Glossary of terms used on this site

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Term Definition

Vasectomy (male sterilisation) is a permanent form of contraception, whereby the vas deferens is cut preventing sperm travelling from the testes to the penis.

vCJD (variant Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease)

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is an illness of the nervous system that causes damage to the brain. (The disease is named after two German scientists). CJD is fatal, and there is no known cure.

Ventricular septal defect

Ventricular septal defect (VSD) is the most common cause of acyanotic (where the blood contains enough oxygen but it is pumped abnormally around the body) heart disease. In cases of VSD, there is a hole between the left and right ventricle. As blood pressure is higher on the left-hand side of the heart, blood is pushed out of the left ventricle through the hole and into the right ventricle. The heart then has to work harder to pump the excess blood out of the right ventricle, which can put a strain on the heart. The excess level of blood can also increase the blood pressure in the lungs and damage them (pulmonary hypertension).


A treatment for epilepsy using a small stimulator (similar to a pacemaker) implanted under the skin in the upper chest. The vagus nerve stimulator sends electrical signals to electrodes (wires) that are attached to the vagus nerve. From the vagus nerve the signals travel up into the areas of the brain thought to be involved in causing seizures. VNS may reduce the number and intensity of seizures in some people.

Von Hippel Lindau

An inherited disorder characterized by the formation of tumours and fluid-filled sacs (cysts) in many different parts of the body. Tumours may be either non-cancerous or cancerous and usually appear during young adulthood; however, the signs and symptoms of von Hippel-Lindau syndrome can occur throughout life.

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