9 pieces of medical jargon you might not understand
11 March 2016
Patients have expressed a strong desire to see the medical jargon in correspondence between specialists and their GPs translated into plain English, a New Zealand study of 60 outpatients found.
The study at a New Zealand hospital found that patients had a much better understanding of their chronic disease management when discharge letters had medical jargon replaced with plain English.
Almost 80% of patients preferred the translated letter over the original, and 70% said this enhanced their perception of the doctor’s professionalism.
Here are 9 examples of medical terms (“doctor speak”) with their translated plain-English equivalents. How many of the medical terms on the left do you understand?
|Original term||Translated term|
|Peripheral oedema||Ankle swelling|
|Tachycardia||Fast heart rate|
|Ischaemic heart disease||Coronary artery disease|
|Hypertension||High blood pressure|
|Paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnoea||Waking at night breathless|
|Orthopnoea||Breathless while lying down|
Last Reviewed: 15/03/2016
1. Wernick M, et al. A randomised crossover trial of minimising medical terminology in secondary care correspondence in patients with chronic health conditions: impact on understanding and patient reported outcomes. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/imj.13062/abstract
Lyme disease not helped by long-term antibiotics
Long-term use of antibiotics to treat Lyme disease does no good and can cause harm, Australian infectious diseases expert says.
Video: Medicinal cannabis in Australia
Medicinal cannabis is now available in Australia for some conditions. Dr Norman Swan introduces medical experts who are prescribing medicinal cannabis in Australia and 2 patients who are taking medicinal cannabis.
Medicinal cannabis: Professor Chye extended interview
Professor Richard Chye, Director of the Sacred Heart Hospice and Palliative Care at St Vincent's Hospital Sydney, talks about medicinal cannabis, the dangers of unregulated cannabis products, and where medicinal cannabis is most effective.
Tuberous sclerosis is a genetic disorder that causes tuber-like growths in the brain and other vital organs. Some people are mildly affected.
Video: Chronic pain awareness
One in 5 Australians live with chronic pain and this includes children. Unlike acute pain, where there's an underlying cause, chronic pain may not be due to an obvious injury or a disease that will get better if it's fixed. Let's all understand the facts and support National Pain Week in July.