Common Terms and Abbreviations Used in the NICU
Your baby is in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) to receive special medical care. These are some terms you may hear used while your baby is in the NICU:
mL: A metric unit of volume. 30mL equals about 1 fluid ounce.
CNS (central nervous system): The brain and spinal cord.
CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure): A machine that gives a continuous, gentle supply of air.
CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation): A technique used to get the heart started if it has stopped.
ET or ETT (endotracheal tube): A tube that goes through the baby’s mouth or nose into the windpipe.
grams and kilograms: Metric units of weight. 100 grams is about 3.5 ounces. 1 kilogram is about 2.2 pounds.
HFV(high-frequency ventilator): A machine that delivers hundreds of tiny breaths per minute.
IMV (intermittent mandatory ventilation): A ventilator that delivers a set number of breaths per minute.
IV (intravenous): By vein.
IV pump: A device used to administer IV fluids.
LP (lumbar puncture): A procedure to take fluid from the spinal column using a needle.
NG tube (nasogastric tube): A tube that goes through the nose to the stomach.
NICU (neonatal intensive care unit): Part of the hospital devoted to caring for newborns with special medical needs.
NPO (nil per os): No food or liquid given by mouth. (This is an abbreviation of a Latin term.)
O2 (oxygen): A gas in the air we breathe that is essential to life.
OG tube (orogastric tube): A tube that goes through the mouth into the stomach.
Peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) or a percutaneous central venous catheter (PCVC): A catheter (tube) inserted in a central (large) vein.
Radiant warmer bed: An open bed with a heating device.
SIMV (synchronized intermittent mandatory ventilation): IMV coordinated with the baby’s breaths.
TPR: Temperature, pulse, and respiration.
TPN (total parenteral nutrition): Nutrition fed directly into the baby’s bloodstream.
UAC (umbilical arterial catheter): A tube inserted into an artery at the stump of the umbilical cord.
UVC (umbilical venous catheter): A tube inserted into the vein at the stump of the umbilical cord.
VS (vital signs): Temperature, pulse, respiration (breathing), and blood pressure.