Saturday, December 20, 2008

Favorite Medical Word of the Day

Someone once told me that the reason Doctors use fancy words is because people will pay a lot more if you treat pharyngitis than if you treat a sore throat.

Whatever the reason, medicine has some pretty outlandish words.

In this new series of blog posts, Braden highlights some of the more interesting medical words that make him happy and help life continue in its sunny course of awesomeness.  All this because he likes you (and because it is a really easy way to pad his post count).

Today's word:
http://www.fac.org.ar/scvc/llave/stroke/heiss/heissf2.gif
Ischemic Penumbra

an area peripheral to one of ischemia where metabolism is active but blood flow is diminished.

This is really what we are fighting to save when we talk about the golden hour in stroke care.  Also when we talk about door to balloon time for an acute MI.  This is not to be confused with the famous "balloon to anaphylaxis due to latex allergy" time commonly talked about in pediatric wards.

To understand the penumbra, you need to understand what happens with ischemia.  When blood flow is interrupted to an area of the brain or heart, there is an area that is dead and aint coming back.  This is referred to as "screwed tissue."  Then there is the ischemic penumbra, which is still salvagable, but is a lot like any show that Bob Saget has ever participated in: right on the edge of being worthless.  Hope this helps.

So now, huddled masses, go to and find an excuse to use the term Ischemic Penumbra today.  Share your experiences in the comments.

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1 comment:

horsetech said...

Holy carp. Screwed tissue. I love it!