Common Terms

At Nationwide Children's Hospital, we understand that many of the medical terms used in your child's treatment will be words you will likely not be familiar with. To help, we've compiled a list of the most common terms having to do with our Center for Intestinal Rehabilitation and Nutrition Support.

Intestinal Adaptation: The ability of the intestine to both grow and improve functionally

Atresia: a part of the GI tract is narrowed or missing; this can occur anywhere along the GI tract and the amount of intestine involved can vary

Broviac catheter: a soft plastic tube that is inserted into a large vein to give intravenous (IV) therapy. The catheter is tunneled under the skin so that the place that it comes out of the skin is away from the place where it enters the vein. This catheter is used when IV therapy will be needed for a long time.

Colostomy: a part of the colon is brought out as an opening on the abdominal wall called a stoma. The stoma allows stool to pass out of the colon into a bag

Duodenum: the first part of the small intestine starting just past the end of the stomach

Enteral Nutrition: formula given through the GI tract either by mouth, gastrostomy tube or jejunostomy tube

Gastroschisis: a defect in the abdominal (belly) wall. The defect forms before the baby is born. Part of the intestine is outside of the baby’s body rather than inside the abdomen Download our patient handout.

Gastrostomy tube (G-tube): a feeding tube placed through the abdominal wall directly into the stomach

G-J tube: a gastrostomy tube with an extension that goes into the small intestine from the stomach; the tube may have two openings so that the stomach and small intestine can each be accessed

Hirschsprung’s disease: a disease where the bowel did not form the nerves needed for it to work as it should. This usually affects the part of the bowel also known as the large intestine, or the colon. It can affect the entire colon and part of the small intestine, but this is rare.

Ileostomy: a part of the ileum (the last part of the small intestine) is brought out as an opening on the abdominal wall called a stoma

Ileum: the most distal or last part of the small intestine

Jejunum: the middle portion of the small intestine

Jejunostomy: an opening on the abdominal wall into the jejunum (middle portion of the small intestine); it can be either for a feeding tube or an ostomy/stoma which drains the upper GI tract

Jejunostomy tube (J-tube): a feeding tube placed directly into the small intestine

Meconium ileus: an obstruction in the ileum (the lower part of the small intestine) caused by very thick meconium; meconium is the material that collects in the GI tract before birth; meconium ileus most commonly occurs in cystic fibrosis

Nasogastric tube (NG tube): a tube that is passed through the nose and into the stomach.

Nasojejunal tube (NJ tube): a tube that is passed through the nose, through the stomach, and into the small intestine.

Necrotizing enterocolitis: most common in premature newborn infants; severe inflammation of the intestine causes damage to part of the intestine (can occur in either the small intestine or colon). Mild forms can be treated medically; more severe forms result in the loss of parts of the bowel.

Omphalocele: in utero, the abdominal wall does not close at the umbilicus (belly button) and the intestine as well as sometimes the liver and spleen remain outside of the abdomen in a sac.

Orogastric tube: a tube that is passed through the mouth and into the stomach

Parenteral: into a vein or vessel; also called intravenous

PICC line (peripherally inserted central catheter): a soft plastic tube that is inserted into a large vein to give intravenous (IV) therapy. This type of catheter is often inserted through a vein in the arm or leg and goes through to a larger vein

Pseudo-obstruction: a severe motility disorder of the intestinal tract which can be caused by a problem with either the nerves or muscles of the GI tract. It can require specialized nutrition support

Short bowel syndrome: a condition in which the bowel is short, usually from surgical resection due to abnormal intestines or development of a serious condition; causes problems with absorption and requires specialized nutrition support.

TPN: Total Parenteral Nutrition; nutrition given through a central venous catheter. Also known as hyperalimentation.

Volvulus: a twisting of the intestine, usually associated with a condition called malrotation (a congenital problem of the intestines)