List of Medical Abbreviations

Medical List of Abbreviations

In healthcare, medical abbreviations are a vital shorthand for professionals but can be confusing for outsiders. This article demystifies these abbreviations, making them accessible to everyone. It’s beneficial not only for medical practitioners and students but also for patients, helping them understand medical notes and communicate better with healthcare providers. Covering common terms in prescriptions to complex ones in medical records, this guide aims to enhance clarity and knowledge in healthcare communication.

What is abbreviation?

Acronyms are abbreviations that have become so integral to our language that they have become part of common English. English is a language that has evolved rapidly over the last few centuries and as the world has modernized, new terms have been coined and old terms have fallen out of favor.

Shortening words can be a challenge, especially when it comes to writing in English. English has many abbreviations that come from different languages such as the Latin abbreviations, like U.S and S.A for the United States and Spain respectively; or from other languages such as the British abbreviations for big things like a chip, which is short for computer chip or laptop.

What are medical Abbreviations?

The abbreviations that are used by the doctors, nurses, or other medical professional people to write a description known as medical abbreviations.

A to Z Medical Abbreviations List

Medical abbreviations can be quite extensive, but I can certainly provide a selection of common ones across different letters of the alphabet. This list won’t be exhaustive but should give you a good overview of some commonly used medical abbreviations:

AD  autonomic dysreflexia
AV  atrioventricular
ASD  atrial septal defect
AF  atrial fibrillation or afebrile
ASHD  atherosclerotic heart disease
ASCVD  atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease
ASAP  as soon as possible
ad lib  as much as needed
A-VO2  arteriovenous oxygen
A-V  arteriovenous
ABG  arterial blood gas
AS  aortic stenosis
AI  aortic insufficiency
ANA  antinuclear antibody
ADH  anti-diuretic hormone
AP  anteroposterior or abdominal
AFO  ankle foot orthosis
ASIA  American Spinal Injury Association
amb  ambulate
A-a gradient  alveolar to arterial gradient
AFP  alpha-fetoprotein
AOB  alcohol on breath
A/G  albumin/globulin ratio
ACLS  advanced cardiac life support
AODM  adult onset diabetes mellitus
ACTH  adrenocorticotropic hormone
ARDS  acute respiratory distress syndrome
ARF  acute renal failure
AML  acute myelogenous leukemia
ALL  acute lymphocytic leukemia
AAS  acute abdominal series
ADL  activity of daily living
AFB  acid-fast bacilli
AKA  above the knee amputation
AAA  abdominal aortic aneurysm
ABD  abdomen

bid  twice a day
BBB  bundle branch block
BRBPR  bright red blood per rectum
BCAA  branched chain amino acids
BS  bowel or breath sounds
BC  bowel care
BM  bone marrow or bowel movement
BW  body weight
BUN  blood urea nitrogen
BP  blood pressure
BX  biopsy
BOM  bilateral otitis media
bilat  bilateral
BPH  benign prostatic hypertrophy
BKA  below the knee amputation
BPM  beats per minute
BRP  bathroom privileges
BMR  basal metabolic rate
BEE  basal energy expenditure
BE  barium enema

CMV  cytomegalovirus
CF  cystic fibrosis
CVAT  CVA tenderness
C&S  culture and sensitivity
CAA  crystalline amino acids
CCV  critical closing volume
CPK  creatinine phosphokinase
CRCL  creatinine clearance
CRP  C-reactive protein
CN  cranial nerves
CAD  coronary artery disease
CABG  coronary artery bypass graft
CPAP  continuous positive airway pressure
CHF  congestive heart failure
CT  computerized tomography
CAT  computerized axial tomography
CBC  complete blood count
C/O  complaining of
CCU  clean catch urine or cardiac care unit
CRF  chronic renal failure
COPD  chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
COLD  chronic obstructive lung disease
CML  chronic myelogenous leukemia
CGL  chronic granulocytic leukemia
CC  chief complaint
CXR  chest X-ray
CP  chest pain or cerebral palsy
CSW  certified social worker
CSF  cerebrospinal fluid
CVP  central venous pressure
CNS  central nervous system
CPR  cardiopulmonary resuscitation
CO  cardiac output
CI  cardiac index
CHO  carbohydrate
CBG  capillary blood gas
CA  cancer
Ca  calcium

DOE  dyspnea on exertion
DNR  do not resuscitate
DIP  distal interphalangeal joint
DAW  dispense as written
DC  discontinue or discharge
DPT  diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus
D&C  dilation and curettage
DDx  differential diagnosis
DAT  diet as tolerated
DPL  diagnostic peritoneal lavage
DX  diagnosis
DKA  diabetic ketoacidosis
DM  diabetes mellitus
DI  diabetes insipidus
DNA  deoxyribonucleic acid
DJD  degenerative joint disease
DVT  deep venous thrombosis
DTR  deep tendon reflexes
dL  deciliter
DOA  dead on arrival
D5W  5% dextrose in water

EOM  extraocular muscles
ECD  external continence device
EUA  examination under anesthesia
ETOH  ethanol
EBL  estimated blood loss
EFAD  essential fatty acid deficiency
EAA  essential amino acids
ESR  erythrocyte sedimentation rate
ED  erectile dysfunction
ETT  endotracheal tube
ET  endotracheal
EMG  Electromyogram
ECT  electroconvulsive therapy
ECG  electrocardiogram
ENT  ears, nose, and throat

FRC  functional residual capacity
FES  functional electrical stimulation
FFP  fresh frozen plasma
Fx  fracture
FVC  forced vital capacity
FEV  forced expiratory volume
FU  follow-up
FUO  fever of unknown origin
FBS  fasting blood sugar
FTT  failure to thrive

GSW  gun shot wound
gr  grain; 1 grain = 65mg
GXT  graded exercise tolerance
GC  gonorrhea
GTT  glucose tolerance test
GFR  glomerular filtration rate
GU  genitourinary
GETT  general by endotracheal tube
GI  gastrointestinal
gt or gtt  drops

HTN  hypertension
HIV  human immunodeficiency virus
HCG  human chorionic gonadotropin
HPI  history of present illness
HO  history of
Hx  history
HLA  histocompatibility locus antigen
HPF  high power field
HDL  high density lipoprotein
HBP  high blood pressure
HSV  herpes simplex virus
HSM  hepatosplenomegaly
HJR  hepatojugular reflex
HAA  hepatitis B surface antigen
HAV  hepatitis A virus
Hgb  hemoglobin
HCT  hematocrit
HR  heart rate
HA  headache
HEENT  head, eyes, ears, nose, throat
HOB  head of bed
HS  at bedtime

IVP  intravenous pyelogram
INF  intravenous nutritional fluid
IV  intravenous
IM  intramuscular
IT  interthecal
IPPB  intermittent positive pressure breathing
IMV  intermittent mandatory ventilation
ICS  intercostal space
ICU  intensive care unit
I&O  intake and output
IRDM  insulin resistant diabetes mellitus
IDDM  insulin dependent diabetes mellitus
ID  infectious disease or identification
IRBBB  incomplete right bundle branch block
I&D  incision and drainage
IG  immunoglobulin
ITP  idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura
IHSS  idiopathic hypertropic subaortic stenosis

JVD  jugular venous distention
JODM  juvenile onset diabetes mellitus

KAFO  knee ankle foot orthosis
KT  kinesio therapy or kinesiotherapist
KUB  kidneys, ureters, bladder
KVO  keep vein open
KOR  keep open rate

LE  lupus erythematosus
LP  lumbar puncture
LDL  low density lipoprotein
LPN  licensed practical nurse
LVH  left ventricular hypertrophy
LVEDP  left ventricular end diastolic pressure
LV  left ventricle
LUL  left upper quadrant
LLL  left lower lobe
LIH  left inguinal hernia
LBBB  left bundle branch block
LAD  left axis deviation or left anterior descending
LAE  left atrial enlargement
LAHB  left anterior hemiblock
L  left
LNMP  last normal menstrual period
LMP  last menstrual period
LDH  lactate dehydrogenase

MI  myocardial infarction or mitral insufficiency
MVI  multivitamin injection
MVA  motor vehicle accident
MAO  monoamine oxidase
mmol  millimole
mL  milliliter
MLE  midline episiotomy
MSSA  methicillin-sensitive staph aureus
MRSA  methicillin resistant staph aureus
MUSE  medicated urethral system erection
MAST  medical antishock trousers
MMR  measles, mumps, rubella
MCV  mean cell volume
MCHC  mean cell hemoglobin concentration
MCH  mean cell hemoglobin
MAP  mean arterial pressure
MVV  maximum voluntary ventilation
MMEF  maximal mid expiratory flow
MBT  maternal blood type
MRI  magnetic resonance imaging

NMR  nuclear magnetic resonance
NPO  nothing by mouth
NSR  normal sinus rhythm
NSAID  non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
NIDDM  non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus
NRM  no regular medications
NKDA  no known drug allergies
NKA  no known allergies
NED  no evidence of recurrent disease
NAS  no added salt
NAD  no active disease
NCV  nerve conduction velocity
NT  nasotracheal
NG  nasogastric
ng  nanogram

OD  overdose or right eye
OOB  out of bed
OM  otitis media
OPV  oral polio vaccine
OCG  oral cholecystogram
OR  operating room
OB  obstetrics
OS  left eye
OU  both eyes

PPD  purified protein derivative
PS  pulmonic stenosis
PI  pulmonic insufficiency disease
PFT  pulmonary function tests
PCWP  pulmonary capillary wedge pressure
PAP  pulmonary artery pressure
PT  prothrombin time, or physical therapy
PSA  prostate-specific antigen
PPMS  primary progressive multiple sclerosis
PMH  previous medical history
PVC  premature ventricular contraction
PAC  premature atrial contraction
PTSD  post-traumatic stress disorder
PP  postprandial or pulsus paradoxus
PPS  post-polio syndrome
POD  post-op day
PA  posteroanterior
PVR  post voiding residual
PEEP  positive end expiratory pressure
PMN  polymorphonuclear leukocyte
PMI  point of maximal impulse
pg  picogram
PDR  physicians desk reference
PKU  phenylketonuria
PVD  peripheral vascular disease
PaO2  peripheral arterial oxygen content
PTHC  percutanous transhepatic cholangiogram
P&PD  percussion and postural drainage
PUD  peptic ulcer disease
Pt  patient
PDA  patent ductus arteriosus
PTT  partial thromboplastin time
PAT  paroxysymal atrial tachycardia
PND  paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea
PTH  parathyroid hormone
P  para
PRBC  packed red blood cells
PR  by rectum
PO  by mouth
PRN  as needed
PAO2  alveolar oxygen
PC  after eating

Qt  total cardiac output
Qs/Qt  shunt fraction
QNS  quantity not sufficient
qid  four times a day
qod  every other day
qh  every hour
qd  every day
q4h  every 4 hours, every 6 hours etc.
q  every

Rx  treatment
R/O  rule out
RVH  right ventricular hyperthrophy
RUQ  right upper quadrant
RUL  right upper lobe
RML  right middle lobe
RLQ  right lower quadrant
RLL  right lower lobe
RIH  right inguinal hernia
RBBB  right bundle branch block
RAP  right atrial pressure
RAE  right atrial enlargement
RAD  right atrial axis deviation
R  right
RNA  ribonucleic acid
RA  rheumatoid arthritis or right atrium
ROS  review of systems
RTC  return to clinic
RUG  retrograde urethogram
RPG  retrograde pyelogram
RBP  retinol-binding protein
RT  respiratory or radiation therapy
RU  resin uptake
RV  residual volume
RTA  renal tubular acidosis
RRMS  relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis
RPMS  relapsing-progressive multiple sclerosis
RRR  regular rate and rhyth
RDW  red cell distribution width
RBC  red blood cell
RDA  recommended daily allowance
ROM  range of motion
RIA  radioimmunoassay

sig  write on label
s  without
SEM  systolic ejection murmur
SLE  systemic lupus erythematous
SAA  synthetic amino acid
Sx  symptoms
SG  Swan-Ganz
S&E  sugar and acetone
sl  sublingual
SOAP  Subjective, Objective, Assessment, Plan
SQ  subcutaneous
SBE  subacute bacterial endocarditis
SVD  spontaneous vaginal delivery
SCI/D  spinal cord injury and disorder
SCI  spinal cord injury
SW  social worker
SGA  small for gestational age
SBFT  small bowel follow through
SMO  slips made out
SA  sinoatrial
SOB  shortness of breath
SBS  short bowel syndrome
SGPT  serum glutamic-pyruvic transaminase
SGOT  serum glutamic-oxaloacetic transaminase
SGGT  serum gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase
SCr  serum creatinine
SPMS  secondary preogressive multiple sclerosis
ss  one-half
STAT  immediately

T&H  type and hold
T&C  type and cross
tw  twice a week
TURBT  TUR bladder tumors
TB  tuberculosis
TU  tuberculin units
TOPV  trivalent oral polio vaccine
Tx  treatment, transplant
TURP  transurethral resection of prostate
TUR  transurethral resection
TIA  transient ischemic attack
TVH  total vaginal hysterectomy
TPN  total parenteral nutrition
TLC  total lung capacity
TIBC  total iron binding capacity
TBG  total binding globulin
TAH  total abdominal hysterectomy
TNTC  too numerous to count
TKO  to keep open
TV  tidal volume
TSH  thyroid stimulating hormone
TTP  thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura
TT  thrombin time
tid  three times a day
Td  tetanus-diphtheria toxoid
TIG  tetanus immune globulin
TMJ  temporo mandibular joint
TO  telephone order

ud  use as directed
UUN  urinary urea nitrogen
UTI  urinary tract infection
UA  urinalysis
UAC  uric acid
URI  upper respiratory infection
UGI  upper gastrointestinal
US  ultrasound

VCUG  voiding cystourethrogram
VSS  vital signs stable
VC  vital capacity
VO  verbal or voice order
V/Q  ventilation
VMA  vanillymadelic acid

WPW  Wolf-Parkinson-White
WNL  within normal limits
WB  whole blood
WM  white male
WF  white female
WBC  white blood cell or count
WN  well nourished
WD  well developed

XRT  X-ray therapy

yo  years old

ZE  Zollinger-Ellison

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