous vasculitis involving the upper and lower respiratory tracts, glomerulonephritis, and variable degrees of systemic, small vessel vasculitis, which is generally considered to represent an aberrant hypersensitivity reaction to an unknown antigen. (Dorland, 27th ed)

Whooping Cough
A respiratory infection caused by bordetella pertussis and characterized by paroxysmal coughing ending in a prolonged crowing intake of breath.

Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome
A rare, X-linked immunodeficiency syndrome characterized by thrombocytopenic purpura, and recurrent pyogenic infection. It is seen exclusively in young boys. Typically, IgM levels are low and IgA and IgE levels are elevated. Lymphoreticular malignancies are common.

Wissler's Syndrome
A rheumatic syndrome of possibly allergic origin, usually affecting children and adolescents, and characterized by high fever, exanthema, arthralgia, leukocytosis, and increased sedimentation rate.

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