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(fō″mĕn-tā′shŭn) [L. fomentatio] 1. Application of a hot, wet substance for the relief of pain or inflammation 2. A substance used for such a purpose; a poultice. Fomentations are used primarily in complementary and alternative health care.

fomepizole 4-methylpyrazole

A drug used as an antidote for ethylene glycol (antifreeze) poisoning.

fomes, fomite

(fō′mēz″, fō′mīt″) pl. fomites [L. fomes, stem fomit-, tinder] Any object that may harbor potentially infectious microorganisms, e.g., a cup, dish, or tray used to serve food to patients; a pillowcase or sheet; a bedrail; a keyboard, pen, or pencil; an otoscope or ophthalmoscope, etc.


(fō′mĭ-tēz) Pl. of fomes.

fontanel, fontanelle

(fŏn″tă-nĕl′) [Fr. fontanelle, little fountain] Any of the tough, fibrous membranes lying between the bones of the cranial vault of a fetus or infant. Fontanels, colloquially known as soft spots, allow an infant’s skull to be compressed during passage through the birth canal. The fontanels ossify generally by age two. SEE: illus.





anterior f. The diamond-shaped junction of the coronal, frontal, and sagittal sutures; it becomes ossified within 18 to 24 months.

posterior f. The triangular fontanel at the junction of the sagittal and lambdoid sutures; ossified generally by age one.

Fontan procedure

(fon-tan′) [Francois Maurice Fontan, Fr. surgeon, b. 1929] A procedure to repair complex congenital heart defects, e.g., tricuspid atresia associated with a single ventricle, that interferes with blood being oxygenated. The superior vena cava (SVC) is divided adjacent to its entry to the right atrium; the pulmonary trunk is divided close to the pulmonic valve, and both ends are closed. The distal and cardiac ends of the divided SVC are anastomosed to the right pulmonary artery. The inferior vena cava is connected to the atrial orifice of the SVC, usually by a vascular prosthesis. This procedure may be modified.


Any material, including water, that provides the nutritive requirements of an organism to maintain growth and physical well-being. For humans, food includes carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals. SEE: carbohydrate; digestion; fat(2); nutrition; protein; stomach.

bioengineered f. Genetically modified f.

f. chain SEE: under chain.

contaminated f. Food unfit for consumption by the presence, introduction, or development of infectious or toxic material. Food may be contaminated by chemical residues (such as pesticides), bacteria (Salmonella, Escherichia coli, Listeria), viruses (hepatitis A, Norwalk), protozoa (Giardia), worms (tapeworms and roundworms), molds (Aspergillus), or toxins (botulinum, staphylococcal enterotoxin).


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