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Glossary of Terms & Phrases

On this page you will find brief descriptions of many of the terms and phrases that you see on this site.


ACE / ARB for LVSD - ACE (Angiotensin converting enzyme) inhibitor and ARB (angiotensin receptor blocker) medications are drugs that stop the production of or the body's use of a hormone that narrows blood vessels. This helps reduce your blood pressure and the pressure in your heart. Use of these medications have been shown to help prevent further heart problems in heart attack patients.

Advice on Quitting Smoking - Smoking injures the heart, lungs and blood vessels. It causes your arteries to thicken and your blood vessels to narrow. Fat and plaque stick to the walls of your arteries, making it harder for blood to flow through them. This increases the risk of developing blood clots and can cause chest pain, high blood pressure and a higher heart rate.

Persons who smoke are at higher risk of having a heart attack, heart failure, stroke, lung cancer or dying prematurely.

Antithrombotics:  medicine(s) known to prevent complications caused by blood clots before discharge and/or within 2 Days or Arrival at the
Hospital.

Anticoagulates:  Blood thinner medications for patients with an irregular heartbeat (also called atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter)  at discharge.

Anticoagulation Overlap Therapy:  a Treatment for patients with blood clots which includes using two different blood thinner medicines at the sametime

Aspirin on Arrival - Aspirin has been shown to prevent clotting, to restore blood flow to the heart and has been shown to improve a person’s ability to survive a heart attack. Eligible heart attack patients should be given aspirin within 24 hours of arrival at the hospital.

Aspirin Prescribed at Discharge - Aspirin has been shown to prevent clotting, to restore blood flow to the heart and has been shown to improve a person’s ability to survive a heart attack. Eligible heart attack patients should be prescribed aspirin when they leave the hospital.

Beta Blocker on Arrival - Beta blockers are medications that relieve the stress on the heart by slowing the heart rate and reducing the force with which the heart muscle contracts to pump blood. These medications have been shown to help prevent future heart attacks and should be given within 24 hours of arrival at the hospital.

Beta Blocker Prescribed at Discharge - Beta blockers are medications that relieve the stress on the heart by slowing the heart rate and reducing the force with which the heart muscle contracts to pump blood. These medications have been shown to help prevent future heart attacks and should be prescribed for heart attack patients.

Blood Cultures - A simple blood test recommended to detect the present of bacteria in the blood for suspected Pneumonia patients. Before antibiotics are given, blood samples are taken to test for the type of infection. This measure reports the percent of pneumonia patients admitted through the Emergency Department who received this test before antibiotics were given.

Cardiac Surgery Patients with Controlled Blood Sugar Levels the First Two Days After Surgery - Uncontrolled blood sugar levels in cardiac surgery patients has been linked to increased risk of infection. Controlling blood sugar also helps wounds to heal faster. Blood sugar levels are measured at 6AM on the first 2 days after surgery.

CAC (aka Children's Asthma Care, Pediatric Asthma) - Initiated nationally in 2007, the Children's Asthma Care project focuses on the most common chronic disease in children. For children, asthma is one of the most frequent reasons for admission to hospitals. Children with asthma who are seen by specialists or receive follow-up appointments are more likely to use appropriate long term control medications (like relievers and systemic corticosteroids), thus producing better clinical outcomes. There are three measures included in the CAC project: Relievers for Inpatient Asthma, Systemic Corticosteroids for Inpatient Asthma, and Home Managment Plan of Care Document Given to Patient/Caregiver.

Continuation of Beta Blocker Medications for Eligible Patients - Research has shown that Surgery patients on beta blocker medications, a medication therapy that relieves the stress on the heart by slowing the heart rate and reducing the force with which the heart muscle contracts to pump blood, prior to surgery should continue to receive these medications after surgery.

Discharge Instructions - This measure reports what percent of patients with heart failure are given information about their condition and care when they leave the hospital. Patient education about medicines, diet, activities, and signs to watch for is important in order to prevent further hospitalization.

Discontinuation of Preventive Antibiotics Within 24 Hours of Surgery - This measure reports how often surgery patients whose medicine (an antibiotic) to prevent infection was stopped within 24 hours after the surgery ended; 48 hours for cardiac surgeries. Giving medicine that prevents infection for more than 24 hours after the end of surgery is not helpful, unless there is a specific reason (for example, fever or other signs of infection). Note: Not every surgery requires antibiotics and this measure reports on those selected surgeries where evidence/experts have identified that antibiotics would be helpful.

HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) - is a national, standardized survey of hospital patients about their experiences during a recent inpatient hospital stay.

While many hospitals collected information on patients' satisfaction with care, there was no national standard for collecting or publicly reporting this information that would enable valid comparisons to be made across all hospitals. In order to make "apples to apples" comparisons to support consumer choice, HCAHPS was developed.

Heparin Monitoring:  Treatment for patients with blood clots who were treated with an intravenous blood tinner and then checked to determine if the blood thinner was putting the patient at an increased risk of bleeding.

Influenza Vaccination - This measure reports the number of Pneumonia patients who were screened for influenza vaccine status and who were administered the vaccine prior to discharge, if indicated to prevent influenza.

Initial ABX Received Within 6 Hours of Arrival - This measure reports the percent of adult pneumonia patients who are given an antibiotic within 6 hours of arriving at the hospital.

Initial ABX Selection for ICU Patients - This measure reports percentage of eligible patients who received the appropriate antibiotics for community acquired pneumonia for treatment of their condition. Included in this measure are patients who are in the intensive care unit (ICU).

Initial ABX Selection for Non ICU Patients - This measure reports percentage of eligible patients who received the appropriate antibiotics for community acquired pneumonia for treatment of their condition. Included in this measure are patients who are not in the ICU.

Left Ventricular Function Assessment - Heart failure patients who have had the function of the main pumping chamber of the heart (i.e., left ventricle) checked during their hospitalization. This measure reports what percent of patients with heart failure receive an in-depth evaluation of heart muscle function in order to get the right treatment for their heart failure.

Normal Postoperative Body Temperature - Core temperatures outside the normal range, both hypothermia and hyperthermia, pose a risk in all patients undergoing surgery.

PCI within 90 minutes of arrival - Because a lack of blood supply to the heart muscle after a heart attack can cause lasting damage, it is important that treatment to open up blocked arteries be given as soon as possible. Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) Therapy includes:

Angioplasty, in which a balloon is threaded into a blood vessel and then inflated to open it up.

Stenting, in which a small wire tube (the stent) is inserted inside a blood vessel to hold it open.

Atherectomy, in which a blade or laser cuts through and removes the blockage.

Pneumococcal Screening/Vaccination - The measure reports the percent of Pneumonia patients, age 65 and older, who were screened for pneumococcal vaccine status and who were administered the vaccine prior to discharge, if indicated, to prevent pneumonia.

Preventive Antibiotics Given Within an Hour of a Surgical Incision - This measure reports how often patients having surgery received medicine that prevents infection (an antibiotic) within one hour before the skin was surgically cut. Infection is lowest when patients receive antibiotics to prevent infection within one hour before the skin is surgically cut. Note: Not every surgery requires antibiotics and this measure reports on those selected surgeries where evidence/experts have identified that antibiotics would be helpful.

Reliever medication - Relievers are medications that relax the bands of muscle surrounding the airways and are used to quickly alleviate bronchoconstriction and prevent exercise-induced bronchospasm. Examples of reliever medications are : Albuterol, Epinephrine, Ipratropium Metaproterenol, and Pirbuterol.

Risk-Adjusted Mortality - The risk-adjustment mortality rates adjust for differences in patients' risks unrelated to their hospital care. The characteristics that Medicare patients bring with them when they arrive at a hospital with a heart attack or heart failure or pneumonia are not under the control of the hospital. However, some patient characteristics may make death more likely (increase the "risk" of death), no matter where the patient is treated or how good the care is. Moreover, some hospitals may treat people with a history of more severe disease. Therefore, when mortality rates are calculated for each hospital for a 12-month period, they are adjusted based on the unique mix of patients that hospital treated during that period.

Factors included in the risk-adjustment model include age, gender, past medical history, and other diseases or conditions (comorbidities) that patients had when they arrived at the hospital that are known to increase their risk.

Risk Adjusted Readmission Rates - adjust for differences in patients’ risks unrelated to their hospital care. The characteristics that Medicare patients bring with them when they arrive at a hospital with a heart attack or heart failure or pneumonia are not under the control of the hospital. However, some patient characteristics may make readmission more likely (increase the "risk" of readmission), no matter where the patient is treated or how good the care is. Moreover, some hospitals may treat people with a history of more severe disease. Therefore, when readmission rates are calculated for each hospital, they are adjusted based on the unique mix of patients that hospital treated during that period.    Factors included in the risk-adjustment model include age, gender, past medical history, and other diseases or conditions (comorbidities) that patients had when they arrived at the hospital and increase their risk of readmission.

Selection of the Most Appropriate Antibiotic - This measure reports how often surgery patients whose medicine (an antibiotic) to prevent infection was stopped within 24 hours after the surgery ended; 48 hours for cardiac surgeries. Giving medicine that prevents infection for more than 24 hours after the end of surgery is not helpful, unless there is a specific reason (for example, fever or other signs of infection). Note: Not every surgery requires antibiotics and this measure reports on those selected surgeries where evidence/experts have identified that antibiotics would be helpful.

Statins:  Medinces to lower cholesterol.

Systemic corticosteroids - Systemic corticosteroids (oral or intravenous corticosteroids) are recommended as short term or rescue medications to relieve bronchoconstriction rapidly, making them useful in gaining quick initial control of asthma and in treatment of moderate to severe asthma exacerbations. Examples of systemic corticosteroids include: Prednisone, Solu-Medrol, Hydrocortisone, Dexamethasone, and Methylprednisolone.

Thrombolytics within 30 Minutes of Arrival - Thrombolytics are medications that dissolve or break up blood clots that are blocking blood flow through a coronary artery. Clots cause most heart attacks. These drugs are not an option for everyone who has had a heart attack. The decision to use a thrombolytic drug is made based upon how severe your heart attack is, how long you have had your symptoms, and what other medical problems you have. Thrombolytics can increase a person's risk of serious complications (risks greater than the heart attack itself).

Use of Appropriate Hair Removal Methods Before Surgery - Surgical infections can be reduced by using appropriate hair removal methods prior to surgery for parts of the body that have hair. No hair removal, or hair removal with clippers or depilatory is considered appropriate. Shaving is considered inappropriate.

Use of Clot Prevention Measures if Appropriate - Surgery patients who receive clot prevention medicines or use physical measures, such as compression stockings, to prevent clots when appropriate at admission.

Use of Clot Prevention Measures 24 Hours Prior to Surgery and 24 Hours After Surgery if Appropriate - Surgery patients who received clot prevention medicines or use physical measures such as compression stockings to prevent clots as appropriate within 24 hours prior to Surgical Incision Time to 24 hours after Surgery End Time.

Venous Thromboembolism Prophylaxis (aka VTE) : a Treatment to keep blood clots from forming anywhere in the body within 2 days of arriving at the hospital

Warfarin:  A drug commonly used for blood thinning.