Health A-Z

Vacuum-assisted delivery

Clinical Definition Vacuum-assisted delivery is a type of obstetrical intervention used to deliver a fetus vaginally. A suction device, referred to as a vacuum, is attached to the skull to assist with vaginal delivery. A vacuum-assisted delivery may be implemented in cases of fetal distress in order to deliver the baby quickly. Possible complications of


Clinical Definition Vaginitis is a condition affecting the vagina brought on by bacteria, yeast or viruses that cause infection or inflammation. Symptoms vary depending on the cause of the infection. In Our Own Words Vaginitis is an infection or inflammation of the vagina. Often there is a change in the balance of the microscopic flora

Valley Fever

Clinical Definition Valley fever is a pulmonary infection that develops due to inhalation of spores from the fungus Coccidioides immitis. Native to Mexico and parts of the southwestern United States, this fungus makes spores which are found in the soil of low rainfall areas. The spores become lodged in the alveoli, which leads to inflammation

Valve Disease

Clinical Definition Valve disease, or valvular heart disease, occurs when the cardiac valves (mitral, tricuspid, aortic, pulmonic) do not function correctly, either due to valvular stenosis or valvular insufficiency. Valvular disease can be congenital or acquired. Cardiovascular imaging can evaluate the severity and type of valvular disease. Medication may help, or valvular surgery can repair


Clinical Definition Varicella is an infectious childhood disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus, also known as the human herpes virus-3, characterized by an itchy rash that can last up to 10 days. In Our Own Words Chickenpox is the common name for varicella, which is caused by a strain of herpes known as the varicella-zoster

Varicose Veins

Clinical Definition Varicose veins are abnormal, dilated blood vessels caused by a weakening in the vessel wall or valve. They most often appear on the legs and in the pelvic areas as blue or purple vein clusters and are more common in women. In Our Own Words Varicose veins are a common condition that occur


Clinical Definition A vasodilator is a pharmacological agent that causes relaxation of the smooth muscle cells within the walls of the vessels. The relaxation results in dilation of the blood vessels. Vasodilators allow an increase in circulation and are used to treat conditions like hypertension. In Our Own Words Some types of medical conditions cause

Venous thromboembolism

Clinical Definition A venous thromboembolism is a medical condition, which includes a pulmonary embolism and a deep vein thrombosis. It occurs when a thrombus develops in a vein in the body and obstructs blood flow. Thrombus formation can occur due to several factors, such as venous stasis, inactivity and damage to the vessel walls. In

Ventricular Fibrillation

Clinical Definition Ventricular fibrillation is a life-threatening cardiac arrhythmia, marked by rapid, unsynchronized depolarization of the ventricles. Contractions are uncoordinated and ineffective at maintaining proper circulation and blood pressure. Ventricular fibrillation leads to cardiac arrest if not treated immediately. In Our Own Words Ventricular fibrillation is an abnormal heart rhythm, which can be fatal if not reversed

Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD)Hole in the heart

Clinical Definition Ventricular septal defect is a congenital cardiac condition in which the septum separating the ventricles has an abnormal opening, allowing blood to flow directly between the ventricles. Oxygenated blood is shunted back into the pulmonary circulation, which can lead to pulmonary congestion. Clinical presentation and treatment depend on the size of the opening.

Ventricular Tachycardia

Clinical Definition Ventricular tachycardia is a cardiac arrhythmia, originating in the right or left ventricle of the myocardium. Due to the rapid rhythm the myocardium is not able to fill with blood prior to contraction. This prevents blood from circulating through the body efficiently. Ventricular tachycardia may develop due to cardiomyopathy, coronary artery disease or

Vernal Keratoconjunctivitis

Clinical Definition Vernal keratoconjunctivitis is a relatively rare eye disorder involving the palpebral conjunctiva and/or the limbus of the eye. It occurs bilaterally and an allergic response may play a major role. The condition most frequently affects boys and young men in dry subtropical climates. Cobblestone papillae may develop on the upper palpebra. Intense itching,


Clinical Definition Vertebroplasty is a surgical procedure used to treat compression fractures of the spine including the lumbar or thoracic spine. The procedure involves injecting a medical grade surgical cement into the vertebral body, which is intended to stabilize the fracture and decrease pain. In Our Own Words Osteoporosis and other conditions may cause the


Clinical Definition Vertigo is a neurological condition characterized by the perception of dizziness, light-headedness, loss of balance, blurred vision and nausea. In many cases, episodes are triggered by a sudden, biomechanical change in the positioning of the head. In Our Own Words What we may call dizziness can actually be further classified into a bunch

Viral Infection

Clinical Definition Viruses may gain access to the body through various routes, including the digestive, reproductive and respiratory system. Viruses that are pathogenic to humans begin to use the host’s cells to reproduce and cause disease. Viral receptors attach and penetrate healthy cells and use those cells in order to replicate. The severity of a

Vital Signs

Clinical Definition Vital signs are measurements of the body’s basic functions, taken to evaluate the general physical health of a person, track progress during treatment or offer information about possible disease states. The four main vital signs are blood pressure, body temperature, pulse (or heart rate) and respiration (breathing rate). In Our Own Words Vital


Clinical Definition Vitamins are essential organic compounds that an organism requires in small doses for survival. In Our Own Words Vitamins are organic nutrients your body needs to function properly. There are 13 classified vitamins, which fall into two categories: water-soluble or fat-soluble. Fat-soluble vitamins include vitamins A, D, E and K, are stored in


Clinical Definition Vitiligo is a skin disease that most commonly affects epidermis on the face and body and causes skin to lose pigment when melanocytes die (i.e., lightening and sometimes turning white). Vitiligo may affect the hair, inside of the mouth and in some cases, even the eyes. The disease swath can expand over time

Vulvar Cancer

Clinical Definition Vulvar cancer is a rare form of cancer in which malignant cells form in the tissues of the vulva. While it can occur at any age, it is most common in older, postmenopausal women. In Our Own Words Vulvar cancer most often occurs on the inner edges of the labia, which is the

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