Common medical terms for first aiders and first responders

First aiders and first responders need to have a basic understanding of medical terminology. Here’s our list of common medical terms and what they mean. Please leave a comment on this post if you would like to add a term to this list! 

Apnoea – Suspension of breathing

Allergenic – Can provoke an allergic reaction

Bradycardia – A slow heart rate, usually defined as <60 beats per minute

Cardio – Medical term to reference the heart

Dyspnea – Shortness of breath

Epistaxis – Nose bleed

Haemoptysis – Coughing up blood

Hematemesis – Vomiting blood        

Hematuria – Blood in the urine

Hypertensive – High blood pressure

Hypotensive – Low blood pressure

Ischemia – Inadequate blood supply (circulation) to a local area due to blockage of the blood vessel to the area

Jaundice – Yellow discolouration of the skin, disease causing the discolouration

Lucid interval – A temporary improvement in a patient ‘s condition after a traumatic brain injury, after which the condition deteriorates

Melena – Blood in the stool

Peritonitis – Inflammation of the lining of the abdominal cavity

Phlebitis – Inflammation of the vein, which can lead to the formation of a blood clot

Pleurisy – Inflammation of the pleural membrane

Pyrexia – Higher than normal body temperature

Postictal – Period of confusion and disorientation following an epileptic seizure

Renal – Relating to the kidney

Signs – Things that can be observed        

Spondylitis – Inflammation of the spine

Spondylosis – A degenerative condition related to spinal vertebra      

Syncope – Fainting, a sudden, usually temporary, loss of consciousness generally caused by insufficient oxygen in the brain

Symptoms – Sensations that can be felt by the casualty

Tachycardia – Rapid heart rate defined as >100 beats per minute

Thrombosis – The forming of a blood clot inside a blood vessel        

Toxemia – Poisoning of the blood by the absorption of toxins

Tuberculosis – Infectious disease produced by the tubercle bacillus


John Furst

JOHN FURST is an experienced emergency medical technician and qualified first aid and CPR instructor. John is passionate about first aid and believes everyone should have the skills and confidence to take action in an emergency situation.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply