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Glossaries - V

We've defined thousands of terms related to health care. This page discusses glossary terms with the letter V.

Vagal (VAY-gal)

pertaining to the vagus nerve, which supplies sensory connections to the ear, tongue, and pharynx.

Vagotomy (vay-GAH-tuh-mee)

An operation to cut the vagus nerve. This causes the stomach to make less acid.

Vagus Nerve (VAY-gus nurv)

The nerve in the stomach that controls the making of stomach acid.

Vasculitis

inflammation of a blood vessel.

Vasoconstriction

a narrowing of the blood vessels.

Vasodilation

a widening of the blood vessels.

Vestibular system (ves- TIB-you-lahr)

the organ of the inner ear containing several three semicircular ducts at right angles to one another; helps keep the body balanced.

Villi (VIL-eye)

The tiny, fingerlike projections on the surface of the small intestine. Villi help absorb nutrients.

Vinca Alkaloid

a pharmacologically active substance (e.g., vinblastine and vincristine) obtained from the genus Vinca , which includes the periwinkles.

Viral Hepatitis (VY-rul heh-puh-TY-tis)

Hepatitis caused by a virus. Five different viruses (A, B, C, D, and E) most commonly cause this form of hepatitis. Other rare viruses may also cause hepatitis.

Hepatitis A

A virus most often spread by unclean food and water.

Hepatitis B

A virus commonly spread by sexual intercourse or blood transfusion, or from mother to newborn at birth. Another way it spreads is by using a needle that was used by an infected person. Hepatitis B is more common and much more easily spread than the AIDS virus and may lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer.

Hepatitis C

A virus spread by blood transfusion and possibly by sexual intercourse or sharing needles with infected people. Hepatitis C may lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer. Hepatitis C used to be called non-A, non-B hepatitis.

Hepatitis D

A virus that occurs mostly in people who take illegal drugs by using needles. Only people who have hepatitis B can get hepatitis D.

Hepatitis E

A virus spread mostly through unclean water. This type of hepatitis is common in developing countries. It has not occurred in the United States.

Viremia

the presence of virus in the bloodstream.

Virion

a mature infectious virus particle existing outside a cell.

Virus

a microorganism composed of a piece of genetic material -- RNA or DNA -- surrounded by a protein coat. To replicate, a virus must infect a cell and direct its cellular machinery to produce new viruses.

Volvulus (VAHLV-yoo-lus)

A twisting of the stomach or large intestine. May be caused by the stomach being in the wrong position, a foreign substance, or abnormal joining of one part of the stomach or intestine to another. Volvulus can lead to blockage, perforation, peritonitis, and poor blood flow.

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