Glossary of Children's Hospital Terms

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

Dehydration: Excessive loss of body water. Diseases of the gastrointestinal tract that cause vomiting or diarrhea may, for example, lead to dehydration. There are a number of other causes of dehydration including heat exposure, prolonged vigorous exercise (e.g., in a marathon), kidney disease, and medications (diuretics).

Depression: An illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts that affects the way a person eats and sleeps, the way they feel about themselves, and the way they think about things. A depressive disorder is not the same as a passing blue mood.  It is not a sign of personal weakness or a condition that can be wished away. People with a depressive disease cannot merely "pull themselves together" and get better. Without treatment, symptoms can last for weeks, months, or years. Appropriate treatment, however, can help most people with depression.
Dermatitis: Inflammation of the skin, due to either direct contact with an irritating substance or an allergic reaction. Symptoms of dermatitis include redness, itching, and in some cases blistering.
Developmental delay: Behind schedule in reaching milestones of childhood development.
Device, assistive: Any device that is designed, made, and/or adapted to assist a person to perform a particular task. For example, canes, crutches, walkers, wheel chairs, and shower chairs are all assistive devices.
Dextrose: the IV sugar that is converted to glucose and is the chief source of energy for the body's living cells. As the main sugar that the body manufactures, glucose is generated from all three elements of food; protein, fat and carbohydrates, but in largest part from carbohydrates. . It is carried to each cell through the bloodstream.
Dialysis: An artificial process which perform some of the functions of a normal kidney when the child’s’ own kidneys are absent or not working properly.
  • Exchanging fluids through a catheter placed into the abdomen performs peritoneal dialysis. This form of dialysis can be performed at home.
  • Hemodialysis requires a machine and a catheter placed into a large vein close to the heart or by a large shunt placed surgically.  It occurs intermittently (e.g. 3-times a week) for approximately 2-4 hours each.
  • CVVHD (continuous veno-venous hemodiafiltration and CAVHD (continuous arterio-venous hemodiafiltration) are forms of dialysis used in an ICU/OR and require large catheters placed into arteries and/or veins that then allow blood to be filtered outside the body through an "artificial kidney. " This is continuously running and requires cooperative or sedated patients.
Diastolic blood pressure: Referring to the blood pressure at its lowest point when the heart is in a period of relaxation between beats. In a blood pressure reading, the diastolic pressure is the second number recorded. For example, with a blood pressure of 120/80 ("120 over 80"), the diastolic pressure is 80.
Diabetes:  A disease that develops when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin.  Insulin assists sugar (glucose) to enter cells where it can be converted to energy.
Digestive system: The organs that are responsible for getting food into and out of the body and for making use of food to keep the body healthy. These organs include the salivary glands, mouth, esophagus, stomach, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, small intestine, colon, anus, and rectum.
Dilated cardiomyopathy: A condition in which the heart becomes enlarged and weak, sometimes because of a virus.
Diuretic medicines: A medication that helps the kidneys to pass more water and reduce excess fluid in the organs, especially the lungs and heart.
Donor: The family or unrelated volunteer who donates tissues, organs or blood to a person in need.
Doppler ultrasound: A form of ultrasound that can detect and measure blood flow.