leech

leech is a topic covered in the Taber's Medical Dictionary.

To view the entire topic, please or purchase a subscription.

Nursing Central is the award-winning, complete mobile solution for nurses and students. Look up information on diseases, tests, and procedures; then consult the database with 5,000+ drugs or refer to 65,000+ dictionary terms. Explore these free sample topics:

Nursing Central

-- The first section of this topic is shown below --

(lēch )

A bloodsucking water worm, belonging to the phylum Annelida, class Hirudinea, parasitic on humans and other animals. Leeches are a source of hirudin, an anticoagulant secreted by their buccal glands. In addition to hirudin, leech saliva contains several active substances including inhibitors of platelet aggregation, that have been synthesized for use as anticoagulants in clotting disorders.
SEE: Annelida; SEE: hirudin; SEE: Hirudinea
Leeches were used as a means of bloodletting, common until the mid-19th century but now almost completely abandoned.

-- To view the remaining sections of this topic, please or purchase a subscription --