Glossary V-W-X-Y-Z

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Vagotomy (vay-GAH-tuh-mee)
An operation to cut the vagus nerve. This causes the stomach to make less acid.

Vagus Nerve (VAY-gus nurv)
The nerve in the stomach that controls the making of stomach acid.

Valve (valv)
A fold in the lining of an organ that prevents fluid from flowing backward.

Varices (VAIR-uh-seez)
Stretched veins such as those that form in the esophagus from cirrhosis.

VATER (VAY-tur)
A word made from the first letters of a group of birth defects. It is used when all of these birth defects affect the same child. The birth defects are:

  • Vertebral defects
  • Anal malformations
  • Tracheoesophageal fistula
  • Esophageal atresia
  • Renal defects

Villi (VIL-eye)
The tiny, fingerlike projections on the surface of the small intestine. Villi help absorb nutrients.

Viral Hepatitis (VY-rul heh-puh-TY-tis)
Hepatitis caused by a virus. Five different viruses (A, B, C, D and E) most commonly cause this form of hepatitis. Other rare viruses may also cause hepatitis. See Hepatitis. Types of hepatitis and their mode of transportation:

  • Hepatitis A – Contaminated food and water
  • Hepatitis B – Sexual intercourse, sharing infected needles
  • Hepatitis C – Sexual intercourse, sharing infected needles
  • Hepatitis D – Must have hepatitis B, found mainly in intravenous drugs
  • Hepatitis E – Contaminated water from poor sanitation

Watermelon Stomach (WAH-tur-MEH-lun STUH-muk)
Parallel red sores in the stomach that look like the stripes on a watermelon. Frequently seen with cirrhosis.

Wilson’s Disease (WIL-sunz duh-zeez)
An inherited disorder. Too much copper builds up in the liver and is slowly released into other parts of the body. The overload can cause severe liver and brain damage if not treated with medication.

Xerostomia (ZEE-roh-STOH-mee-uh)
Dry mouth. The condition can be caused by a number of things, including rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, kidney failure, infection with HIV (the virus that causes AIDS), drugs used to treat depression and radiation treatment for mouth or throat cancer.

Zenker’s Diverticulum (ZEN-kurz dy-vur-TIK- yoo-lum)
Pouches in the esophagus from increased pressure in and around the esophagus.

Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome (ZAH-lun-jur EL-uh-sun sin-drohm)
A group of symptoms that occur when a tumor called a gastrinoma forms in the pancreas. The tumor, which may cause cancer, releases large amounts of the hormone gastrin. The gastrin causes too much acid in the duodenum, resulting in ulcers, bleeding and perforation.

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