Sunday, July 1, 2007

Vascular Vernacular

Vascular Surgery
Week 2

Like any other profession, the world of vascular surgery is littered with jargon and acronyms. The first step in figuring out what’s going on is learning the lingo, so here’s your guide to some common language heard around the operating room and clinics.

Vascular Vernacular

First off, let’s outline some major anatomical landmarks so we’re all on the same page. The arterial system of the lower body starts with the abdominal aorta, a continuation of the thoracic aorta (the one in your chest you think about when you hear “aorta”). This splits into two common iliac arteries (CI). Going down one leg (and occurring in each leg), the CI splits into the internal iliac artery and the external iliac artery (EI). The EI continues to the groin and is called the common femoral artery (CFA). The CFA splits again into the profunda femoris artery (PFA) and the superficial femoral artery (SFA). The SFA changes name to the popliteal artery behind the knee. This continues and carries blood to the leg as three arteries—the peritoneal artery which stops at the ankle and the anterior and posterior tibial arteries which perfuse the foot. Got it?

A Few Other Terms You Should Be Familiar With:

“Triple ‘A’”, or Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

Ankle Brachial Index
This test is a ratio of the measures of arterial pressure in the ankle to the arm and can be used to detect peripheral vascular disease.

The joining of blood vessels, such as during an AV fistula

AV fistula
Arteriovenous fistula
This is the joining of an artery to a vein. It can be created for therapeutic reasons (renal dialysis) or can occur congenitally.

A specific type of vascular clamp

Portable fluoroscopic device shaped like a ‘C’ used for angiograms

Removal of dead tissue to promote healing of a wound

An operation to remove or bypass plaque or blockage in a stenotic artery

Grand Slam
A specific type of guide wire

Patent; patency
The state of being open as applied to vessels or stents

Deep seated, as in profunda femoris artery

Reoccurrence of stenosis, or narrowing of a vessel

What Else?

Learning fancy terms was just part of my experience this week. I got to check out a leg angiogram and a debridement of a leg wound. Debridement will hopefully help the tissue to granulate and improve healing. I also spent time at the clinic and met with some reps from Cook regarding a stent trial. This was really great—I got to see the technical specs of the trial and got a medical company’s perspective on pushing their products to a surgeon.

That’s all for now!

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