Nephrology and Hypertension

  • Glossary of Terms

    The Division of Nephrology and Hypertension provides patients and families with a glossary of commonly-used terms.
  • Nephrology / Hypertension Terminology

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    + A - B

    ABO Typing
    This determines the recipient's and donor's red blood cell type. The ABO type must be compatible in kidney transplantation.

    Acute Tubular Necrosis (ATN)

    Reversible kidney damage resulting in delayed kidney function. Among other factors, it may be caused by quality of donor organ, time of organ storage before transplantation, or medications to prevent rejection.

    Allograft

    A graft between two individuals who are of the same species (eg. human) but have genetic differences.

    Anemic

    Low red blood cell count

    Anesthetic

    A pain reduction medication.

    Antacid

    A drug that aids in protecting the digestive system and relieves heartburn and digestive discomfort.

    Antibody

    A protein produced by the body to eliminate foreign substances, such as bacteria.

    Antigens

    Genetic markers

    Arteriogram

    An x-ray study where dye is injected into a large blood vessel in the groin and x-rays are then taken of the blood vessels supplying the kidneys. The donor surgeon utilizes the information to determine which kidney will be removed and which surgical procedure will be used to remove it.

    Atherosclerosis

    A buildup of fats in the lining of the arteries that may interfere with the flow of blood.

    + C - D - E - F

    C

    Cadaver donor

    A person who has died and whose family has agreed to donate the organs for transplantation.

    CellCept

    An immunosuppressant medication given along with other medications to prevent rejection after transplant.

    Cholesterol

    A form of fat (found in animal foods such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy products) that performs necessary functions in the body; can also cause heart disease.

    Coagulation

    Blood clotting

    Creatinine

    A substance found in blood and urine produced normally by muscles, used to measure kidney function. High blood creatinine levels indicate depressed kidney function.

    Crossmatch

    In this test, your blood cells are tested against the blood cells of the donor; a "positive" crossmatch indicates incompatibility, whereas a "negative" crossmatch indicates compatibility.

    Cytomegalovirus (CMV)

    A common virus infection in transplant recipients that can affect the lungs and other organs.

    D

    Diabetes

    A disease characterized by high blood sugar levels.

    Dialysis

    The process of cleansing and achieving chemical balance in the blood of kidney failure patients. There are two types: hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis (PD).

    Diastolic

    The bottom of two blood pressure numbers, measuring resting heart blood pressure.

    E

    Edema

    Excess fluid in body tissues that can cause swelling. May be caused by drinking too much liquid between dialysis treatments or inadequate dialysis.

    Electrocardiogram

    A recording of the electrical heart activity.

    Enzyme

    A catalyst protein made in the body, capable of changing a substance from one form to another.

    F

    + G - H - I - J

    G

    Gastroenterologist

    A physician specializing in the care of the digestive tract.

    Glucose

    A type of sugar found in the blood.

    Graft

    An organ or tissue that has been transplanted.

    H

    Hematocrit

    The percentage of red blood cells the blood.

    Hemodialysis

    A method of dialysis in which blood is purified by circulating through an apparatus outside the body sometimes known as an "artificial kidney."

    Histocompatibility

    The examination of Human Leukocyte Antigens (HLA) in a patient, commonly known as "tissue typing" or "genetic matching". Its purpose is to help match the donor with a compatible recipient. This decreases the likelihood transplanted organ rejection.

    HLA Typing

    Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) refers to the identification of specific transplant antigens on the recipient's and donor's white blood cells. This typing is performed to ensure that your child and a donated kidney are as compatible as possible.

    Hypertension

    Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is very common after kidney transplant as it is a side effect of some of the immunosuppressant medications that your child will be taking.

    Hypotension

    Low blood pressure. This can occur if large amounts of fluid are removed from the blood vessels too quickly during dialysis. Hypotension can cause a fast pulse, dizziness, and sometimes nausea, vomiting or fainting

    I

    Immunity

    The ability to resist a particular infection or toxin.

    Immunosuppressive Agents

    Medication that prevents rejection of a transplanted organ.

    IV, or Intravenous

    Refers to giving medicines or fluids directly into a vein.

    IV Catheter

    A small, hollow-tube needle inserted into a vein to transmit medicine or fluids.

    J

    + K - L - M - N

    K

    Kidney

    One of two bean-shaped organs that filter wastes from the blood. The kidneys are located near the middle of the back. They create urine, which is delivered to the bladder through tubes called ureters.

    L

    M

    N

    Negative crossmatch

    This means there was no reaction between the recipient's and the donor's cells during the crossmatch test. A negative crossmatch is necessary for a transplant to occur.

    Neoral

    A drug that suppresses the immune system and is used to prevent rejection after transplant.

    Nephrectomy

    When one or both kidneys must be surgically removed prior to transplantation. In most cases this is not necessary.

    Nephrologist

    The doctor who specializes in the treatment of kidney disease and will manage the medical aspects of care before, during and after transplantation.

    Noncompliance

    Failure to follow the instructions of one's health care providers, i.e. not taking medicine as prescribed or showing up for clinic visits.

    + O - P - Q - R

    O

    P

    Panel Reactive Antibody (PRA)

    A method of measuring immune system activity within the body; a higher PRA indicates that more antibodies are being made.

    Peritoneal Dialysis (PD)

    A procedure for treating advanced or permanent kidney failure. In Peritoneal Dialysis, a soft tube called a catheter is used to fill the abdomen with a cleansing liquid called dialysis solution. The solution pulls wastes and extra fluid into the abdominal cavity. These wastes and fluid then leave the body when the dialysis solution is drained.

    Platelet

    A small blood cell needed for normal blood clotting.

    Pneumocystis Carinii Pneumonia (PCP)

    A type of pneumonia common in patients with suppressed immune systems.

    Potassium

    A mineral essential for body function.

    Prednisone

    A steroid medication given to prevent and treat rejection after transplant.

    Prograf

    A drug that suppresses the immune system and is used to prevent rejection after transplant.

    Prophylactic Medication

    Medication that aids in disease prevention.

    Q

    R

    Renal

    Of or relating to the kidney.

    Retransplantation

    Some patients need another transplant due to organ rejection or transplant failure. These patients return to the waiting list.

    + S - T - U - V

    S

    T

    Tissue Typing

    A blood test done on the recipient and any potential living donors. This is the first step of your child's transplant evaluation.

    U

    Ultrasound

    A probe that sends high-frequency sound waves through the body. The wave reflections are used to build an image of internal organs, shown on a monitor.

    Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

    An infection anywhere in the Urinary tract.

    Ureters

    Tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder.

    Urethra

    The tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body.

    V

    Voiding Cystourethrogram

    Also known as Bladder x-ray study, this test is done only if there is a question as to whether your bladder function is normal.

    + W - X - Y - Z

    W

    Waiting List

    After evaluation by the transplant physician, a patient is added to the national waiting list by the transplant center. Lists are specific to both geographic area and organ type. Each time a donor organ becomes available, the UNOS computer generates a list of potential recipients based on factors that include genetic similarity, organ size, medical urgency and time on the waiting list. Through this process, a "new" list is generated each time an organ becomes available.

    White Blood Cells

    Cells in the blood that fight infection; part of the immune system

    X

    Y

    Z


 
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