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8mm mass - about the size of a green pea


Acapella breathing exerciser - a device that delivers vibrating air under positive pressure

acetylcysteine - antioxidant drug used to thin mucus

Achondroplastic - Achondroplasia is the most common type of dwarfism, in which the child's arms and legs are short in proportion to body length.

Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) -
acute illness that is brief, severe and comes quickly comes to a crisis

Adenopathy - large or swollen lymph glands

Aerophagia - swallowing air

ALA - American Lung Association

Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency, AATD -
Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency is a lack of a liver protein that blocks the destructive effects of certain enzymes. The condition may lead to  emphysema and liver disease.

ALS - Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Alveoli - tiny ‘air sacs’, at the end of branching of lung tree, where oxygen is delivered to the blood stream and carbon dioxide is removed.

Ambien - sleep medication

Angioprim - antioxidant

Ankylosing spondylitis - Is a type of arthritis  of the spine. It causes swelling between your vertebrae, which are the disks that make up your spine, and in the joints between your spine and pelvis.

Antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) - is a rare immunological disorder characterized by recurring blood clot          

Aortic Valve Stenosis - narrowing of the aortic valve

ARDS - Adult Respiratory Disease Syndrome

Aspiration pneumonitis - injury to the lung caused by gastric contents

Atelectasis -- collapse of the lung or part of the lung

Atrovent – ipratropium

Avelox - antibiotoic


BAN – Breath-Actuated Nebulizer; produces aerosol only during the inspiration

Barrett’s Esophagus - a condition in which the esophagus, the muscular tube that carries food and saliva from the mouth to the stomach, changes so that some of its lining is replaced by a type of tissue similar to that normally found in the intestine

BCG, or bacille Calmette-Gu�rin - A vaccine for tuberculosis (TB) disease. Many foreign-born persons have been BCG-vaccinated. BCG is used in many countries with a high prevalence of TB to prevent childhood tuberculous meningitis and miliary disease.

Benign - not cancerous

Bicarbonate - like baking soda

BID – twice a day

Bilateral - both sides

Bi-level Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP) - is a technique that is often used to treat sleep apnea and to provide airway support with a face mask rather than tracheal tube that is attached to a mechanical ventilator

Bi-Pap - a machine that aids with oxygenation and ventilation

Bleomycin - a drug that is used to treat several types of cancer

Body Mass Index (BMI) - A measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to both adult men and women

Body plethysmography - a test used to measure gas volumes and airway resistance

Bronchiectasis - abnormal destruction and widening of the large airways

Bronchiolitis – an inflammation of the small passages in the lungs (bronchioles), usually caused by a viral infection.

Bronchoiolitis Obliterans with Organizing Pneumonia – BOOP

Bronchoscopy - a diagnostic procedure in which your doctor uses a scope (a tube with a camera on the end) to take a look at the inside of the airways and lungs. Lung tissue biopsies can be obtained during a bronchoscopy.

Bullectomy - the surgical removal of a bulla

Bullous - enlarged air sacks


C. diff - a bacterium that can cause symptoms ranging from diarrhea to life-threatening inflammation of the colon

Capnography - measures exhaled CO2

Carbohydrate – carb

Cardiomyopathy - a weakening of the heart muscle or a change in heart muscle structure. It is often associated with inadequate heart pumping or other heart function abnormalities.

CO - carbon monoxide

Cardizem - medication for heart disease

Catamenial Pneumothorax- is a rare condition, which often involves endometriosis of the diaphragm, causing the lung to collapse during menses

CEA - A substance that is sometimes found in an increased amount in the blood of people who have certain cancers, other diseases, or who smoke.

Center Disease Control – CDC

Chest Physiotherapy Therapy (CPT) - the use of vibrating, pounding, etc in treatment of pneumonia

Cilia - little hairs in the airways of the lungs that beat back and forth to move mucus out of the lungs

Cilia Immotile Syndrome - rare genetic birth defect that causes abnormal or absent movement of the cilia.

CO2 - carbon dioxide

COHb, carboxyhemoglobin - carbon monoxide combines with hemoglobin, to form carboxyhemoglobin and in this process, the carbon monoxide takes the place of oxygen

Comorbidity - pertaining to a disease or other pathological process that occurs simultaneously with another.

Congestive Heart Failure – CHF

Costochondritis - is an inflammation of the cartilage that connects a rib to the breastbone (sternum).

Coumadin - blood thinner

CPAP - Continuous Positive Airway Pressure

CPAP machine - used to help keep the airways open during sleep

Cromolyn Sodium, Intal (brand name) - a drug that is used to in the treatment of asthma

Crohn’s disease – an ongoing disorder that causes inflammation of the digestive tract

CRT – Certified Respiratory Therapist

CyberKnife� - a Robotic Radiosurgery System is a non-invasive alternative to surgery for the treatment of both cancerous and non-cancerous tumors anywhere in the body, including the prostate, lung, brain, spine, liver, pancreas and kidney. The treatment delivers beams of high dose radiation to tumors with extreme accuracy.

Cystic Fibrosis – CF - is an inherited condition affecting the cells that produce mucus, sweat, saliva and digestive juices.


Diplophonia - a condition in which the voice simultaneously produces two sounds of different pitch.

Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation (DIC) - is a serious disorder in which the proteins that control blood clotting are abnormally active

DLCO - the lungs diffusing capacity

Duraflu - over the counter medication

DVT -  Deep venous thrombosis is a condition in which a blood clot forms in a vein that is deep inside the body

Dyspnea - difficulty breathing or breathlessness


E. coli – Also known as Escherichia coli; a large and diverse group of bacteria.

Echocardiogram - ultrasound is used to view the heart

EGD - (esophagogastroduodenoscopy), an examination of the lining of the esophagus, stomach, and upper duodenum with a small camera (flexible endoscope) which is inserted down the throat.

Emergency Room – ER

Endotracheal tube (ET Tube) - a breathing a tube placed in the airways, through the mouth or nose, to keep the airway open  and this tube can be connected to mechanical ventilators for the purpose of delivering air and/or gases into the lungs

ENT – Ear, nose and throat doctor

Exacerbations – worsening of  condition/disease or flare-up

Extubate/Extubation - the removal of a breathing tube from a person’s airway


Fenestrated tracheotomy tube - tracheotomy tube that has a hole in it for airflow through vocal cords and upper airway to allow speech

FEV1 - Forced Expiratory Volume in 1 second

Fibroadenoma - a benign (noncancerous) tumor

Fibromyalgia - is a chronic condition characterized by widespread pain in your muscles, ligaments and tendons, as well as fatigue and multiple tender points.

Flolan Pump - medication that is delivered through tubing that is permanently placed into a vein in the neck

Fluticasone - a corticosteroid

Fosamx - used to treat or prevent postmenopausal osteoporosis and steroid-induced osteoporosis.

Furosemide (Lasix) - a diuretic

FVC (Forced Vital Capacity) - the maximum volume air that can be forcefully exhaled


GERD - Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

Granuloma - calcium growth


HBP - high blood pressure

Helios - a portable liquid oxygen device

Heliox - helium and oxygen mixture

Hemidiaphragm – one of the two lateral halves of the diaphragm separating the chest and abdominal cavities

Hiatal hernia - a condition in which a portion of the stomach protrudes upward into the chest through an opening in the diaphragm

Histoplasmosis - a disease caused by the fungus Histoplasma capsulatum, which grows in soil and material contaminated with bat or bird droppings

HIV - The Human Immunodeficiency Virus is a virus that kills your body's "CD4 cells." CD4 cells (also called T-helper cells) help your body fight off infection and disease. HIV can be passed from person to person if someone with HIV infection has sex with or shares drug injection needles with another person. It also can be passed from a mother to her baby when she is pregnant, when she delivers the baby, or if she breastfeeds her baby.

HME - humidification system

HRCT - High Resolution CT Scan

Hydroxyzine Pamoate – Vistaril


Idiopathic - unknown origin

ILD - Interstitial Lung Disease

Inogen One - a portable oxygen concentrator

Interstitial Pneumonitis - lung inflammation

Isoniazid - a drug that is used to treat tuberculosis (TB) and to prevent it in people who have had contact with tuberculosis bacteria.




Lavage - washing out with fluid

Lidocaine - a local anesthetic

Lobectomy - surgical removal of the lobe of the lung

Lpm - liters per minute

Lupus - is a chronic, autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body (skin, joints, and/or organs inside the body).        


Marfan syndrome - an inheritable condition that affects the connective tissue

Mediastinum - is the part of the chest between the sternum and the spinal column. It contains the esophagus, trachea, heart, and other important structures.

Mediastinotomy - a procedure in which the doctor inserts a tube into the chest to obtain biopsy sample/s of the lymph nodes in the chest

Meniere's disease - problem with the inner ear that symptoms include dizziness, a feeling of fullness in the ear and tinnitus (a roaring sound in the ear). 

Meningioma - a type of tumor that develops from the meninges, the membrane that surrounds the brain and spinal cord

MEP - Maximal Expiratory Pressure

Methacholine Challenge - a test that can identify people with “sensitive” airways, often used to diagnosis asthma

MIP - Maximal Inspiratory Pressure

Mitral Valve - the valve that connects the two chambers of the left part of the heart

Moraxella catarrhalis - a disease causing ear and upper and lower respiratory infections.

Mucinex – Guaifenesinis - thins the mucus in the air passages and makes it easier to cough up the mucus and clear the airways

Mucomyst - a physician-prescribed medicine used to thin mucus, is also called N-Acetylcyetein

MVV - Maximum Voluntary Ventilation


Nasal cannula - an oxygen  device  that is placed into the nostrils so that oxygen can delivered

NPS –Neonatal/Pediatric Specialist

NSIP - Nonspecific Interstitial Pneumonia

Normal Saline - salt solution


Osteopenia - bone weakening

Otolaryngologists - physicians trained in the medical and surgical management and treatment of patients with diseases and disorders of the ear, nose, throat (ENT), and related structures of the head and neck.

Oximeter - a machine that measures your oxygenation

Oxygen Conserving Device – a device that controls the delivery the flow of oxygen begins when you begin to inhale and then the flow stops until you begin to inhale again. 

Oxyhemoglobin Dissociation Curve - a mathematical relationship, that is viewed as a graph, showing the amount of oxygen that combines with hemoglobin as a function of the partial pressure of oxygen


Paradoxical Reaction - A response that is the opposite of the usual response, i.e. such as agitation produced in an individual patient by a drug normally considered to be a sedative.

PET scan (Positron Emission Tomography) - is a test often used to detect cancer

Percutaneous biopsy - tissue sample is obtained by insertion of needle

PFT - Pulmonary Function Test

Phrenic Nerve - a nerve that originates in the cervical spine and passes down to the diaphragm

PICU - Pediatric Intensive Care Unit

Pleural - the lining that covers the lungs

Pleurectomy - the surgical procedure to remove the parietal pleura, the outermost lining around the lungs.

Pleurodesis - a procedure to prevent recurrent fluid build-up between the lung linings

Pneumomediastinum - is a condition in which air is present in the mediastinum (the space in the chest between the two lungs).

Pneumonitis -general term that refers to inflammation of lung tissue

Pneumothorax- is a collection of air or gas in the lung linings and causing the lung to collapse

Polycythemia vera - an abnormal increase in blood cells, primarily red blood cells, due to excess production of the cells by the bone marrow

Primary cilary dyskinesia - is a disease that causes a chronic cough, recurrent infections of the lung, and scarring of the airway.

PRN - use as needed

Pseudomonas - infection caused by bacterium

Pulmonary Emboli - a blood clot blocking an artery in the lung

Prolastin therapy - medicine to treat Alpha 1 and is given by IV (intravenous)

Pulmonary Function Test (PFT)

Pulse-ox - a machine that measures oxygen saturations

Pulsing vest - a vest that rapidly inflates and deflates; some vest products also provide vibration

Pursed lip breathing technique:

  1. First inhale slowly through your nose, with your mouth closed.
  2. Slowly exhale through pursed lips, shape your mouth as you do when whistling


Qvar - an inhaled steroid used as a control medication)


RA - Rheumatoid Arthritis

RAD - Reactive Airways Disease

Residual Volume - the volume of air that can not be exhaled

Resection - the surgical removal of part of an organ

Respirator - mechanical ventilator

Respiratory Bronchiolitis Interstitial Lung Disease (RBILD) - a rare form of interstitial lung disease

Rheumatologist - an MD who treats rheumatic illnesses, especially arthritis

RRT - Registered Respiratory Therapist

RSV - Respiratory syncytial (sin-SISH-uhl) virus, or RSV, is a respiratory virus that infects the lungs and breathing passages. Most otherwise healthy people recover from RSV infection in one to two weeks. However, infection can be severe in some people, such as certain infants, young children, and older adults.


Sarcoidosis - a disease of unknown cause in which inflammation occurs in the lymph nodes, lungs, liver, eyes, skin, or other tissues

SCBA -Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus

Scoliosis - an abnormal curvature of the spine

Seretide - medicine that is not available in the USA

Sniff Test – a fluoroscopic exam used to evaluate whether the diaphragm (the muscle that controls breathing) moves in the proper direction during various maneuvers including normal breathing and while rapidly inhaling.

SOB - shortness of breath; breathing difficulties involve a sensation of difficult or uncomfortable breathing or a feeling of not getting enough air

Spiculated mass - a lump of tissue with spikes or points on the surface

Spiriva – tiotropium

Spirometer -  a device used to measure lung function

Spirometry - a test to measure lung function that can be done in a doctors office

Spontaneous pneumothoracies - lung collapse occurs where there is no clear cause

Straight Back Syndrome - consisting of loss of normal upper thoracic spinal curvature

Stenosis - narrowing

Suction Catheter - a small tube is put inside of an airway to suction out excess mucus


TB - Tuberculosis

TBC - Post-tuberculosis lung disorder

Thoracotomy - surgical incision of the chest wall and often lung tissue is removed

TLC - Total Lung Capacity

Tobramycin – antibiotic

Trach – tracheotomy

Trach "button” - a tube that holds the tracheotomy open

Tracheomalacia -  a weakening of the supporting structure of the tracheal cartilage

Tracheotomy - an opening surgically created through the neck into the trachea/windpipe

Transtracheal Oxygen Therapy (TTO), - a method to deliver oxygen to the lungs via a small tube inserted into the lower neck

Tussionex - an antihistamine and narcotic cough syrup


Ultrasonic nebulizer - a nebulizer that produces finer aerosol particles

USDA - United States Department of Agriculture

UIP - usual interstitial pneumonia


Valley Fever - Coccidioidomycosis, also known as Valley Fever, is a fungal disease caused by Coccidioides species. These organisms live in the soil of semiarid areas. It is endemic in areas such as the southwestern United States, parts of Mexico and South America. Most of the people who get the disease are people who live in or visit places where the fungus is in the soil and who engage in activities that expose them to dust (such as construction, agricultural work, military field training and archeological exploration).

Varicella Pneumonia - lung infection caused by chicken pox.

Vicodin - narcotic pain reliever

Vioxx - a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug

Volutrauma - lung damage due to high volumes of airflow while on a mechanical ventilator

VTG - Thoracic Gas Volume


Wegener's Granulomatosis - an uncommon disease, in which the blood vessels are inflamed




Z-Pak – antibiotic


Medline Plus
National Lung Health Education Program

Thomas L. Petty MD, FAARC


2024 American Association for Respiratory Care