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Here you will find definitions and meanings of some of the most frequently used terms on the site.


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This is a blood test that measures how quickly red cells (erythrocytes) settle in a test tube in 1 hour. A sedimentation rate test is done to find out if inflammation is present in the body, to check on the progress of a disease or to see how well a treatment is working. This test is also called a “sed rate” or “erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR).”

This is the liquid portion of the blood in which no cells are present.

An organ located in the left upper portion of the abdomen just under the left side of the diaphragm. It contains clusters of lymphocytes and also filters old or worn-out cells from the blood. It is often affected in lymphocytic leukaemia and lymphoma.
Enlargement of the spleen is called “splenomegaly.” Surgical removal of the spleen is known as “splenectomy.” Certain diseases are treated by removing the spleen. Most of the functions of the spleen can be performed by other organs, such as the lymph nodes and liver, but a person whose spleen has been removed is at higher risk for infection. He or she is given antibiotic therapy immediately at the first sign of infection, such as a fever.

See Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplantation; Autologous Stem Cell Transplantation.

Are primitive cells in marrow that develop into red cells, white cells and platelets. Stem cells are largely found in the marrow, but some leave the marrow and circulate in the blood. Using special techniques, the stem cells in the blood can be collected, preserved by freezing and later thawed and used for stem cell therapy. See Haematopoiesis.


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