Medical Abbreviations: Useful List of Medical Abbreviations in English 1

Medical Abbreviations: Useful List of Medical Abbreviations in English

Medical Abbreviations in English! Why do we use medical abbreviations? This article introduces a big list of medical abbreviations in English with ESL infographics.

Medical Abbreviations

In medicine, there are hundreds of complicated technical terms. Some of them are spelled in such a difficult and strange way that it’s almost impossible to write them correctly from the first try; some aren’t even English. In addition, many terms are used so often that there just has to be a way to find a shortened way of writing them. These are just a few of the reasons why there are so many medical abbreviations.

Medical abbreviations save doctors a lot of their valuable time. Now that they only have to write a couple of letters instead of full long words, they can write prescriptions, complete patient charts, and generally communicate about topics related to medicine much faster. For example, instead of writing “No known drug allergies”, a doctor only needs to write NKDA to be understood by his colleagues.

It’s very important to know at least the most common medical abbreviations because if you don’t, you won’t be able to understand a prescription that a doctor gives you. This can lead to you taking the wrong amount of medicine, at the wrong time, too often or not often enough, and this might have tragic consequences.

Medical Abbreviations List

Here is the list of commonly used medical abbreviations in English.

  • A&W – alive and well
  • AA – amino acid
  • ABD – abdomen
  • ABG – arterial blood gas
  • ABX – antibiotics
  • AC – before meals
  • AD – right ear
  • Ad lib – at will, as desired
  • ADHD – attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • ADM – admission, admitted
  • AF – acid-fast
  • AIDS – acquired immune deficiency syndrome
  • AL – left ear
  • ALS – advanced life support
  • AU – both ears
  • AXR – abdominal x-ray
  • BAL – blood alcohol level
  • BC – birth control
  • BE – barium enema
  • BID – bis in dies (twice a day)
  • BM – bowel movement
  • BMD – bone mass density
  • BMI – body mass index
  • BMR – basic metabolic rate
  • BMT – bone marrow transplant
  • BP – blood pressure
  • BRP – bathroom privileges
  • Bx – biopsy
  • C – centigrade, celsius
  • C/F – chills, fever
  • C/O – complains of
  • C/S – cesarean section
  • CA – cancer
  • CAB – carotid artery bruit
  • CABG – coronary artery bypass graft
  • CAD – coronary artery disease
  • CAP – capsule
  • CBC – complete blood count
  • CBD – common bile duct
  • CBF – cerebral blood flow
  • CF – cystic fibrosis
  • CFT – complement fixation testing
  • CO2 – carbon dioxide
  • COLD – chronic obstructive lung disease
  • CPR – cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • CV – cardiovascular
  • CVA – cerebral vascular accident (stroke)
  • CXR – chest x-ray
  • CHD – congenital heart disease
  • CHF – congestive heart failure
  • D/C – discontinue or discharge
  • DNR – do not resuscitate
  • DO – disorder
  • DOB – date of birth
  • DOT – directly observed therapy
  • DTR – deep tendon reflex
  • DVT – deep venous thrombosis
  • Dx – diagnosis
  • EBL – estimated blood loss
  • EBV – Epstein-Barr virus
  • EC – eye contact
  • ECASA – enteric coated acetylsalicylic acid
  • ECC – emergency cardiac care
  • EDC – estimated date of confinement
  • EDD – estimated delivery date
  • EGA – estimated gestational age
  • EGC – early gastric cancer
  • ER – emergency room
  • F – fahrenheit
  • F/C – fever, chills
  • FAS – fetal alcohol syndrome
  • FB – foreign body
  • FEF – forced expiratory flow
  • FHR – fetal heart rate
  • FL – femur length
  • FM – fetal movement
  • FNA – fine needle aspiration
  • FNF – finger to nose
  • FOBT – fecal occult blood testing
  • FRC – functional residual capacity
  • FROM – free range of motion
  • FSE – fetal scalp electrode
  • FSH – follicle stimulating hormone
  • FT – full term
  • GLT – glucose loading test
  • GSW – gunshot wound
  • GTT – drop-liquid measurement
  • GTT – glucose tolerance test
  • GU – genitourinary
  • GI – gastrointestinal
  • H/O – history of
  • H20 – water
  • HA – headache
  • HA – hemolytic anemia
  • HAV – hepatitis A virus
  • Hb – hemoglobin
  • HBV – hepatitis B virus
  • HC – head circumference
  • HCV – hepatitis C virus
  • HDL – high density lipoprotein
  • HDV – hepatitis D virus
  • HR – heart rate or hour
  • HS – hour of sleep (bedtime)
  • HTN – hypertension
  • I&D – incision and drainage
  • I&O – intake and output
  • IBD – inflammatory bowel disease
  • IBS – inflammatory bowel syndrome
  • IBW – ideal body weight
  • ICP – intracranial pressure
  • ICU – intensive care unit
  • ID – infectious diseases
  • IM – intramuscular
  • In vitro – in the laboratory
  • In vivo – in the body
  • IP – inpatient
  • IQ – intelligence quotient
  • IU – international units
  • IUI – intrauterine insemination
  • IUP – intrauterine pregnancy
  • IUPC – intrauterine pressure catheter
  • IV – intravenous
  • IVF – in vitro fertilization
  • IVIG – intravenous immune globulin
  • IVP – intravenous push
  • JCV – JC virus
  • JRA – juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
  • JVD – jugular venous distension
  • KS – Kaposi sarcoma
  • KUB – kidney, ureter, bladder (x-ray)
  • LAD – leukocyte adhesion deficiency
  • LBP – lower back pain
  • LBW – low birth weight
  • LIH – left inguinal hernia
  • LLL – left lower lobe
  • LLQ – left lower quadrant
  • LOF – loss of fluid
  • LUL – left upper lobe
  • LUQ – left upper quadrant
  • LV – left ventricle
  • MCO – managed care organization
  • MD – muscular dystrophy
  • MDD – maximum daily dose
  • MG – milligram
  • ML – milliliter
  • MR – mental retardation
  • MS – multiple sclerosis
  • MVA – motor vehicle accident
  • N/V – nausea vomiting
  • NKDA – no known drug allergies
  • NPO – nothing by mouth
  • NTG – nitroglycerin
  • NVD – normal vaginal delivery
  • GTT – oral glucose tolerance test
  • O2 – oxygen
  • OCD – obsessive compulsive disorder
  • OCP – oral contraceptive pill
  • OD – right eye
  • ON – optic neuritis
  • OPD – outpatient department
  • OPV – oral polio vaccine
  • OS – left eye
  • OSA – obstructive sleep apnea
  • OTC – over the counter
  • OU – both eyes
  • PA or PT – patient
  • PAP – pulmonary artery pressure
  • PC – after meals
  • PCN – penicillin
  • PCP – primary care physician
  • PD – Parkinson’s disease
  • PE – pulmonary embolism
  • PEEP – positive end expiratory pressure
  • PID – pelvic inflammatory disease
  • PIH – pregnancy induced hypertension
  • PKD – polycystic kidney disease
  • PMS – premenstrual syndrom
  • PNS – peripheral nervous system
  • PNV – pre-natal vitamins
  • PO – per os (by mouth)
  • PRN – as needed
  • PT – physical therapy
  • PTSD – post-tramatic stress disorder
  • q2h – every 2 hours
  • q3h – every 3 hours
  • qam – every morning
  • qd – once a day
  • qh – once every hour
  • qhs – at bedtime
  • qid – four times a day
  • qod – every other day
  • RA – rheumatoid arthritis
  • RA – right atrium
  • RAD – reactive airway disease
  • RBC – red blood cell
  • RDS – respiratory distress syndrome
  • REM – rapid eye movements
  • RF – risk factor
  • RHD – rheumatic heart disease
  • Rx – treatment
  • RXN – reaction
  • S – without
  • S/S – signs and symptoms
  • SAB – spontaneous abortion
  • SBO – small bowel obstruction
  • SBS – shaken baby syndrome
  • SOB – shortness of breath
  • STAT – immediately
  • STD – sexually transmitted disease
  • SX – symptoms
  • T – temperature
  • T&C – type and cross (blood)
  • TAB – tablet
  • TAH – total abdominal hysterectomy
  • TB – tuberculosis
  • TBI – traumatic brain injury
  • TGA – transient global amnesia
  • TIW – three times a week
  • UC – ulcerative colitis
  • UE – upper extremity
  • UO – urine output
  • URI – upper respiratory infection
  • USOH – usual state of health
  • UTI – urinary tract infection
  • VB – vaginal bleeding
  • VS – vital signs
  • VSS – vital signs stable
  • WB – whole blood
  • WBC – white blood cell
  • WNL – within normal limits
  • WT – weight

Medical Abbreviations | Infographics

Medical Abbreviations

Medical Abbreviations

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