tetan-, tetano-, tetani-

(Greek: tension, especially a convulsive tension; muscle spasm or tetanus, an infectious disease characterized by muscle spasms)

artificial tetanus
Tetanus produced by a drug: such as, strychnine.
ascending tetanus
Tetanus in which muscle spasms occur first in the lower part of the body and then spread upward, finally involving muscles of the head and neck.
cephalic tetanus
A form of tetanus due to a wound of the head; especially, one near the eyebrow.

It is marked by trismus (prolonged spasm of the jaw muscles), facial paralysis on one side, and pronounced dysphagia (when swallowing is difficult or painful). It resembles rabies and is often fatal.

chronic tetanus
1. A latent infection in a healed wound, reactivated on opening the wound.
2. A form of tetanus in which the onset and progress of the disease are slower and more prolonged and the symptoms are less severe.
cryptogenic tetanus
Tetanus in which the site of the entry of the organism is not known.
descending tetanus
Tetanus in which muscle spasms occur first in the head and neck and later are manifested in other muscles of the body.
1. A laryngeal spasm of the throat with a temporary stutter.
2. A stammering with difficulties in pronouncing "guttural" sounds due to spasm of the laryngeal muscles.
local tetanus
Tetanus marked by spasticity of a group of muscles near the wound.

Trismus, tonic contraction of jaw muscles, is usually absent.

1. Relating to tetanus or to the sustained contraction of the muscles that is characteristic of tetanus.
2. Capable of producing muscle spasms; such as, those seen in tetanus.
Causing tetanus or tetaniform spasms.
The production or condition of tetanus (physiological tetanus, a state of sustained muscular contraction without periods of relaxation caused by repetitive stimulation of the motor nerve trunk at frequencies so high that individual muscle twitches are fused and cannot be distinguished from one another, also called tonic spasm and tetany).
1. An acute infectious disease of the central nervous system caused by an exotoxin of the tetanus bacillus.
2. A sustained muscular contraction resulting from a rapid series of nerve impulses.
3. An acute and serious infection of the central nervous system caused by bacterial infection of open wounds; spasms of the jaw and laryngeal muscles may occur during the late stages.

The disease manifests by the onset of extremely painful muscular contractions that usually begin gradually but may appear suddenly.

    The contractions may be of brief duration or last some weeks.

  • The first sign is stiffness of the jaw, esophageal muscles, and some of the muscles of the neck.
  • The jaws become rigidly fixed (trismus), the voice is altered, and the muscles of the face contract, producing a wild excited expression and a combination of bitter laughter and crying.
  • The muscles of the back and extremities become tetanic.
  • The paroxysms are reflex and are excited by noises, currents of air, and irritation of bedclothes.
  • The person's temperature usually rises and may become extremely high.
  • The patient also suffers from hunger, thirst, and lack of sleep.
  • The mind is usually clear.
  • This disease is usually fatal, with the patient expiring from asphyxia or exhaustion.
tetanus neonatorum
Tetanus of very young infants, usually resulting from the infection of the navel caused by using non-sterile techniques in ligating the umbilical cord.
A nervous disorder marked by intermittent tonic spasms that are usually paroxysmal and involve the extremities.

It may occur in infants; especially, newborns in intensive care units. High risk infants include premature newborns of diabetic mothers and those who have had perinatal asphyxia (suffocation as a result of physical blockage of the airway or inhalation of toxic gases, causing a lack of oxygen and unconsciousness).