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Correct and Preferred Usage

Roxanne K. Young

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Subscriber: null; date: 18 January 2018


Authors often err in referring to anatomic regions or structures as the “right heart,” “left chest,” “left neck,” and “right brain.” Generally these terms can be corrected by inserting a phrase such as “part of the” or “side of the.”

right side of the heart; right atrium; right ventricle

left side of the chest; left hemithorax

left aspect of the neck

right hemisphere [query author]

ascending [not right] and descending [not left] colon

Where appropriate, use specific anatomic descriptors:

proximal jejunum

distal ureter

distal esophagus

femoral neck

distal radius

The upper extremity comprises the arm (extending from the shoulder to the elbow), the forearm (from the elbow to the wrist), and the hand. The lower extremity comprises the thigh (extending from the hip to the knee), the leg (from the knee to the ankle), and the foot. Therefore, references to upper and lower arm and upper and lower leg are often redundant or ambiguous. When such references appear in a manuscript, the author should be queried.

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