Common Medical Abbreviations and Acronyms

Here is a list of common medical abbreviations and acronyms. Use the green search box at the bottom of the page or the alphabet below to find a specific one more quickly.

You can also press the Ctrl and F keys on your Windows computer keyboard, or Command and F keys on your Mac keyboard. This will open a text box where you can type the letters. Then press Enter/Return on your keyboard to be brought to that word or abbreviation.

Simply click the blue underlined terms to learn more about them. Use the comment section at the bottom of the page to name one that is missing. I will be adding more to the list periodically.

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z


A/O - alert and oriented

A&P - assessment and plan

AAA - abdominal aortic aneurism

ABCDE - airway, breathing, circulation, disability, exposure

ABD - abdominal

ABG - arterial blood gas

ABI - ankle brachial index

ABLA - acute blood loss anemia

Abn - abnormal

ABX - antibiotics

AC - before meals

AC/HS - before meals / at bedtime

ACDF - anterior cervical discectomy and fusion

ACE - angiotensin converting enzyme

ACLS - advanced cardiac life support

Ack - acknowledge

ACS - acute coronary syndrome

AD - advance directive

ADAT - advance diet as tolerated

ADD - attention deficit disorder

ADE - adverse drug event

ADH - antidiuretic hormone

ADHD - attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

Ad lib - as desired

ADLs - activities of daily living

ADM - admission

ADR - adverse drug reaction

AED - automated external defibrillator, antiepileptic drug

AF - atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, amniotic fluid

A fib - atrial fibrillation

Ag - silver

AHA - American heart association

AIDET - acknowledge, introduce, duration, explanation, thank you

AIDS - acquired immune deficiency syndrome

AKA - above the knee amputation

AKI - acute kidney injury

ALB - albumin

A line - arterial line

ALL - acute lymphocytic leukemia

ALP - alkaline phosphatase

ALT - alanine aminotransferase

Amb - ambulate, ambulatory

AMI - acute myocardial infarction

AMLS - advanced medical life support

Amp - amputated, ampule

AMS - altered mental status

AMT - amount

ANA - American nurses association, antinuclear antibody

AND - allow natural death

Anes - anesthesia

ANX - anxiety

AOCD - anemia of chronic disease

AOI - area of impact

AP - apical

APP - advanced practice provider

Approx - approximately

Appy - appendectomy

APTT - activated partial thromboplastin time

ARB - angiotensin receptor blocker

ARDS - acute respiratory distress syndrome

ARI - acute respiratory infection

ARNP - advanced registered nurse practitioner

ASA - acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin)

Asp - aspiration

AST - aspartate aminotransferase

ATTN - attending

AVPU - alert voice pain unresponsive

AVR - aortic valve replacement

AX - axillary

AXR - abdominal xray


BA - baker act, barium

BAL - bronchoalveolar lavage

Baso - basophils

BB - bed bath

BBL - bed bath and linen changed

BC - blood culture

BCPI - bundled payment for care improvement

Benzo - benzodiazepine

BERT - behavioral emergency response team

Bilat - bilateral

BiPAP - bilevel positive airway pressure

BKA - below the knee amputation

BLE - bilateral lower extremities

BLS - basic life support

BM - bowel movement

BMI - body mass index

BMP - basic metabolic panel

BMR - basal metabolic rate

BON - board of nursing

BP - blood pressure

BPH - benign prostatic hyperplasia

BR - bedrest, bathroom

brady - bradycardia

BRBPR - bright red blood per rectum

BRP - bathroom privilages

BS - blood sugar, bedside

BSC - bedside commode

BTP - breakthrough pain

BUE - bilateral upper extremities

BUN - blood urea nitrogen

BX - biopsy


C - celsius

C/O - complains of

C/W - consistent with

CA - cancer, calcium

CABG - coronary artery bypass graft

CAD - coronary artery disease

CAT scan - computerized axial tomography scan

Cauc - Caucasian

CAUTI - catheter associated urinary tract infection

CBC - complete blood count

CBD - common bile duct

CBE - charting by exception

CBI - continuous bladder irrigation

CC - cubic centimeter

CCF - chest compression fraction

CCU - critical care unit

CDI - cool, dry, intact

C diff - clostridium difficile

CDSS - clinical decision support system

CE - European Conformity

CHF - congestive heart failure

CHG - chlorhexidine gluconate

CIWA - clinical institute withdrawal assessment

CIWA-Ar - clinical institute withdrawal assessment revised version

CKD - chronic kidney disease

CL - chloride

CLL - chronic lymphocytic leukemia

CM - centimeters, case management

CNA - certified nursing assistant

CNS - central nervous system

CO - cardiac output

CO2 - carbon dioxide

COPD - chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

CP - chest pain

CPAP - continuous positive airway pressure

CPK - creatinine phosphokinase

CPR - cardiopulmonary resuscitation

CPT - current procedural terminology, chest physiotherapy

CRAFFT - car, relax, alone, forget, friends, trouble

Creat - creatinine

CRNA - certified registered nurse anesthetist

CRP - c-reactive protein

CTA - computed tomography angiography

CTAB - clear to auscultation bilaterally

CT scan - computed tomography scan

CV - cardiovascular

CVA - cerebrovascular accident

CVR - cerebrovascular resistance

CX - culture

CXR - chest xray


D - day

D/T - due to

DAPT - dual antiplatelet therapy

DaPT - diphtheria, acellular pertussis, tetanus vaccine

DAR - data, action, patient response

DBP - diastolic blood pressure

DC, D/C - discharge, discontinue

DCP - discharge plan

DD - differential diagnosis, diastolic dysfunction

DDD - degenerative disc disease, daily defined doses

Def - deficiency

Defib - defibrillator

DES - drug eluting stent

DHT - dobhoff tube, decompensated heart failure

DM - diabetes mellitus

DME - durable medical equipment

DNAR - do not attempt resuscitation

DNI - do not intubate

DNR - do not resuscitate

DO - doctor of osteopathic medicine

DOA - drugs of abuse, dead on arrival

DOB - date of birth

DOH - department of health

DON - director of nursing

DOT - Department of Transportation

Dr - doctor

DRG - diagnosis-related group

DRI - dietary reference intake

DT - date

DTI - deep tissue injury

DVT - deep vein thrombosis

DX - diagnosis


EAG - employee advocacy group, estimated average glucose

ECC - emergency cardiovascular care

ECF - extracellular fluid

ECG - echocardiogram

Echo - echocardiogram

E coli - escherichia coli

ED - emergency department

EENT - eye, ear, nose, and throat

EF - ejection fraction

EGD - esophagogastroduodenoscopy (upper GI endoscopy)

EHAC - early heart attack care

EHR - electronic health record

EKG - echocardiogram

EMAR - electronic medication administration record

EMG - electromyography

EMR - electronic medical record

EMS - emergency medical services

EN - enteral nutrition

ENA - emergency nurses association

ENT - ear, nose, and throat

EOMI - extraocular movements intact

Eos - eosinophils

ER - emergency room

ERCP - endoscopic retrograde cholangio pancreatography

ESBL - extended spectrum beta lactamase

ESRD - end-stage renal disease

ESS - empty sella syndrome

ETA - estimated time of arrival

ETOH - alcohol

Eval - evaluation

Exac - exacerbation

Ex fix - external fixation

EXT - extraction


F - female, fahrenheit, french

F/U - follow up

Fe - iron

FEN - fluids, electrolytes, and nutrition

FENA - fractional excretion of sodium

FH - family history

Fib - fibula

FL OZ - fluid ounce

FNS - food and nutrition service

FOB - foot of bed, fecal occult blood

FOBT - fecal occult blood test

Freq - frequency

FT - foot

FTT - failure to thrive

FVD - fluid volume deficit

FVE - fluid volume excess

FX - fracture


G - gram, gauge

Gal - gallon

GAS - general adaptation syndrome

GCS - Glasgow coma scale, graduated compression stockings

GCSF - granulocyte colony stimulating factor

GERD - gastroesophageal reflux disease

GFR - glomerular filtration rate

GI - gastrointestinal

GIB - gastrointestinal bleed

GJ tube - gastrostomy jejunostomy tube

GLF - ground level fall

GM - gram

GTT - drop

GU - genitourinary, gastric ulcer

GYN - gynecology


H&H - hemoglobin and hematocrit

H&P - history and physical

H2O - water

HA - headache

HAI - healthcare associated infection

HBA1C - hemoglobin A1C

HBV - hepatitis b virus

HCC - hepatocellular carcinoma

HCM - hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

HCO3 - bicarbonate

HCT - hematocrit, hydrochlorothiazide

HCTZ - hydrochlorothiazide

HD - hemodialysis

HDL - high density lipoprotein

HDS - hemodynamically stable

HEENT - head, ears, eyes, nose, and throat

Hep - hepatitis

HF - heart failure

HGB - hemoglobin

HH - home health

HHC - home health care

HIPAA - Health insurance portability and accountability act

HIV - human immunodeficiency virus

HLD - hyperlipidemia

HOB - head of bed

HOH - hard of hearing

HPI - history of present illness

HR - heart rate, hour, human resources

HS - at bedtime

HSV - herpes simplex virus

HT - height

HTN - hypertension

Hum - humidified

HX - history

Hyper - above normal

Hypo - below normal


I&D - incision and drainage

I&O - intake and output

IADLs - instrumental activities of daily living

ICD - implantable cardioverter-defibrillator

ICH - intracerebral hemorrhage

ICU - intensive care unit

ID - intradermal, infectious disease

IDC - indwelling catheter

IDN - integrated delivery network

IJ - internal jugular

ILI - influenza like illness

IM - intramuscular

IN - inch

INC - incontinent

INR - international normalized ratio

INT - intermittent needle therapy

IPA - independent practice association

IPN - intervention project for nurses

IS - incentive spirometer

ISOL - isolation

IV - intravenous

IVF - intravenous fluids

IVAB - intravenous antibiotics

IVVD - intravascular volume depletion


JP drain - Jackson Pratt drain

JVD - jugular venous distention


K - potassium

KG - kilogram

KM - kilometer

KUB - kidneys, ureters, bladder

KVO - keep vein open


L - left, liter, lumbar

LA - left arm

LAC - left antecubital, laceration

LAD - left anterior descending

Lap - laproscopic

LB - pound

LDL - low density lipoprotein

LFA - left forearm

LHC - left heart catheterization

LIJ - left internal jugular

Liq - liquid

LLE - left lower extremity

LLL - left lower lobe

LM - liters per minute

LOA - lysis of adhesions

LOC - level of consciousness

LOS - length of stay

LPN - licensed practical nurse

LR - lactated ringers

LSO brace - lumbosacral orthosis brace

LTAC - long term acute care

LTC - Long term care

LUA - left upper arm

LUL - left upper lobe

LVL - level

LVN - licensed vocational nurse

Lymph - lymphocytes


M - male, meter, minute

MAE - moves all extremities

MAR - medication administration record

MBS - modified barium swallow

MCG - microgram

MCH - mean corpuscular hemoglobin

MCHC - mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration

MCV - mean corpuscular volume

MD - medical doctor

MDI - metered-dose inhaler

MDRO - multidrug resistant organism

MDS - minimum data set

ME - medication error

MEQ - milliequivalents

MET - medical emergency team

Mets - metastasis

MEWS - modified early warning score

MG - milligram, magnesium

MGMT - management

MI - myocardial infarction, mile

MIC - minimum inhibitory concentration

Min - minute

ML - milliliter

MM - milimeter

MM Hg - milimeters of mercury

MMOL - millimole

MMSE - mini-mental state examination

MN - midnight

mono - mononucleosis, monocytes

MPV - mean platelet volume

MR - mitral regurgitation

MRA - magnetic resonance angiogram

MRCP - magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography

MRI - magnetic resonance imaging

MRSA - methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus

MRV - magnetic resonance venography

MS - medical student, multiple sclerosis, mental status, mitral stenosis

MSDS - material safety data sheet

MSK - musculoskeletal

MSSA - methicillin susceptible staph aureus

MV - mitral valve

MVA - motor vehicle accident

MVC - motor vehicle crash/collision

MVR - mitral valve replacement


N/V - nausea and vomiting

NA - sodium, nursing assistant

NAD - no abnormality detected, no apparent distress

NAEO - no acute events overnight

NANDA - North American Nursing Diagnosis Association

Narc - narcotic

NC - nasal cannula

NEB - nebulizer

Neg - negative

Neuro - neurological

Neut - neutrophils

NG - nasogastric

NGTD - negative to date, no growth to date

NHL - non-Hodgkin lymphoma

NIBP - non invasive blood pressure

NIH - national institutes of health

NIHSS - national institutes of health stroke scale

NKA - no known allergies

NKDA - no known drug allergies

NL - normal limits

NPA - nurse practice act, nasopharyngeal airway

NPO - nothing by mouth

NREM sleep - nonrapid eye movement sleep

NS - normal saline

NSAID - nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug

NSCLC - non small cell lung cancer

NSR - normal sinus rhythm

NST - nonstress test

NSTE-ACS - non ST-segment elevation acute coronary syndrome

NSTEMI - non ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction

NWB - non weight bearing


O2 - oxygen

O2 sat - oxygen saturation

OA - osteoarthritis

OB - obstetrics

OOB - out of bed

OPA - oropharyngeal airway

OR - operating room

ORIF - open reduction internal fixation

Ortho - orthostatic

OSA - obstructive sleep apnea

OSH - outside hospital

OT - occupational therapy

Outpt - outpatient

OX - oximetry

OZ - ounce


P - pulse, phosphorus

PA - physician assistant

PAC - pulmonary artery catheter

PACU - post anesthesia care unit

PAD - public access defibrillation, peripheral artery disease

Pap smear - papanicolaou smear

PCA - patient controlled analgesia

PCI - percutaneous coronary intervention

PCM - primary care manager

PCO2 - partial pressure of carbon dioxide

PCP - primary care provider

PCR - polymerase chain reaction

PCT - patient care technician

PE - pulmonary embolism

PED - pediatric, pedestrian

PEG - percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy

PERRLA - pupils equal, round, reactive to light and accommodation

PET scan - positron emission tomography scan

PFT - pulmonary function test

PH - potential of hydrogen

PICC - peripherally inserted central catheter

PIV - peripheral intravenous

PLIF - posterior lumbar interbody fusion

PLOF - prior level of function

PLT - platelets

PMH - past medical history

PMI - point of maximal impulse

PMHX - patient medical history

PN - parenteral nutrition

PNA - pneumonia

PNS - peripheral nervous system

PO - by mouth

PO2 - partial pressure of oxygen

POA - present on admission

POC - point of care

POD - post operative days

POM - patient's own medication

POMR - problem-oriented medical record

Pos - positive

Post op - post operative

PPD - purified protein derivative

PPE - personal protective equipment

PPS - prospective payment system

PPX - prophylaxis

PR - pulse rate

PRBC - packed red blood cells

Prec - precautions

PRN - as needed

PROM - passive range-of-motion exercises

PSCU - presurgical care unit

PSH - past surgical history

PSRO - professional standards review organization

PT - patient, physical therapy, prothrombin time, pint

PTAC - pharmacology and therapeutics advisory committee

PTBD - percutaneous transhepatic biliary drainage

PTC - percutaneous transhepatic cholangiogram

PTT - partial thromboplastin time

PTX - pneumothorax

PUD - peptic ulcer disease

Pulm - pulmonary

PVD - peripheral vascular disease


Q - every

Q4H - every four hours

QAM - every morning

QPM - every night

QT - quart


R - right, respirations

RA - room air, right arm, rheumatoid arthritis

RAC - right antecubital

RBC - red blood cell

RCA - right coronary artery

RCC - renal cell carcinoma

RDW - red cell distribution width

Ref - refused, reference

Reg - regular

Rehab - rehabilitation

REM sleep - rapid eye movement sleep

Resp - respirations, respiratory

RFA - right forearm

Rhabdo - rhabdomyolysis

RIJ - right internal jugular

RLE - right lower extremity

RLL - right lower lobe

RLS - restless leg syndrome

RML - right middle lobe

RN - registered nurse

ROM - range of motion

ROS - review of systems

ROSC - return of spontaneous circulation

RR - respiratory rate

RRR - regular rate and rhythm

RRT - rapid response team

RUA - right upper arm

RUG - resource utilization group

RUL - right upper lobe

RV - residual volume, right ventricle

RVR - rapid ventricular rate/response

RVSP - right ventricular systolic pressure

RWMA - regional wall motion abnormalities

RX - to take, prescription


S - second

SAH - subarachnoid hemorrhage

SAMPLE - signs and symptoms, allergies, medications, past medical history, last meal, events

SA node - sinoatrial node

Sat - saturation

SBAR - situation background assessment recommendation

SBFT - small bowel follow through

SBIRT - screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment

SBO - small bowel obstruction

SBP - systolic blood pressure

SCD - sequential compression device

Schizo - schizophrenia

SCI - spinal cord injury

SDH - subdural hematoma

SE - standard error, side effect

Sec - second

Sed - sedimentation

SIRS - systemic inflammatory response syndrome

SL - sublingual

SNF - skilled nursing facility

SOAP note - subjective and objective data, analysis, and planning note

SOB - shortness of breath

SP - status post

SPECT - single photon emission tomography

SPO2 - peripheral capillary oxygen saturation

SSI - sliding scale insulin

SSS - sick sinus syndrome

ST - stage

STAT - immediately

STD - sexually transmitted disease

STEMI - ST elevation myocardial infarction

STI - sexually transmitted infection

STR - short term rehab

SUBQ - subcutaneous

SUD - substance use disorder

Surg - surgery

SUV - standardized uptake value

SV - stroke volume

SW - social worker


T - temperature, ton

T2DM - type two diabetes mellitus

Tab - tablet

Tachy - tachycardia

TB - tuberculosis

TBI - traumatic brain injury

TBSP - tablespoon

TEE - transesophageal echocardiography

Tele - telemetry

Temp - temperature

TENS - transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation

TF - transfer factor

THC - tetrahydrocannabinol

TIA - transient ischemic attack

Tib - tibula

TIBC - total iron binding capacity

TICU - trauma intensive care unit

TKA - total knee arthroplasty

TLC - triple lumen catheter

TLIF -  transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion

TLSO brace - thoracolumbosacral orthosis brace

TMA - transmetatarsal amputation

Tol - tolerate

TPH - theophylline

TR - tricuspid regurgitation

Trans - transfusion, transfer, transsexual

TSH - thyroid stimulating hormone

TSP - teaspoon

TTE - transthoracic echocardiogram

TTP - tender to palpation, thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura

TX - treatment

TURB - transurethral resection of the bladder

TURP - transurethral resection of the prostate


U - unit

UA - urinalysis

UAP - unlicensed assistive personnel

UC - urine culture

UDS - urine drug screen

UE - upper extremity

Unc - uncollected

Unk - unknown

Unv - unverified

UO - urine output

UOP - urinary output

UR - utilization review

URI - upper respiratory infection

US - ultrasound

USP - United States Pharmacopeia

UTD - up to date

UTI - urinary tract infection


VAX - vaccination

Ventric - ventriculostomy

Ver - verify, version

V fib - ventricular fibrillation

VIP - very important person

Vit - vitamin

VQ scan - ventilation perfusion scan

VRE - vancomycin resistant enterococci

VS - vital signs

VSS - vital signs stable

VTE - venous thromboembolism


W - with

W/C - wheelchair

W/O - without

W/U - workup

WBAT - weight bearing as tolerated

WBC - white blood cell

WCC - wound care center/certified, white cell count

WK - week

WNL - within normal limits

WT - weight


X - times

XLIF - extreme lateral interbody fusion

XRT - radiotherapy


Y/O - years old

YD - yard

YR - year


Medical References for Caregivers

From Common Medical Abbreviations and Acronyms to Home

New! Comments

Have something to say about what you just read? Leave a comment in the box below.

Recent Articles

  1. Pain Management Basics for Your Patient - Caregiverology

    Dec 01, 18 02:56 AM

    Pain management for your patient can be a very touchy and controversial topic. It is difficult to diagnose and sometimes impossible to manage completely. It is experienced and often managed differentl…

    Read More

  2. NIH Stroke Scale Explained in Detail - Caregiverology

    Nov 15, 18 06:46 AM

    The NIH stroke scale is an assessment that is performed by medical professionals on patients in order to determine if they had a stroke. For someone who has had some practice, it should take no more t…

    Read More

  3. Closing Steps for CNA/Caregiver Skills - Caregiverology

    Sep 19, 18 07:26 PM

    This page describes the closing steps for performing certified nursing assistant (CNA) or caregiver skills. These should be the last steps taken after completing any skill.

    Read More