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Health Library : High-Risk Newborn


Glossary - High-Risk Newborn

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M
N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


Air leak-when air leaks through holes in the lung tissue into the spaces outside the lung airways.

Alveoli-tiny sacs that are the smallest airways of the lungs.

Apnea-to stop breathing.

Asphyxia-a general term used to describe inadequate intake of oxygen by the baby.


Bilirubin-substance formed when red blood cells break down and are excreted by the liver. Too much bilirubin in the blood causes jaundice.

Bradycardia-slowing of the heart rate.

Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD)-see chronic lung disease.


Chronic lung disease (also called CLD or bronchopulmonary dysplasia)-a term for long-term respiratory problems in premature babies that results from lung injury from treatments with mechanical ventilators and oxygen.

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP)-air or oxygen delivered to the lungs under a small amount of pressure through an endotracheal tube or nasal prongs.

Cytomegalovirus (CMV)-a virus related to the herpes virus group of infections.


Dubowitz/Ballard exam-An examination used to estimate a newborn's gestational age from the baby's appearance, skin texture, motor function, and reflexes.


Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)-a test that records the electrical activity of the heart, shows abnormal rhythms (arrhythmias or dysrhythmias), and detects heart muscle damage.

Endotracheal tube (ET)-a tube placed through the mouth or nose into the trachea (windpipe).


Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS)-one of the fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs), a group of abnormalities in babies born to mothers who consume alcohol during pregnancy.


Gavage feedings-feedings given through a tube inserted in the baby's mouth or nose into the stomach.


Hemolytic disease of the newborn-a condition that occurs when there is an incompatibility between the blood types of the mother and baby, causing breaking down of red blood cells.

Hemorrhagic disease of the newborn-Vitamin K deficiency disorder, a bleeding problem that occurs in a newborn during the first few days of life caused by a deficiency in vitamin K.

Hyaline membrane disease (HMD)-see respiratory distress syndrome.

Hyperglycemia-high amounts of glucose (sugar) in the blood.

Hyperkalemia-high amounts of potassium in the blood.

Hypernatremia-high amounts of sodium (salt) in the blood.

Hypocalcemia-low calcium levels in the blood.

Hypoglycemia-low amounts of glucose (sugar) in the blood.


Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR)-a term for inadequate fetal growth during pregnancy.

Intravenous (IV)-a method of giving medication or fluids directly into the vein.

Intraventricular hemorrhage-bleeding inside the ventricles (hollow chambers) in the brain.


Jaundice-a yellow coloring of the skin and/or eyes that is caused by too much bilirubin in the blood.


Kernicterus-build up of bilirubin in the tissues of the brain.


Lactation consultant (IBCLC - International Board Certified Lactation Consultant)-a nurse or other healthcare provider specially trained to help women with breastfeeding.

Large for gestational age (LGA)-a term used to describe babies who are born weighing more than the usual amount for the number of weeks of pregnancy.

Low birthweight-refers to a baby weighing less than 2,500 grams (5.5 pounds) at birth.


Meconium aspiration-when a baby breathes in amniotic fluid containing meconium (the first bowel movement). This can occur prior to or during birth.


Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC)-a serious intestinal illness in babies that can cause tissue damage to the intestines.

Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS)-a term for a group of problems a baby experiences when withdrawing from drug use by the mother during pregnancy.

Neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)-a special care nursery that uses advanced technology and trained health professionals to care for sick and premature newborns.



Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA)-a condition in which the connecting blood vessel between the pulmonary artery and the aorta in fetal circulation stays open in a newborn baby.

Periventricular leukomalacia-softening of the white matter of the brain near the ventricles due to damage and death of brain tissue.

Pneumomediastinum-air leaks into the mediastinum (the space in the thoracic cavity behind the sternum and between the two pleural sacs containing the lungs).

Pneumopericardium-air leaks into the sac surrounding the heart.

Pneumothorax-air leaks into the space between the chest wall and the outer tissues of the lungs.

Polycythemia-a condition in which there are too many red blood cells in the blood circulation.

Premature baby-a baby born at or before the 37th week of pregnancy.

Pulmonary interstitial emphysema (PIE)-air leaks and is trapped between the alveoli, the tiny air sacs.



Respiratory distress syndrome (also called RDS, hyaline membrane disease, or HMD.)-a condition of premature infant lungs due to insufficient surfactant, a substance in the lungs that helps the air sacs stay open.

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)-an infection that causes inflammation of the lower airways and pneumonia.

Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP)-a disorder of the blood vessels of the retina (the light sensitive part of the eye) that is common in premature babies.


Small for gestational age (SGA)-a term used to describe a newborn who is smaller than normal for the number of weeks of pregnancy.

Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)-the sudden and unexplained death of an infant under 1 year of age.


Thrombocytopenia-a condition in which there are too few platelets (cells produced in the bone marrow that are needed for clotting).

Transient tachypnea of the newborn (TTN)-a mild respiratory problem of babies, characterized by rapid breathing, that begins after birth and lasts about three days.


Umbilical artery catheter-a tube that is placed into an umbilical artery of a sick newborn to allow fluids and medications to be given, and for blood to be drawn.


Very low birthweight-refers to a baby who is born weighing less than 1,500 grams (3 pounds, 4 ounces).



X-ray-a diagnostic test which uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal tissues, bones, and organs onto film.



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