Top 10 Tongue-Twisting Medical Terms - dummies

By Beverley Henderson, Jennifer Lee Dorsey

Medical terminology is chock-full of words that defy expectation, both in terms of meaning and pronunciation. There are as many tongue-twisting names in terminology as there are bones in the skeletal system. In other words, a lot. From the top of your cranium to the bottoms of your feet, there is a sign, symptom, or syndrome named for practically every physician in the phone book, and it would seem, practically every one of them hard to pronounce.

Here are the top ten medical terminology tongue-twisters:

  • Brockenbrough: A decrease in pulse pressure seen in patients with hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy

  • Chilaiditi: In radiology, indicates interposition of bowel gas (usually hepatic flexure) between liver and hemidiaphragm

  • Duroziez: An audible murmur that can be heard over the femoral artery, a sign of aortic insufficiency

  • Karplus: Modified voice resonance with a pleural effusion, the vowel U spoken by the patient is heard as an A

  • Lutembacher: A combination of mitral stenosis with atrial septal defect

  • Maugeri: Cardiac and pulmonary symptoms causes by silicate exposure (silicotic mediastinopathy)

  • Megacystis-megaureter: Presence of massive primary nonobstructing reflux with a large smooth, thin-walled bladder due to continued recycling of refluxed urine

  • Moebius: Inability to keep the eyeballs converged, a sign of exophthalmic goiter

  • Nonnenbruch (Extrarenal kidney): Resulting in oliguria

  • Stellwag: Infrequent or incomplete blinking, present in Graves’ orbitopathy