Terminology for the Glossary definitions

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The surface of the body of a vertebrate around the stomach.

AED Automated External Defibrillator

An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is a device that automatically analyzes the heart rhythm and, if it detects a problem that may respond to an electrical shock, that permits a shock to be delivered to restore a normal heart rhythm. Abbreviated AED. Thanks to their small size and ease of use, AEDs have been installed in many settings (such as schools and airports) and serve a role in expanding the number of opportunities for life-saving defibrillation.


The path air follows to get into and out of the lungs. The mouth and nose are the normal entry and exit ports. Entering air then passes through the back of the throat (pharynx), continues through the voice box (larynx), down the trachea, and finally out the branching tubes known as bronchi.


BLS (Basic Life Support)

Basic life support (BLS) is the level of medical care which is used for patients with life-threatening illnesses or injuries until the patient can be given full medical care at a hospital. It can be provided by trained medical personnel, including emergency medical technicians, paramedics, and by laypersons who have received BLS training. BLS is generally used in the pre-hospital setting, and can be provided without medical equipment.

BLS for Healthcare Providers Course

Covers core material such as adult and pediatric CPR (including two-rescuer scenarios and use of the bag mask), foreign-body airway obstruction, and automated external defibrillation.


That part of the central nervous system that is located within the cranium (skull). The brain functions as the primary receiver, organizer and distributor of information for the body. It has two (right and left) halves called “hemispheres.”


The process of respiration, during which air is inhaled into the lungs through the mouth or nose due to muscle contraction, and then exhaled due to muscle relaxation.



Having to do with the heart.


Having to do with both the heart and lungs.

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

The emergency substitution of heart and lung action to restore life to someone who appears dead. The two main components of conventional cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) are chest compression to make the heart pump and mouth-to-mouth ventilation to breath for the victim.

Hands-only CPR is a form of resuscitation that involves continuous, rapid chest compressions only, and although effective, it is not as beneficial as conventional CPR in a patient who is not breathing. See the entire


The circulatory system comprising the heart and blood vessels which carries nutrients and oxygen to the tissues of the body and removes carbon dioxide and other wastes from them.


The side of the face forming the side wall of the mouth.


The area of the body located between the neck and the abdomen. The chest contains the lungs, the heart and part of the aorta. The walls of the chest are supported by the dorsal vertebrae, the ribs, and the sternum.


Medically, the mentum. The lower portion of the face below the lower lip including the prominence of the lower jaw and the line of fusion of the two separate halves of the jawbone (mandible). This line of fusion (called the symphysis menti) encloses a triangular area at tip of the chin (termed the mental protuberance). On each side, below the second premolar tooth, is the mental foramen, an opening for the passage of blood vessels and a nerve that supply the chin.


The movement of fluid in a regular or circuitous course. Although the noun “circulation” does not necessarily refer to the circulation of the blood, for all practical purposes today it does. Heart failure is an example of a problem with the circulation.


1. As a noun, a cloth or another material applied under pressure to an area of the skin and held in place for a period of time. A compress can be any temperature (cold, luke warm, or hot) and it can be dry or wet. It may also be impregnated with medication or, in traditional medicine, an herbal remedy. Most compresses are used to relieve inflammation.

2. As a verb, to squeeze or press together. An injury can compress the spinal cord.


Being awake and aware of surroundings

CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation)

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is an emergency procedure which is performed in an effort to manually preserve intact brain function until further measures are taken to restore spontaneous blood circulation and breathing in a person in cardiac arrest.



The use of a carefully controlled electric shock, administered either through a device on the exterior of the chest wall or directly to the exposed heart muscle, to restart or normalize heart rhythms.


A device used to correct a dangerously abnormal heart rhythm, usually ventricular fibrillation, or to restart the heart by depolarizing its electrical conduction system and delivering brief measured electrical shocks to the chest wall or the heart muscle itself.



The hearing organ. There are three sections of the ear, according to the anatomy textbooks. They are the outer ear (the part we see along the sides of our head behind the temples), the middle ear, and the inner ear. But in terms of function, the ear has four parts: those three and the brain. Hearing thus involves all parts of the ear as well as the auditory cortex of the brain. The external ear helps concentrate the vibrations of air on the ear drum and make it vibrate. These vibrations are transmitted by a chain of little bones in the middle ear to the inner ear. There they stimulate the fibers of the auditory nerve to transmit impulses to the brain.


Family and Friends CPR Course

Teaches how to perform CPR in adults, children, and how to help an adult or child who is choking.

Family and Friends Infant CPR Course

Teaches how to perform CPR on infants, and how to help an infant who is choking.


In matters of the heart (cardiology), fibrillation is incoordinate twitching of the heart muscle fibers.



The muscle that pumps blood received from veins into arteries throughout the body. It is positioned in the chest behind the sternum (breastbone; in front of the trachea, esophagus, and aorta; and above the diaphragm muscle that separates the chest and abdominal cavities. The normal heart is about the size of a closed fist, and weighs about 10.5 ounces. It is cone-shaped, with the point of the cone pointing down to the left. Two-thirds of the heart lies in the left side of the chest with the balance in the right chest.

Heart Attack

The death of heart muscle due to the loss of blood supply. The loss of blood supply is usually caused by a complete blockage of a coronary artery, one of the arteries that supplies blood to the heart muscle. Death of the heart muscle, in turn, causes chest pain and electrical instability of the heart muscle tissue.

Heart Disease

Any disorder that affects the heart.

Heartsaver AED COurse

Adult / Child CPR With Mask and Choking Adult / Child AED Optional: Infant CPR With Mask and Choking

Heartsaver CPR Course

Teaches CPR and relief of choking in adults and children and infant CPR and relief of choking, and use of barrier devices for all ages.

Heartsaver CPR in Schools Course

Tailored to middle and high school students, teaches CPR and AED use, relief of choking in adults and children, and infant CPR and relief of choking.

Heartsaver First Aid Course

Teaches how to manage illness and injuries in the first few minutes until professional help arrives.

Heartsaver Pediatric First Aid Course

Teaches how to manage illness and injuries in a child in the first few minutes until professional help arrives.



A child up to 2 years (24 months) of age.


Life Support

1. A therapy or device designed to preserve someone’s life when an essential bodily system is not doing so. Life support may, for example, involve enteric feeding (by a tube), total parenteral nutrition, mechanical ventilation, a pacemaker, defibrillator, heart/lung machine, or dialysis.

2. Something that sustains life, as in “The earth is the ultimate life support system.”

3. A product, program or company being propped up, as in “Medicare is on life support.”

A therapy or device designed to preserve someone’s life when an essential bodily system is not doing so. Life support may, for example, involve enteric feeding (by a tube), total parenteral nutrition, mechanical ventilation, a pacemaker, defibrillator, heart/lung machine, or dialysis.



The upper opening of the digestive tract, beginning with the lips and containing the teeth, gums, and tongue. Any opening or aperture in the body.



The external midline projection from the face.



A colorless, odorless and tasteless gas that makes up about 20% of the air we breathe (and at least half the weight of the entire solid crust of the earth) and which combines with most of the other elements to form oxides. Oxygen is essential to human, animal and plant life.



Pertaining to children.


A location where prescription drugs are sold. A pharmacy is, by law, constantly supervised by a licensed pharmacist.


The rhythmic contraction and expansion of an artery due to the surge of blood from the beat of the heart. The pulse is most often measured by feeling the arteries of the wrist. There is also a pulse, although far weaker, in veins.



Having to do with respiration, the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide.


To revive somebody from unconsciousness.



In medicine, shock is a critical condition brought on by a sudden drop in blood flow through the body. There is failure of the circulatory system to maintain adequate blood flow. This sharply curtails the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to vital organs. It also compromises the kidney and so curtails the removal of wastes from the body. Shock can be due to a number of different mechanisms including not enough blood volume (hypovolemic shock) and not enough output of blood by the heart (cardiogenic shock). The signs and symptoms of shock include low blood pressure (hypotension), overbreathing (hyperventilation), a weak rapid pulse, cold clammy grayish-bluish (cyanotic) skin, decreased urine flow (oliguria), and mental changes (a sense of great anxiety and foreboding, confusion and, sometimes, combativeness).

Sudden Cardiac Arrest

A medical emergency with absent or inadequate contraction of the left ventricle of the heart that immediately causes bodywide circulatory failure. The signs and symptoms include loss of consciousness; rapid shallow breathing progressing to apnea (absence of breathing); profoundly low blood pressure (hypotension) with no pulses that can be felt over major arteries; and no heart sounds.



Pertaining to the ventricles, the lower chambers of the heart, as in ventricular fibrillation and ventricular septal defect.

Ventricular Fibrillation

An abnormal irregular heart rhythm whereby there are very rapid uncoordinated fluttering contractions of the lower chambers (ventricles) of the heart. Ventricular fibrillation disrupts the synchrony between the heartbeat and the pulse beat. Ventricular fibrillation is most commonly associated with heart attacks or scarring of the heart muscle from previous heart attack. It is life-threatening.

​Vest CPR

CPR using a proprietary vest to increase chest pressure. The first-generation device used a pneumatically cycled bladder, but never saw wide adoption as it was tethered to electric current. The second generation device (Autopulse) is portable and applies pressure in a circumferential fashion as opposed to the more traumatic point—sternal pressure—of manual CPR.

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