About HUS

From the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of HUS and other foodborne illness outbreaks.

Glossary

allograft

Graft derived from an individual of the same species that is sufficiently unlike genetically to interact antigenically

antagonist

In biochemistry, an antagonist acts against and blocks an action.

antibody titers

A measure of proteins of high molecular weight that are produced normally after stimulation by an antigen and act specifically against the antigen in an immune response

anticoagulant

Any agent used to prevent the formation of blood clots.

antigen

A protein or carbohydrate substance (as a toxin or enzyme) capable of stimulating an immune response

anuria

Absence of urine excretion

basal ganglia

A region consisting of 3 clusters of neurons located at the base of the brain that are responsible for involuntary movements

C-reactive protein

A special type of protein produced by the liver that is only present during episodes of acute inflammation

case fatality rate

The proportion of deaths among a group of persons with a particular condition or disease

cortical necrosis

Tissue death of the outer layer of the kidney

creatinine

A chemical waste molecule that is generated from muscle metabolism and transported through the bloodstream to the kidneys. The kidneys filter out most of the creatinine and dispose of it in the urine. As the kidneys become impaired, the creatinine will rise.<p>

CT scan

A computerized axial tomography scan is more commonly known by its abbreviated name, CAT scan or CT scan; an x-ray procedure which combines many x-ray images with the aid of a computer to generate cross-sectional views and, if needed, three-dimensional images of the internal organs and structures of the body

dialysis / hemodialysis

Process of removing blood from an artery to purify it (remove wastes or toxins from the blood) and adjust fluid and electrolyte imbalances, adding vital substances, and returning it to a vein (see also peritoneal dialysis)

double-blinded study

A study in which neither the study groups nor the evaluator are aware of who receives the experimental treatment or procedure versus the placebo or comparison treatment

dysphasia

Difficulty in swallowing

effective renal plasma flow (ERPF)

The amount of plasma flowing through the kidney tubules per unit time; differentiated from renal plasma flow which is approximately 10% greater than ERPF

electroencephalograph (EEG)

An apparatus for detecting and recording brain waves

end-stage renal disease (ESRD)

The final stages of a terminal kidney disease or condition when there is complete or near complete failure of the kidneys to function

etiology

The cause of a disease

fibrinolytics

Clot-dissolving drugs

gastric

Relating to the stomach

genotype

The genetic constitution (the genome) of a cell, an individual or an organism

glomerular

Pertaining to the glomerulus, a tiny structure in the kidney that filters the blood to form urine.

glomerular filtration rate (GFR)

The rate at which blood is filtered through tufts of capillaries in the kidney

glomerulonephritis

A disorder that causes inflammation of the internal kidney structures (specifically, the glomeruli); it may be a temporary and reversible condition, or it may be progressive

graft

Placing tissue or organs from one area on the body or from another person or an animal into the patient’s body; in this case transferring a kidney from one person to another

hemiparesis

Muscular weakness or partial paralysis restricted to one side of the body

hemolytic anemia

Anemia caused by excessive destruction (as in chemical poisoning, infection, or sickle-cell anemia) of red blood cells

hemorrhagic colitis

Bloody infection/inflammation of the colon (bowel)

histological

In reference to the minute structure of tissues discernible with the microscope

hyperfiltration

Abnormal increase in the filtration rate of the renal glomeruli

hypertension

High blood pressure

hyponatremia

Deficiency of sodium (salt) in the blood

in vitro

Outside the living body and in an artificial environment

infarct/infarction

An area of necrosis (death) in a tissue or organ resulting from obstruction of the local circulation by a thrombus or embolus

internal/external capsule

Fibrous express ways that contain nerves to transmit information within certain parts of the brain

intravenous (IV)

Within a vein

ischemia

Localized tissue anemia due to obstruction of the inflow of arterial blood (as by the narrowing of arteries by spasm or disease)

leukocyte

White blood cell

leukocytosis

Increase in the number of white blood cells

microangiopathy

A disease of very fine blood vessels

microvascular

Of, relating to, or constituting the part of the circulatory system made up of minute vessels (as venules or capillaries) that average less than 0.3 millimeters in diameter

monoclonal antibody

An antibody derived from a single cell in large quantities for use against a specific antigen

morbidity

The incidence of disease; the rate of sickness (as in a specified community or group)

morphologic

Of, relating to, or concerned with form or structure

mortality

The number of deaths in a given time or place; the proportion of deaths in a given population

MRI / magnetic resonance imaging

A radiology technique using magnetism, radio waves, and a computer to produce images of body structures

nephrotic syndrome

A constellation of signs and symptoms including protein in the urine, low blood protein levels, high cholesterol levels, and swelling; results in damage to the kidneys, particularly the basement membrane of the glomerulus

neutrophil

Type of white blood cell, filled with neutrally-staining granules, tiny sacs of enzymes that help the cell to kill and digest microorganisms it has engulfed

oliguria

Reduced excretion of urine

parenteral

Drug or substance, like supplementary nutrition, administration by intravenous, intramuscular, or subcutaneous injection; especially introduced other than by way of the intestines

paresis

Paralysis

pathogenesis

The origin of a disease and the chain of events leading to that disease

peritoneal dialysis

Technique that uses the patient's own body tissues inside of the belly (abdominal cavity) to act as a filter to remove waste products and excess water from the body

placebo

An inert or harmless substance used especially in controlled experiments testing the efficacy of another substance (as a drug)

plasmapheresis

Separating out the plasma from the whole blood, replacing the plasma, and returning plasma and original blood cells to the patient

platelet

An irregular, disc-shaped element in the blood that assists in blood clotting. During normal blood clotting, the platelets clump together

primary

First in order of time or development

prodromal

A symptom or set of symptoms that occur before the onset of a disease or condition

proteinuria

Protein in the urine

prothrombotic

A substance which encourages the production of blood clots

randomized

Things or persons put in a random order so that every thing or person is equally likely to be selected; study subjects are randomly distributed into groups which are either subjected to the experimental procedure (or use of a drug) or which serve as controls

receptor

A structure on the surface of a cell (or inside a cell) that selectively receives and binds a specific substance.

rectal prolapse

The falling down or slipping of a the rectum (the terminal part of the intestine) from its usual position

renal

Kidney

retina

The sensory membrane that lines most of the large posterior chamber of the eye; functions as the immediate instrument of vision by receiving the image formed by the lens and converting it into chemical and nervous signals which reach the brain by way of the optic nerve

sequelae

An after effect of disease, injury, procedure, or treatment

serotype / group

A group of intimately related microorganisms distinguished by a common set of antigens

Shiga toxin / Stx

A poisonous product of the E. coli organism; toxins are usually very unstable and can cause damage to cells. Toxins typically induce antibody formation.

sodium

The major positive ion (cation) in fluid outside of cells. When combined with chloride, the resulting substance is table salt. Excess sodium is excreted in the urine. Too much or too little sodium can cause cells to malfunction

stupor

Decreased mental status or consciousness; loss of alertness

tetraspastic

A state of hypertonicity or increase over the normal tone of a muscle, with heightened deep tendon reflexes, affecting all four extremities

thalamus / thalami

The part of the brain that serves to relay impulses and especially sensory impulses to and from the cerebral cortex (the gray matter of the cerebrum that functions chiefly in coordination of sensory and motor information)

thrombocytopenia

Persistent decrease in the number of blood platelets that is often associated with hemorrhagic conditions -- called also thrombopenia

thrombogenic

Tending to produce a thrombus (a clot of blood formed within a blood vessel and remaining attached to its place of origin)

thrombosis

The formation or presence of a blood clot within a blood vessel

Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP)

A blood disorder characterized by low platelets, low red blood cell count (caused by premature breakdown of the cells), abnormalities in kidney function, and neurological abnormalities; caused by a deficiency in the von Willebrand Factor cleaving protease, known as ADAMTS13. The loss of this enzyme results in large complexes of von Willbrand factor circulating in the blood, which in turn causes platelet clumping and red blood cell destruction.

vascular endothelial growth factor

Substance made by cells that stimulates new blood vessel formation

white matter

Neural tissue that consists largely of myelinated (sheathed) nerve fibers, has a whitish color, and underlies the gray matter of the brain and spinal cord or is gathered into nerves

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