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toxemia

Pronunciation: tok-se'me-a

Definition:

  1. Clinical manifestations observed during certain infectious diseases, assumed to be caused by toxins and other noxious substances elaborated by the infectious agent; in certain infections by gram-negative bacteria, endotoxins probably play a role when the bacterial cell wall breaks down, releasing a complex lipopolysaccharide; however, the role of other bacterial substances is unclear, except in the case of the specific exotoxins such as those of diphtheria and tetanus.
  2. The clinical syndrome caused by toxic substances in the blood.
  3. A lay term referring to the hypertensive disorders of pregnancy.

Synonym(s): toxicemia

[G. toxikon, poison, + haima, blood]

Further information

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© Copyright 2018 Wolters Kluwer. All Rights Reserved. Review date: Sep 19, 2016.

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