Definitive List of Medical Abbreviations

It can be confusing trying to follow a conversation between medical professionals, and can often times feel as though they are speaking a completely different language. Something as simple as “HA” could leave you guessing, and wondering if you might be dying, when in reality your medical professional was just noting you have a headache. It’s professional jargon that can be decoded.

Whether you’re just starting medical school or you are a patient wanting to understand what your doctor is saying about you, this is a definitive list of medical abbreviations meant to help you understand more of the jargon used within the healthcare industry.

  • a.c.: Before meals. Meaning take medicine before meals.
  • AKA: Above knee amputation.
  • Anuric: Not producing urine.
  • BAC: Blood alcohol concentration.
  • BBT: Basal body temperature.
  • BCP: Birth control pill.
  • bid: Two times daily. Meaning take medicine twice a day.
  • BKA: Below knee amputation.
  • BM: Bowel movement.
  • BMT: Bone marrow transplant.
  • BMP: Basic metabolic panel.
  • BP: Blood Pressure.
  • BPM: Beats per minute.
  • BW: Birth weight, or body weight.
  • Bx: Biopsy.
  • Cath: Catheter.
  • Cap: Capsule.
  • CBC: Complete blood count.
  • CBT: Cognitive behavioral therapy.
  • CC: Chief complaint. A patient’s number one concern.
  • CCU: Critical care unit.
  • C&S: Culture and sensitivity. A test to detect infection.
  • CMT: Certified medical technician.
  • CNS: Central nervous system.
  • COPD: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Slow progression of an obstruction of airflow in or out of the lungs.
  • CP: Cerebral palsy, or cleft palate.
  • CVA: Cerebrovascular accident. A stroke.
  • CXR: Chest x-ray.
  • DBP: Diastolic blood pressure.
  • DC: Discontinue, or discharge.
  • DJD: Degenerative joint disease.
  • DNR: Do not resuscitate.
  • DOA: Dead on arrival.
  • DOE: Dyspnea on exertion. Shortness of breath.
  • DTR: Deep tendon reflexes. This is the test doctors do when they hit their patient’s knee with a small rubber hammer.
  • DVT: Deep venous thrombosis. Blood clot.
  • FUO: Fever of unknown origin.
  • ECF: Extended care facility.
  • EENT: Ear, eye, nose, throat.
  • EMS: Emergency medical services.
  • ER: Emergency room.
  • FX: Fracture.
  • GI: Gastrointestinal.
  • GYN: Gynecology.
  • HA: Headache.
  • HAV: Hepatitis A Virus.
  • HBV: Hepatitis B Virus.
  • HCP: Health care professional.
  • HF: Heart failure.
  • hgb: Hemoglobin.
  • HIV: Human Immunodeficiency Virus.
  • h/o: History of.
  • H&P: History and physical.
  • HR: Heart rate.
  • HRT: Hormone replacement therapy.
  • h.s.: Bedtime. Meaning take medicine at bedtime.
  • IBW: Ideal body weight.
  • ICU: Intensive care unit.
  • I&D: Incision & drainage.
  • I&O: Intake and output.
  • IM: Intramuscular.
  • IMP: Impression. This is a summary of a patient’s condition by the healthcare practitioner.
  • IU: International units.
  • JT: Joint.
  • K: Potassium. An essential electrolyte, that’s commonly monitored in ICU.
  • KVO: Keep vein open.
  • LBP: Lower back pain.
  • LBW: Low birth weight.
  • L&D: Labor and delivery.
  • LFT: Liver function test.
  • LMP: Last menstrual period.
  • N/V: Nausea, or vomiting.
  • OPD: Outpatient department.
  • OTC: Over the counter.
  • P: Pulse.
  • p.c.: After meals. Meaning take medicine after meals.
  • PRN: As needed.
  • RA: Rheumatoid arthritis.
  • RBC: Red blood cell.
  • R/O: Ruled out.
  • ROS: Review of systems. An overall review of regarding every organ system.
  • SOB: Shortness of breath.
  • T: Temperature.
  • TB: Tuberculosis.
  • tid: Three times daily. Meaning take medicine three times a day.
  • THR: Total hip replacement.
  • TKR: Total knee replacement.
  • UTI: Urinary Tract Infection.
  • VSS: Vital signs are stable.
  • WT: Weight.

For even more medical abbreviations you can explore the sources listed below.

Sources:

https://goo.gl/9Ckkjg

https://goo.gl/vWFL5g

https://goo.gl/QAioON