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Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974

ABBR: ERISA. A federal law that protects individuals covered by voluntarily administered health insurance and pension plans. Important amendments to ERISA are the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Newborns’ and Mothers’ Health Protection Act, Mental Health Parity Act, and the Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act.


1. Investing power in another person or group by sharing leadership roles or helping others to engage fully in a process. 2. Participating actively and autonomously in policies or events that affect one’s health or well-being.

empty can test

An orthopedic test of the shoulder, used to determine the integrity of the supraspinatus muscle. With the patient sitting or standing, the shoulder is fully internally rotated, abducted to 90 degrees, and placed in 30 degrees of forward flexion, as if emptying a beverage can. The patient then attempts to maintain this position against resistance. Inability to hold this position, or pain while holding it, suggests pathology of the supraspinatus muscle. SYN: Jobe test.

empty follicle syndrome

In in vitro fertilization investigations, the absence of oocytes in the stimulated follicle of the ovary. This may be a cause of infertility in some individuals.

empty-sella syndrome

A condition seen in imaging of the sella turcica where pituitary tissue is either compressed (partial empty sella) or not visible (empty sella). The volume of the sella is filled by cerebrospinal fluid. Clinically, patients may show no endocrine abnormality or may have signs of decreased pituitary function. Hormonal replacement is given to patients with hypopituitarism. In autopsy studies, empty-sella syndrome has been found in about 5% of presumably normal persons. SEE: pituitary gland.


(em″pī″ē′mă) [Gr. empyēma, abscess] A collection of pus in a body cavity, esp. the pleural space. SEE: thoracentesis.

 INCIDENCE: In the U.S., about 6 people per 100,000 are hospitalized with empyema annually. The number of people with empyema doubled between 1996 and 2008; most of the increase appeared to be caused by a rise in staphylococcal infections.

 CAUSES: The disease is usually caused by the local spread of infection from a pneumonia or lung abscess but may be caused by organisms brought to the pleural space via the blood or lymphatic system or an abscess extending upward from below the diaphragm. Streptococcus pneumoniae, Staphylococcus aureus, and Klebsiella pneumoniae are the most common pathogens, but anaerobic organisms also can cause empyema.

 SYMPTOMS AND SIGNS: Patients are usually quite ill, with high fevers and sweats, malaise, anorexia, and fatigue. They frequently present with tachycardia, pleurisy, cough, and dyspnea. Depending on the amount ...

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