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Chapter 10: Medical Terminology Basics

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  1. Chapter 10: Medical Terminology Basics

  2. Introduction • Greek & Latin influences • Understanding medical terminology: • Adds precision • Helps prevent medical mistakes

  3. Word Parts • Root • Fundamental element of every medical term • Establishes basic meaning • Suffix • Short element added to end of root to modify its meaning • Prefix • Short element added before root to modify its meaning

  4. Word Parts (cont’d) • Most medical terms are composed of roots, suffixes, & prefixes

  5. Word Parts (cont’d) • Root and Combining Form • Basis for term’s meaning • Most derived from Greek or Latin • Compound word: contains more than one root • Vowel (usually o) inserted between root & suffix • Example: cardi + o + logy = cardiology (“study of the heart”) • Root + combining vowel = combining form

  6. Word Parts (cont’d) • Some terms include a root, a combining vowel, and a suffix

  7. Word Parts (cont’d) • Suffix • Letter or combination of letters added to end of a root • Modifies root’s meaning • Can indicate part of speech or number • Typically adds meaning to beginning of a word’s definition • Often used to describe a symptom, disease, or surgical treatment • Example: psych + o + -logy = psychology (“study of the mind”)

  8. Word Parts (cont’d) • Prefix • Changes meaning of word to which it is added • Attached to beginning of root word or combing form • Indicates position or direction (anti-) • Indicates size or quantity of measurement (micro-) • Denotes time or rate of change (tachy-)

  9. Decoding Medical Terms • 1. Break term into its parts • echocardiogram: echo- + cardio + -gram • 2. Determine meaning of each part • echo- = “a returned or reflective sound” • cardio = “heart” • -gram = “record” • 3. Join definitions of each part to create overall meaning • “a record of the heart made by using returned or reflective sounds”

  10. Spelling • Watch Out for the Following • Same sound, different spelling & meaning • Example: ileum (part of intestine) vs. ilium (part of hip bone) • Similar sound, different spelling & meaning • Example:abduction (to draw away from) vs. adduction (to draw towards • Silent letters in a term: p in pterygium • Pay attention to context

  11. Pronunciation • Pronunciation of word parts often changes when combined in different ways • Pronunciations vary by region

  12. Abbreviations and Symbols • Shortened forms of a word or group of words • Time savers • Can cause confusion when not universally used • Usage varies in different institutions • Follow policies of your institution • Acronym: an abbreviation formed from first letter of each word in a phrase (ASAP = as soon as possible)

  13. Using a Medical Dictionary • Specialized reference books used by health care professionals • Includes • Meaning & pronunciation of terms • Synonyms • Origins of words (etymology)

  14. Using a Medical Dictionary (cont’d) • Common Information Found in Appendices • Measurements • Clinical tests • Drugs • Diagnoses • Body structures • Information resources

  15. Using a Medical Dictionary (cont’d) • Special Dictionary Formats • Specialized for a certain field (Nursing) • Portable size • CD format • Online format • Medical acronyms & abbreviations books