Glossary of Children's Hospital Terms

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Vaccination: Injection of a killed or incapacitated microbe or toxin in order to stimulate the immune system against the microbe, thereby preventing disease.

Vascath: A temporary central venous catheter that is used for leukopheresis or dialysis procedures. It is usually inserted into a large vein in the neck, chest, or the groin and is usually removed once the procedure is no longer required.
Vasodilators: Agents that act on blood vessels by relaxing their muscular walls.

Venous: Referring to veins in the body that carry blood from all of the organs and tissues back to the heart after the tissues have removed the oxygen and nutrients they need.  Also called “blue blood.”

Ventilator:  A machine often called a respirator that is designed to assist or takeover breathing for a patient.  The ventilator has many different settings or capabilities also called modes to assist patients in the way that is most effective for them.  Ventilators come equipped with noisy alarms to alert the medical staff to potential problems.

Ventricle: A ventricle is a chamber of an organ. For example, the four connected cavities (hollow spaces) in the central portion of the brain and the lower two chambers of the heart are called ventricles.

Vertebra: A vertebra is one of 33 bony segments that form the spinal column of humans. There are 7 cervical, 12 thoracic, 5 lumbar, 5 sacral (fused into one-sacrum bone) and 4 coccygeal (fused into one-coccyx or tail bone).

Vertigo:  Vertigo is a feeling that you are dizzily turning around or that things are dizzily turning about you. Vertigo is usually due to a problem with the inner ear. Vertigo can also be caused by brain stem problems.

Virus: A small microorganism which cannot grow or reproduce apart from a living cell. A virus invades cells and uses their chemical machinery to keep itself alive and to replicate itself. It may reproduce with fidelity (identically the same) or with errors (mutations)—this ability to mutate is responsible for the ability of some viruses to change slightly in each infected person, making treatment more difficult. Viruses cause many common human infections, and are also responsible for a bevy of rare diseases.

Vital Signs: Temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate and blood pressure.