Glossary

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

Abscess
A defined collection of purulent fluid which forms in the tissue as a result of acute or chronic localized infection frequently surrounded by inflamed tissue, and swelling. Source: AAWC
Acute Wound
A wound that is following a predicted pattern that should result in complete healing. Source: AAWC
Allograft
A graft of tissue or cells between individuals of the same species but of different genotype to fill a wound defect; also called a homograft. Source: AAWC
Anticoagulant
A class of drugs that work to prevent the coagulation (clotting) of blood. Source: Wikipedia
Angiogenesis
The migration, proliferation, differentiation, and budding of endothelial cells to create new vasculature. Source: AAWC
Arterial Ulcer
A wound that results from inadequate arterial blood supply or flow. Frequently, these wounds are located on the distal extremities. Source: AAWC
Autograft
A graft of tissue or cells derived from the same organism that is receiving it. Source: AAWC
Bio-burden
The amount of bacteria existing in or on the wound surface. Source: AAWC
Biofilm
A population(s) of microorganisms that are attached to the wound surface and are typically surrounded by an extracellular polymeric matrix (glyocalyx). In wounds these accumulations are often difficult to remove and eradicate; thereby, hindering wound repair. Source: AAWC
For more information, see our Biofilm Education page.
Cellulitis
Inflammation of cellular (epidermal and dermal) or connective tissue usually accompanied by local warmth, pain, swelling, and possibly fever. Source: AAWC
Chemotaxis
Directed migration of cells toward a chemical stimulus. Source: AAWC
Chronic Wound
A wound that experiences a physiological delay through any of the normal, orderly, sequential phases of healing. Source: AAWC
Colonization
Microorganisms residing in the wound bed that do not impact the health or healing of the wound. Source: AAWC
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Contamination
Presence of bacteria, other microorganisms, or foreign material present on, but not imbedded in the wound. Source: AAWC
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Cross-contamination
The process by which bacteria or other microorganisms are unintentionally transferred from one substance or object to another, with harmful effect. Source: Google
Cytoplasm
Comprises cytosol (the gel-like substance enclosed within the cell membrane) — and the organelles — the cell’s internal sub-structures. All of the contents of the cells of prokaryote organisms (such as bacteria, which lack a cell nucleus) are contained within the cytoplasm. Within the cells of eukaryote organisms the contents of the cell nucleus are separated from the cytoplasm, and are then called the nucleoplasm. The cytoplasm is about 80% water and usually colorless. Source: Wikipedia
Cytotoxicity
The quality of being toxic to cells. Source: Wikipedia
DACC
Highly hydrophobic fatty acid derivative, dialkyl carbamoyl chloride. Source: Abigo?
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Debridement
Removal of devitalized tissue, cellular debris and any foreign matter from the wound. Source: AAWC
Dehiscence
Separation of surgically approximated layers of an operative wound. Source: AAWC
Dermis
The layer of skin lying beneath the epidermis. It contains blood vessels, connective tissue, nerves, lymphatics, sebaceous glands, and hair follicles. Source: AAWC
Diabetic foot ulcer
Wound on the foot of a diabetic individual. About 60-70% is associated with loss of protective sensation, caused by pathology commonly associated with the disease, such as peripheral neuropathy. Source: AAWC
Endotoxins
A toxin that is present inside a bacterial cell and is released when the cell disintegrates. It is sometimes responsible for the characteristic symptoms of a disease, e.g., in botulism. Source: Google
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Epidermis
Outermost layer of skin consisting of five layers of differentiating epithelial cells whose primary type is the keratinocyte. Source: AAWC
Epithelial Tissue
New white or pink, shiny epidermal tissue that grows in from wound edges or grows upward from surviving hair follicles or sweat ducts. Source: AAWC
Epithelialization
The stage of wound healing where epidermal cells proliferate and migrate across the surface of the wound from the wound margins and the remaining hair follicles. These cells are pink or white at the wound edges or in islands over granulation tissue. Source: AAWC
Eschar
Thick leathery black, brown, or gray necrotic devitalized tissue on the surface of a wound. It may be firmly adhered or partially separated from surrounding viable wound margins.
Exudate
Any fluid released from a tissue or its capillaries, usually due to injury or inflammation. It is characteristically high in protein and white blood cells. Source: AAWC
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Fibroblasts
A cell responsible for connective tissue synthesis in the dermis. These cells are attracted to the wound site (chemotaxis) where they proliferate, migrate, attach, contract, synthesize and extrude collagen producing the matrix through which new blood vessels will grow to make and contract and remodel granulation and scar tissue. Source: AAWC
Fistula
An abnormal passage or communication, between an internal organ and the surface of the body, or from one internal organ to another. Further defined by starting and ending location (e.g. enterocutaneous). Source: AAWC
Foam
Nearly all foam used in negative pressure is made of polyurethane with open cell pores of 400-600 micrometers. Unless impregnated with silver, foam has no antimicrobial properties.
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Full Thickness
Tissue damage involving total loss of epidermis and dermis and extending, at the minimum, into the subcutaneous tissue and possibly through the fascia, muscle or bone. Source: AAWC
Granulation tissue
Tissue that is pink/red and moist, composed of new blood vessels, connective tissue, fibroblasts, and inflammatory cells that fill a healing wound. Typically, appearing with an irregular, bumpy or granular surface. Source: AAWC
Hemostasis
Is a process, which causes bleeding to stop, meaning to keep blood within a damaged blood vessel (the opposite of hemostasis is hemorrhage). It is the first stage of wound healing. Source: Wikipedia
Hydrophobic
The hydrophobic effect is the observed tendency of nonpolar substances to aggregate in aqueous solution and exclude water molecules. The word hydrophobic literally means “water-fearing,” and it describes the segregation and apparent repulsion between water and nonpolar substances.
The hydrophobic effect is responsible for the separation of a mixture of oil and water into its two components. The hydrophobic effect is also responsible for the stability of cell membranes, drives protein folding as well as the insertion of membrane proteins into the nonpolar lipid environment and finally stabilizes protein-small molecule interactions. Hence the hydrophobic effect is essential to life. Source: Wikipedia
Hypochlorous acid
Hypochlorous acid is a weak acid with the chemical formula HClO. It forms when chlorine dissolves in water, and it is HClO that actually does the disinfection when chlorine is used to disinfect water for human use. Source: Wikipedia
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Inert
In chemistry used to describe a substance that is not chemically reactive. Source: Wikipedia
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Ischemia
Deficiency of blood supply caused by constriction or obstruction, of a blood vessel to tissue leading to cellular damage. If not alleviated, may lead to tissue necrosis. Source: AAWC
Maceration
The changes and subsequent disintegration of skin resulting from prolonged exposure to moisture. Tissue changes frequently appear white. Source: AAWC
Micro-vascular
Of or relating to the smallest blood vessels. Source: Google
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Monocytes
A relatively large mononuclear leukocyte (16-22 mcm in diameter), that normally constitutes 3-7% of the leukocytes of the circulating blood and found in the lymph nodes, spleen, bone marrow, and loose connective tissue. Source: AAWC
Myeloperoxidase
A peroxidase enzyme that in humans is encoded by the MPO gene. Myeloperoxidase is most abundantly expressed in neutrophil granulocytes (a subtype of white blood cells). Source: Wikipedia
Necrotic Tissue
Tissue that has died and has therefore lost its usual physical properties and biological activity. Also called devitalized tissue. Source: AAWC
Negative Pressure Wound Therapy (NPWT)
Application of sub-atmospheric pressure to a wound using a variety of forms: electrical pump, wall suction, bulb suction or applied vacuum. The therapy may be applied by continuous, intermittent, low or high pressures and is used to assist in extracting drainage, microorganisms as well as stimulating granulation and contraction in a wound. Source: AAWC
For more information, see our Negative Pressure Wound Therapy Education page.
Neutrophils
A polymorphonuclear (having many lobes in its nucleus) white blood cell, among the earliest inflammatory cells to arrive at a site of injury. It is abundant and actively phagocytic. Source: AAWC
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Osteomyelitis
Infection of the bone marrow and adjacent bone. Source: AAWC
Periwound
The skin surrounding an injury; around or near a bodily injury caused by physical means to the outer covering of the body. Source: Definitionof.com
Phagocytes
cells that protect the body by ingesting (phagocytosing) harmful foreign particles, bacteria, and dead or dying cells. Source: Wikipedia
Pressure Ulcer
A localized injury to the skin and/or underlying tissue usually over a bony prominence, as a result of pressure, or pressure in combination with shear and/or friction. Source: AAWC
Pressure Ulcer Stage I
Intact skin with non-blanchable redness of a localized area usually over a bony prominence. Darkly pigmented skin may not have visible blanching; its color may differ from the surrounding area. The area may be painful, firm, soft, warmer or cooler as compared to adjacent tissue. Stage I may be difficult to detect in individuals with dark skin tones. May indicate “at risk” persons (a heralding sign of risk). Source: AAWC
Pressure Ulcer Stage II
Partial thickness loss of dermis presenting as a shallow open ulcer with a red pink wound bed, without slough. May also present as an intact or open/ruptured serum-filled blister. Presents as a shiny or dry shallow ulcer without slough or bruising. This stage should not be used to describe skin tears, tape burns, perineal dermatitis, maceration or excoriation. Source: AAWC
Pressure Ulcer Stage III
Full thickness tissue loss. Subcutaneous fat may be visible but bone, tendon or muscles are not exposed. Slough may be present but does not obscure the depth of tissue loss. May include undermining and tunneling. The depth of a stage III pressure ulcer varies by anatomical location. The bridge of the nose, ear, occiput and malleolus do not have subcutaneous tissue and stage III ulcers can be shallow. In contrast, areas of significant adiposity can develop extremely deep stage III pressure ulcers. Bone/tendon is not visible or directly palpable. Source: AAWC
Pressure Ulcer Stage IV
Full thickness tissue loss with exposed bone, tendon or muscle. Slough or eschar may be present on some parts of the wound bed. Often include undermining and tunneling. The depth of a stage IV pressure ulcer varies by anatomical location. The bridge of the nose, ear, occiput and malleolus do not have subcutaneous tissue and these ulcers can be shallow. Stage IV ulcers can extend into muscle and/or supporting structures (e.g., fascia, tendon or joint capsule) making osteomyelitis possible. Exposed bone/tendon is visible or directly palpable. Source: AAWC
Pressure Ulcer Unstageable
Full thickness tissue loss in which the base of the ulcer is covered by slough (yellow, tan, gray, green or brown) and/or eschar (tan, brown or black) in the wound bed. Until enough slough and/or eschar is removed to expose the base of the wound, the true depth, and therefore stage, cannot be determined. Stable (dry, adherent, intact without erythema or Fluctuance) eschar on the heels serves as “the body’s natural (biological) cover” and should not be removed. Source: AAWC
Pressure Ulcer- Suspected deep tissue injury
A purple or maroon localized area of discolored intact skin or blood-filled blister due to damage of underlying soft tissue from pressure and/or shear. The area may be preceded by tissue that is painful, firm, mushy, boggy, warmer, or cooler as compared. Source: AAWC
REVA
IHT’s patented and proprietary drain, the REVA, is a revolutionary device that has recently received 510-K FDA approval. The REVA is a hybrid of the more common dome drain for use with either a flat or round channel drain, whichever is best indicated by the specific wound characteristic. This dome-like device is integrated with a large skirt to reduce the possibility of leaking, without the use of stoma paste or other adhesive material. Because the REVA functions at the base of the wound, it allows for low-pressure suction without the need for a large, semi-porous filler, like foam. The REVA is designed for medium to small wounds. Its unique design facilitates rapid dressing changes in a leak-free environment because the integrated dome, skirt and rain tube runs through the drape, rather than under it.
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Sequestration
When pathogens are sequestered, they are removed from the wound environment through adhesion, through physical removal or through binding and inactivating rendering the pathogens inert and unable to multiply.
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Systemic Absorption
Antibiotics and pathogens can be absorbed by the circulatory system. When an antibiotic is systemic it is in a state of full bioavailability, although, the antibiotic may not perfuse protected areas. Pathogens too may become free-floating and therefor systemic, spreading from a local infection to a system-wide infection, present in the blood circulatory system.
Sulfhydryl Enzymes
In organic chemistry, a thiol is an organosulfur compound that contains a carbon-bonded sulfhydryl (—C—SH or R—SH) group (where R represents an alkane, alkene, or other carbon-containing group of atoms). Thiols are the sulfur analogue of alcohols (that is, sulfur takes the place of oxygen in the hydroxyl group of an alcohol), and the word is a portmanteau of “thion” + “alcohol,” with the first word deriving from Greek θεῖον (“thion”) = “sulfur.” The —SH functional group itself is referred to as either a thiol group or a sulfhydryl group. Source: Wikipedia
Tissue Ingrowth
Tissue ingrowth occurs when newly granulating tissues grow into the open cell (pores) structure of the wound filling material, most commonly, foam. Under negative pressure, tissues are drawn into the pore structures and lodge within the open cells. Upon changing of dressings, more is required to remove foam than Cutimed Sorbact. The adherence of foam to the wound bed may lead to material being left in the wound, which may later act as a foreign body. Furthermore, the tearing off of ingrown tissue results in pain during dressing changes.
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Tunneling
Course or path of tissue destruction occurring in any direction beneath the surface or edge of the wound. It can be distinguished from undermining by the fact that a sinus tract involved a significant portion of the wound edge. Sometimes called a tract or tunneling. Source: AAWC
Undermining
Area of tissue destruction under intact skin involving a significant portion of the wound edge. Undermining results in a “lip” of intact tissue overlying open space. Distinguished from a sinus tract, which extends in a single direction under intact tissue. Source: AAWC
Virulence
By MeSH definition, the degree of pathogenicity within a group or species of parasites as indicated by case fatality rates and/or the ability of the organism to invade the tissues of the host. The pathogenicity of an organism – its ability to cause disease – is determined by its virulence factors. Source: Wikipedia