Appendix B. APPENDIX B: COMMON ABBREVIATIONS
Below are shown common medical abbreviations that HCV people often come across.
MEDICAL ABBREVIATIONS AND TERMS
ALT - Alanine aminotransferase - a protein which, when found in the blood in elevated quantities, generally indicates liver damage. Also sometimes called SGOT.
ANTIBODY - A protein secreted by cells of our immune system in response to infection. The antibody binds to an “enemy” molecule, in this case, a specific part of the hepatitis C virus. This is meant to prevent the virus from infecting other cells or destroy it. As with other viral infections, the presence of antibodies does not necessarily mean a virus will be eliminated from the body.
AST - Aspartate aminotransferase - a protein which, when found in the blood in elevated quantities, generally indicates liver damage (although less specific for liver damage than ALT). Also sometimes called SGPT.
BLOOD & BLOOD PRODUCTS - Components of blood including red cells, platelets and plasma which are separated out by blood banks. Plasma is processed and purified to produce specific medical purposes, e.g., Factor VIII.
CARRIER - Practically all people who are HCV+ “carry” the virus. The term “carrier” is often misused, though, to mean someone who has the hepatitis C virus yet is in good health. In regard to hepatitis C, the term “carrier” is used less and less. Better definitions of illness status include “antibody positive” or “antibody negative”; “symptomatic” or asymptomatic”. Most important to note, is that all people who are hepatitis C antibody positive need to be aware of potentially passing on the virus.
CBC - complete blood count
CDC -- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (USA agency), responsible for estimating prevalence rates and making epidemiological studies
CIRRHOSIS - A condition where scar tissue develops in the liver - to the extent where such scaring becomes extensive and permanent. Cirrhosis interferes with the normal functioning of the liver.
COQ10 -- co-enzyme Q10, a naturally occuring substance which some patients find helpful; available without prescription
DHHS -- Dept. of Health and Human Services (USA agency)
FATTY LIVER: abnormal lipid increase in the liver, probably related to reduced oxidation of fatty acids or decreased synthesis and release of lipoprotiens, causing inadequate lipid clearance from the liver.
FDA -- Food and Drug Adminstration; a USA agency which regulates drug approvals, nutritional supplements, and food quality and labeling
FIBROSIS - Scar formation resulting from the repair of tissue damage. If it occurs extensively in the liver it is called cirrhosis.
GENOTYPE - Different genotypes of the one virus are similar enough to be regarded as the same type but have some minor differences in their RNA composition. These differences may mean the virus reacts differently to our immune response or to drug treatments and natural therapies.
HCC - Hepatocellular carcinoma, or liver cancer.
HCV -- Hepatitis C Virus
HEMOCHROMATOSIS: excess of iron absorption and presence of iron-containing deposits (hemosiderin) in liver, pancreas, kidneys, adrenals, and heart. It may be associated with hepatic enlargement and insufficiency and esophageal bleeding from varices.
HEPATIC COMA, CHOLEMIA: peculiar syndrome characterized by slow or rapid onset of bizarre behavior, disorientation, flapping tremors of extended arms, and hyperactive reflexes, and later lethargy and coma. It seems to be caused by intoxiation with ammonia, a product of protein digestion that the diseased liver fails to convert into urea.
HEPATIC ENCEPHALOPATHY: serious complication of advanced liver disease probably caused by cerebral toxins, including ammonia, certain amines, and fatty acids. It is clinically manifested by personality changes and impaired intellectual ability, awareness, and neuromuscular functioning.
HEPATIC FAILURE, FULMINANT: clinical syndrome caused by extensive necrosis of the liver, which may be induced by hepatoxic drugs and may lead to progressive encephalopathy and a fatal prognosis.
HEPATIC NECROSIS: destruction of functional liver tissue.
HEPATITIS, VIRAL: acute or chronic inflammation of the liver caused by the hepatitis virus A, B, C, D, E, G
HEPATOMA: tumor of the liver.
IVDU - Intravenous drug use
IVIG -- intravenous gamma globulin
NIH -- National Institutes of Health (USA agency); largest medical research institution in the world
NON-A NON-B HEPATITIS - The old term for hepatitis shown not to be caused by the A&B viruses. In 1988, this form of hepatitis was shown to be mainly caused by HCV.
NSAID -- non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; examples: naproxen, ibuprofen; used for pain
PCR -- polymerase chain reaction; a DNA technique used for identifying viruses and other life forms
PORTAL HYPERTENSION: a portal venous pressure greater than 20 mm Hg associated with splenomegaly, increased collateral circulation, varicosity, bleeding and ascites. It may result from:
INTRAHEPATIC BLOCK: block within the liver, or - EXTRAHEPATIC BLOCK: block within the portal vein.
SGOT - (See ALT)
SGPT - (See AST)
SSA - Social Security Adminstration (USA agency), responsible for retirement and disability benefits
SSDI - disability benefit program form the SSA (USA)
VIRAL LOAD - The amount of virus present in a person’s bloodstream. It is usually measured by the PCR quantitative test and the result is given in number of virus particles per ml of blood.