Common Medical Abbreviations

A.A.R.O.M. active assistive range of motion
AAC augmentative and alternative communication
A.B.G arterial blood gas
a.c. before meals
A/C assist control
ADA Diet American Diabetes Association Diet
A.D.L. activities of daily living
A.Fib. atrial fibrillation
AKA above-knee amputation or above-the-knee amputation
ALS amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
AMA against medical advice
A&O alert and oriented
A/P anterior–posterior
A.R.O.M. active range of motion
ASAP as soon as possible
ASD autism spectrum disorder
ASL American Sign Language
b.i.d. twice a day
BKA below-knee amputation
B/L bilateral
B.L.BS bilateral breath sounds
BMR basal metabolism rate
BP blood pressure
BR bed rest
bs bowel sounds
BS breath sounds
B/S bedside
bx biopsy
C Celsius, centigrade
C1, C2, etc. first cervical vertebrae, second cervical vertebrae, etc.
CA cardiac arrest
CA, ca cancer, carcinoma
CABG coronary artery bypass graft
CAD coronary artery disease
cal calorie
cath catheter
CBC complete blood count
cc cubic centimeter
CC chief complaint
CHF congestive heart failure, chronic heart failure
CCU coronary care unit
CHI closed head injury
cm centimeter
CMT continuing medication and treatment
CN cranial nerve
CNA certified nursing assistant
CNS central nervous system
c/o complains of
COTA certified occupational therapy assistant
cont continue(d)
COPD chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
CP cerebral palsy
CPAP continuous positive airway pressure
CPR cardiopulmonary resuscitation
CRF chronic renal failure
CRNP certified registered nurse practitioner
CSF cerebrospinal fluid
CT computerized tomography
CV cardiovascular
CVA cerebral vascular accident
CXR chest X-ray
d day
d/c discontinue
DC discharge
DM diabetes mellitus
DNK do not know
DNKA did not keep appointment
DNR do not resuscitate
DNT did not test
DOA dead on arrival
DOB date of birth
DOE dyspnea on exertion
d/t due to
Dx diagnosis
ECC, EKG electrocardiogram
ED emergency department
EEG electroencephalogram
EENT eyes, ears, nose, throat
EMG electromyogram
ENT ears, nose, throat
ER emergency room
ETOH ethanol (alcohol)
exam examination
ext external, exterior
F Fahrenheit
FH family history
fib fibrillation
fl, fld fluid
FOB foot of bed
f/u follow-up
FWB full weight bearing
Fx fracture
GB gall bladder
GCS Glasgow Coma Scale
GE gastroenterology
GERD gastroesophageal reflux disease
G/E gastroenteritis
gen general
gest. gestation
G.I. gastrointestinal
GNA geriatric nursing assistant
gluc glucose
GP general practitioner, general paralysis
GSW gunshot wound
GTT glucose tolerance test
Gt. tr. gait training
GYN gynecology
h hour
H/A headache
HAV hepatitis A virus
Hb. hemoglobin
HB heart block
HBP high blood pressure
h.d. at bedtime
HEENT head, eyes, ears, nose, throat
HEP home exercise program
H2O water
h/o history of
HOB head of bed
H&P history and physical
HR heart rate
HTN hypertension
HVD hypertensive vascular disease
Hx history
Hz hertz (cycles/second)
ICCU intensive coronary care unit
ICP intracranial pressure
ICU intensive care unit
imp. impression
incr. increased(ing)
inf infusion, inferior
inspire inspiration, inspiratory
int. internal
I&O intake and output
IPPB intermittent positive pressure breathing
irreg. irregular
IV intravenous(ly)
J, jt. joint
K potassium, kidney
L left, liver, liter, lower, light, lumbar
L2, L3 second lumbar vertebrae, third lumbar vertebrae
lab laboratory
lac. laceration
lat. lateral
LBW low birth rate
L.E. lower extremities
liq. liquid
L.O.C. loss of consciousness, level of consciousness, laxative of choice
LOS length of stay
LP lumbar puncture
LPN licensed practical nurse
LUE left upper extremity
Lx larynx
L&W living and well
m, M married, male, mother, murmur, meter, mass, molar
max. maximum, maxillary
MBC maximum breathing capacity
MBSS modified barium swallow study
MCA middle cerebral artery
MD muscular dystrophy
mdnt. midnight
med. medicine
mets. metastasis
MG myasthenia gravis
MI myocardial infarction
min minute
MICU medical intensive care unit
mod moderate
MRI magnetic resonance imaging
MRSA methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
mss massage
MVA motor vehicle accident
n. nerve
Na sodium
NaCl sodium chloride
NAD no abnormality detected
NAD no apparent distress
neg. negative
neur. neurology
NG nasogastric
NIC neonatal intensive care
NICU neonatal intensive care unit
NKA no known allergies
no. number
NOS not otherwise specified
NPO nothing by mouth
NSA no specific abnormality
NST nonstress test
N&V nausea and vomiting
NVD nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
N&W normal and well
NWB non–weight bearing
NYD not yet diagnosed
o none, without
O oral
O2 oxygen
O2 cap. oxygen capacity
O2 sat. oxygen saturation
OA osteoarthritis
OB, OBG obstetrics
OB/GYN obstetrics and gynecology
Obs observation
OBS organic brain syndrome
ODD oppositional defiant disorder
O/E on examination
OH occupational history
OHD organic heart disease
oint. ointment
O.M. otitis media
O.M.E. otitis media with effusion
OOB, oob out of bed
Op. operation
ot. ear
Oto otolaryngology
OTC over-the-counter (pharmaceuticals)
O.T. occupational therapy, old tuberculin
OR operating room
PA physician’s assistant
p&a percussion and auscultation
PACU post anesthesia care unit
PAF paroxysmal atrial fibrillation
palp. palpate, palpated, palpable
Path pathology
PA view posterior–anterior view on X-ray
p/c, p.c. after meals
PD Parkinson’s disease
pdr. powder
PDN private duty nurse
PE physical exam, pulmonary embolism, pressure equalizer (tubes)
Ped. pediatrics
PEEP positive end-expiratory pressure
PEG percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy
PET positron emission tomography
PH past history
pharm pharmacy
PHYS. physical, physiology
PI present illness, pulmonary insufficiency
PICU pulmonary intensive care unit
PID pelvic inflammatory disease
plts. platelets
P.M. afternoon, postmortem
PMH past medical history
PMR physical medicine and rehabilitation
PN poorly nourished, practical nurse
P&N psychiatry and neurology
PNA pneumo, pneumonia
PNI peripheral nerve injury
PNX pneuomothorax
p.o. by mouth
p.o.d. postoperative day
pos. positive
post. posterior
POSTOP. postoperative
pot. or potass. potassium
PR proctology
pre-op preoperative
prep. prepare for
p.r.m. according to circumstances
p.r.n., PRN as often as necessary, as needed
prod. productive
Prog. prognosis
PROM passive range of motion
pron. pronator, pronation
prosth. prosthesis
PSH past surgical history
Psych. psychiatry
pt., Pt. patient
PT, P.T. physical therapy
PTA prior to admission
PTA pulse posterior tibial artery pulse
PUD peptic ulcer disease
PVD peripheral vascular disease
PVT previous trouble
PWB% partial weight bearing with percent
Px, PX physical examination
q every
q.h. every hour
q.i.d. four times a day
qt. quart
quad. quadriplegic
R, r right
R. rub, rectal temperature
RA rheumatoid arthritis, right atrium
rad. radial
r.a.m. rapid alternating movements
R.A.S. right arm sitting
RAtx radiation therapy
rbc/RBC red blood cell, red blood count
RCA right coronary artery
RCU respiratory care unit
RD respiratory distress
RDS respiratory distress syndrome
RE reconditioning exercise
reg. regular
rehab. rehabilitation
resp. respiratory, respirations
RF rheumatic fever
RLAS Rancho Los Amigos Scale
R to L&A react to light and accommodation
RLE right lower extremity
RN registered nurse
RND radical neck dissection
RO, R/O rule out
ROM range of motion, rupture of membranes, right otitis media
ROS review of symptoms
Rt. right
RT radiation therapy, respiratory therapy
RUE right upper extremity
RV residual volume
RW rolling walker
Rx therapy, prescription
s without
S sensation, sensitive, serum
Sa. saline
s.c. subcutaneous(ly)
Scc squamous cell carcinoma
SCCA squamous cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma antigen
SCD sudden cardiac death
SCI spinal cord injury
schiz schizophrenia
SCU special care unit
sec second
Sens. sensory, sensation
sep. separated
SGA small for gestational age without correction (without glasses)
SH social history
SI stroke index
sib. sibling
SICU surgical intensive care unit
SIDS sudden infant death syndrome
skel. skeletal
Sl. slightly
SL under the tongue
SLP speech-language pathologist
sm small
SNF skilled nursing facility
SOAP subjective, objective, assessment, plan
SOB shortness of breath
S/P, s/p status post (previous condition)
sp. cd. spinal cord
spec. specimen
sp. fl. spinal fluid
sp&H speech and hearing
spin. spine, spinal
spont. spontaneous
s/s signs and symptoms
SS social service
ST speech therapy
stat., STAT immediately
STD sexually transmitted disease
subcut. subcutaneous
subling. sublingual
sup. superior
supin. supination
surg. surgery, surgical
Sx symptoms
sys. system
Syst. systolic
Sz seizure
T temperature
T&A tonsils and adenoids, tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy
tab. tablet
TAH total abdominal hysterectomy
TB tuberculosis
TBI traumatic brain injury
temp temperature
THERAP. therapy, therapeutic
THR total hip replacement
TIA transient ischemic attack
TKR total knee replacement
TNM tumor, nodes, and metastases
TO telephone order
TPN total parenteral nutrition
TPR temperature, pulse, respiration
tr trace
trach tracheostomy
tsp. teaspoon
Tx treatment, traction
U/A urinalysis
UCD, UCHD usual childhood diseases
UG upward gaze
Unilat. unilateral
u/o under observation
Ur. urine
URD upper respiratory disease
URI upper respiratory infection
Urol. urology
u/s, US ultrasound
UTI urinary tract infection
V vein
VA visual acuity
vag vagina, vaginal
VC, vit.cap. vital capacity
VD venereal disease
vent. ventilator
vert. vertical
VF visual fields, ventricular fibrillation
VFSS videofluoroscopic swallowing study
Via by way of
vit. vitamin
VN visiting nurse
VO verbal order
VS, V.S. vital signs
w, wk week
W/C, wheelchair
WBT weight bearing tolerance
WFL within functional limits
w/n within
WNL within normal limits
WP whirlpool
wt. weight
w/u workup
x times
y.o. years old
yrs. years

This list is not exhaustive. Note that some abbreviations overlap (e.g., CA could mean "cardiac arrest" or "carcinoma"). Please avoid using abbreviations if their meaning is unclear.

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