Glossary of Terms
A & Bs Apnea (a stop in breathing) and bradycardia (low heart rate,<80) episodes.
ABG Laboratory test using blood taken from an artery to check how well the infant is breathing.
Accucheck A test to check the amount of sugar (glucose) in the blood.
Anemia A condition where there is less than normal amount of red blood cells in the blood.
Antibiotic A drug used to kill bacteria. Treats infections.
Apnea A stop or pause in breathing < than 20 seconds.
Bagging Putting breaths of oxygen into the lungs with an oxygen bag and face mask.
Bilirubin A substance that is made by the normal break-down of red blood cells. Is broken down by the liver and leaves the body in the stools. Extra bilirubin in the blood causes jaundice, the yellow skin color.
Blood Gas Laboratory test of the amount of oxygen, carbon dioxide and acid in the blood. Used to test how well the baby is breathing.
BP Blood Pressure
Brady/Bradycardia A slower than normal heart rate (<80).
Breathing Tube A tube that is put into the windpipe (trachea) through the mouth to help the baby breathe.
CBG Laboratory test using capillary blood (blood taken from the heel or finger) to check how well the baby is breathing.
Chest Tube A tube that is put into the baby’s chest to remove extra air and/or fluid.
Containment Helping to hold the baby’s arms and legs close to his/her body, by using rolled blankets or hands. Helps to calm the baby and make him/her feel safe.
Corrected Age The age the baby would be if he/she had been born at full term.
CPAP Continuous Positive Airway Pressure: air and/or oxygen pressure that helps keep the lungs partly open after each breath to make breathing easier. The pressure is sent to the lungs through short tubes in the baby’s nose or a small mask.
Crit Hematocrit: a laboratory test to measure the amount of red blood cells in the blood. Used to check for anemia.
Cyanosis When the skin and mucous membranes have a bluish color. Caused by not enough oxygen in the blood.
Desaturation Less than the normal amount of oxygen in the blood (<85 – 95%).
Distention Enlargement or swelling, usually caused by pressure from air or fluid typically in the abdomen.
Dusky Bluish color of skin, lips and nailbeds when there is not enough oxygen in the blood.
ECHO Echocardiogram: an ultrasound of the heart.
Edema Swelling caused by extra fluid in the tissues.
Emesis Throw up or spit up.
Episode A time of apnea (stop in breathing) or bradycardia (slower than normal heart rate) or desaturation (less than normal amount of oxygen in the blood) or a combination of these.
ET Tube Breathing tube: a tube to help with breathing that is put into the baby’s windpipe (trachea) through the mouth. A machine breathes for the baby.
Feeding Tube NG or OG tube: a small tube that is put into the baby’s nose or mouth that goes to the stomach. Breastmilk or formula is fed to the baby through the tube when he/she is unable to suck or take a bottle.
Gestational Age The age of the baby since conception. Counted in number of weeks.
Glucose A sugar that the baby uses for energy. Can be measured in the blood by a laboratory test (blood sugar or Accucheck).
Grunting The noise a baby makes when he/she is having a hard time breathing.
Head Hood A soft plastic box that is put over a baby’s head to give extra oxygen when the baby is having problems breathing.
Hematocrit The amount of red blood cells in the blood. Used to check for anemia.
Hyper/Hyperalimentation A type of IV fluid that gives the baby nutrition (protein, fats, sugar, vitamins and minerals) when the baby is not eating by mouth. Also called TPN.
I & O Intake and Output. Measuring all of the fluids that go into and out of the baby.
Incubator Also called an isolette. A special clear plastic, box-like bed that is heated to keep the baby warm.
Intubate To put in a breathing tube or ET tube.
Isolette Another name for an incubator. A special clear plastic, box-like bed that is heated to help keep the baby warm.
IV A tiny plastic tube that is put into a vein of the baby. Is used to give fluids and meddication. May be in an arm, leg and/or scalp of the baby.
Jaundice The yellow skin color that is caused by extra bilirubin in the blood.
Kangaroo Care Holding the baby skin-to-skin on the chest of the mother or father.
Lethargic Lack of energy. Sluggishness.
LP Lumbar puncture. Putting a needle into the lower back to remove spinal fluid for testing. Also called a spinal tap.
Meconium Dark green or black tar-like stools that are made before birth and are the first stools passed by the baby.
Monitor A machine that shows the baby’s heart and breathing rate. Also shows the oxygen saturation (how well the baby is using oxygen).
Mottled A blotchy appearance of the skin. Usually happens when a baby is too cold.
Murmur A swishing sound made by blood flowing through the heart. Heard by using a stethoscope. May be normal or could indicate a problem.
Nasal Cannula Soft plastic tubing that is used to give oxygen to a baby. It wraps around the head and has small prongs or openings that go in the baby’s nose.
Nesting Surrounding the baby with soft rolled blankets and/or other soft supports or boundaries that make the baby feel safe and snug. Helps to keep baby calm.
NG Tube Naso-Gastric Tube: tube that goes into the nose down to the stomach. Used for giving formula or breastmilk when baby cannot suck. Also is used to pull air and mucus from the stomach.
Non-Nutritive Suck Sucking on a pacifier or finger. Helps calm the baby and helps to ready him/her for taking feedings by mouth. Sucking that is not used to give milk.
NPO Nothing by mouth. The baby is not getting any milk through the mouth.
OG Tube Oro-Gastric Tube: a tube that is put in the mouth and goes to the stomach. Is used to give formula or breastmilk when a baby cannot suck. Also is used to pull air or mucous from the stomach.
Oral By mouth or having to do with the mouth.
Oxygen Is in the air and taken in when breathing. A gas that is given to the baby when he/she is having a hard time breathing. We breathe 21 percent oxygen in regular room air.
PDA Patent Ductus Arteriosus. A small opening in the heart that does not close after birth like it should.
Phototherapy Treatment for jaundice (yellow skin color) that is done by bright lights. Can be done by overhead lights or by a bili-blanket (a special lighted pad that the baby lays on.)
PICC Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter: a special IV that is long and looks like a thin piece of spaghetti. It is put into a vein and the tip is near the heart. Used for special medications and IV fluids and can stay in much longer than a regular IV.
Platelets A part of the blood that is needed to stop bleeding and helps to make scabs.
Pneumonia An infection in the lungs.
PO Given or taken through the mouth.
Pulse Ox Pulse Oximeter: a monitor that measures the amount of oxygen in the blood. Wraps around the hand or foot and uses a red light sensor to measure the amount of oxygen in the blood (saturation).
Radiant Warmer A special bed that is open and has a heater to keep the baby warm from overhead.
RDS Respiratory Distress Syndrome: a disease that mostly affects the lungs of premature babies and causes them to have trouble breathing.
Reflux Gastroesophageal Reflux: when the contents of the stomach back up into the esophagus (throat or food pipe). Can cause spit-up, apnea and/or bradycardia in babies.
Regurg Spit up (regurgitation).
Residual Food that is left in the stomach from a previous feeding. The amount is checked by pulling it out through the feeding tube before a new feeding.
Respirator Also called a breathing machine or a ventilator. A machine that gives breaths of oxygen to the baby through the breathing tube.
Resuscitate To restart breathing and heart rate.
Retic Reticulocyte count: a laboratory blood test that shows how many new red blood cells the body is making.
Retractions Pulling in of the chest between the ribs and/or under the breastbone when the baby is having trouble breathing.
ROP Retinopathy of Prematurity: a disease that affects the retina (the interior part of the eye) of a premature baby’s eye.
Rounds A time when all the members of the healthcare team talk over the baby’s condition and care plan.
Saturation Oxygen Saturation: the amount of oxygen that is in the blood. Shows how well the baby is breathing.
Sepsis A generalized infection or bacteria in the baby’s blood.
Spinal Tap Putting a needle in the lower back to remove spinal fluid for testing. Also called a lumbar puncture or LP.
Stress The way an infant’s body responds to changes in the infant’s world, possibly due to handling, noise or light. Negative changes may be in vital signs, oxygen saturation, color and/or alertness.
Suction The pulling out of air or fluid from the body, most frequently from the nose, mouth, breathing tube or stomach.
Tachypnea Breathing faster than normal (>60 per minute).
Transfusion Giving blood or a blood product to the baby through an IV catheter.
TTN Transient Tachypnea of the Newborn: it makes the baby breathe faster than normal and with more trouble. This can happen because the fluid in the baby’s lungs at birth is not absorbed as quickly as normal.
UAC/UVC Umbilical Artery Catheter/Umbilical Vein Catheter: a special IV catheter that is passed into the vein or artery in the umbilical cord (at the naval or belly button) to give IV fluids and/or medications.
Umbilical Catheter See UAC/UVC
Ventilator A breathing machine. Also called a respirator.
Vital Signs The measurement of body temperature, heart rate, breathing rate and blood pressure.
Void Urination or wet diaper.