FM/CFS/ME RESOURCES - Medical Abbreviations

 

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MEDICAL ABBREVIATIONS

There are over 590 abbreviations listed in this glossary. Click the letter in the table below to reveal the abbreviation you're looking for. Contact us if you cannot locate an abbreviation.

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
a artery - muscular blood vessels that carry blood away from the heart.
aa equal part of each
AA affected area
AAA abdominal aortic aneurysm - term used to describe a localized dilatation of the abdominal aorta.
AAD antibiotic-associated diarrhea - occurs when antibiotics disturb the natural balance of "good" and "bad" bacteria in your intestinal tract.
AAL anterior axillary line - an imaginary vertical line along the anterior axillary fold (crease of armpit).
AAO alert, awake, and oriented
A&O alert & oriented
AAS acute abdominal series - x-ray used to evaluate nontraumatic acute abdominal pain in adults.
AB abortion - the removal or expulsion of an embryo or fetus from the uterus, resulting in or caused by its death.
ABD abdomen - part of the body between the chest and the pelvis and encloses the stomach, intestines, liver, spleen, and pancreas.
ABG arterial blood gas - blood test performed to determine the concentration of oxygen, carbon dioxide, bicarbonate, pH, in the blood.
abs absent
AC before eating
ACTH adrenocorticotropic hormone - peptide hormone produced and secreted by the pituitary gland.
ADH anti diuretic hormone - hormone that is released when the body is low on water; causing the kidneys to conserve water.
ADL activities of daily living
ad lib as much as needed
ADR adverse drug reaction
AEA above elbow amputation
AED antiepileptic drug - used in prevention of the occurrence of epileptic seizures.
AIDS acquired immune deficiency syndrome - symptoms and infections resulting from the specific damage to the immune system caused by HIV.
ALS amyotrophic lateral sclerosis - also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. It is a progressive, fatal neurodegenerative disease caused by the degeneration of motor neurons.
AMA against medical advice - checking yourself out of a hospital without doctor approval.
amb ambulate - walking
AMI acute myocardial infarction - commonly known as a heart attack, is a disease state that occurs when the blood supply to a part of the heart is interrupted.
ANA antinuclear antibody - antibodies present in higher than normal numbers in autoimmune disease.
ANS autonomic nervous system - part of the peripheral nervous system that controls homeostasis, that is the constancy of the content of tissues in gasses, ions and nutrients.
AOB alcohol on breath
AODM adult onset diabetes mellitus - type 2 diabetes.
APR abdominal perineal resection - operation that results in a colostomy.
ARDS acute respiratory distress syndrome - serious reaction to various forms of injuries to the lung.
ARF acute renal failure - rapid loss of renal function due to damage to the kidneys.
AS aortic stenosis - heart condition caused by the incomplete opening of the aortic valve.
ASAP as soon as possible
ASCVD atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease - degenerative disease of the arteries resulting in plaques consisting of necrotic cells, lipids, and cholesterol crystals.
AV atrioventricular - having to do with an atrium and ventricle.
AVO2 arteriovenous oxygen difference - difference in the oxygen content, in milliliters per 100 milliliters blood, between arterial and venous blood.

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B  
BBB bundle branch block - a disorder of the heart's electrical conducting system.
BCAA branched chain amino acids - any molecule that contains both amine and carboxyl functional groups.
BE barium enema - medical procedure used to examine and diagnose problems with the human colon.
BEE basal energy expenditure - the amount of energy expended while at rest in a neutrally temperate environment, in the post-absorptive state.
bid twice a day
BMR basal metabolic rate - rate at which energy is used by an organism at complete rest.
BOM bilateral otitis media - condition that can affect the middle ear.
BP blood pressure
BPH benign prostatic hypertrophy - an enlargement of the prostate that is not cancerous.
BPM beats per minute
BRBPR bright red blood per rectum - rectal bleeding
BRP bathroom privileges
BS bowel sounds - are the noises made by the intestines.
BUN blood urea nitrogen - in the form of urea in the blood or serum, used as a indicator of kidney function.
BW body weight
BX biopsy - medical test involving the removal of cells or tissues for examination.

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C
CA cancer - class of diseases characterized by uncontrolled division of cells and the ability of these cells to spread, either by direct growth into adjacent tissue through invasion, or by implantation into distant sites by metastasis.
Ca calcium - soft grey alkaline earth metal, and is the fifth most abundant element in the Earth's crust.
CAA crystalline amino acids - organic compounds containing an amino group and a carboxylic acid group.
CABG coronary artery bypass graft - surgical procedure performed to relieve angina and reduce the risk of death from coronary artery disease.
CAD coronary artery disease - the end result of the accumulation of atheromatous plaques within the walls of the arteries that supply the myocardium (the muscle of the heart).
CAT computerized axial tomography - medical imaging method employing tomography where digital geometry processing is used to generate a three-dimensional image of the internals of an object from a large series of two-dimensional X-ray images taken around a single axis of rotation.
CBC complete blood count - test requested by a doctor or other medical professional that gives information about the cells in a patient's blood.
CBG capillary blood gas - blood test used on neonates and children, alternative to arterial blood testing.
CBR complete bed rest
CBT cognitive behavior therapy - psychotherapy based on modifying everyday thoughts and behaviors, with the aim of positively influencing emotions.
CC chief complaint
CCU corinary care unit - hospital ward specialized in the care of patients with heart or other cardiac conditions that require continuous monitoring and treatment.
CCV cataract congenital volkmann type - characterized by a progressive, central and zonular cataract, with opacities in the embryonic, fetal, and juvenile nucleus.
CDC centers for disease control - an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services based in Atlanta, Georgia.
CEBV chronic epstein-barr syndrome - virus of the herpes family (which includes Herpes simplex virus and Cytomegalovirus), and is one of the most common viruses in humans.
CF cystic fibrosis - hereditary disease that affects the entire body, causing progressive disability and early death.
CFS chronic fatigue syndrome - syndrome (or group of syndromes) of unknown and possibly multiple etiologies, affecting the central nervous system, immune, and many other systems and organs.
CFIDS chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome - same as above, just a different name.
CGL chronic granulocytic leukemia - common type of acute myelogenous leukemia in which myeloblasts predominate; it is divided into two types on the basis of degree of cell differentiation.
CHF congestive heart failure - a condition that can result from any structural or functional cardiac disorder that impairs the ability of the heart to fill with or pump a sufficient amount of blood throughout the body.
CHO carbohydrate - molecules that are straight-chain aldehydes or ketones with many hydroxyl groups added.
CI cardiac index - vasodynamic parameter that relates the cardiac output to body surface area, thus relating heart performance to the size of the individual.
CML chronic myelogenous leukemia - form of chronic leukemia characterized by increased and unregulated clonal production of predominantly myeloid cells in the bone marrow.
CMV cytomegalovirus - cytomegalovirus (CMV), is a genus of Herpes viruses. In humans the species is known as Human herpesvirus 5 (HHV-5).
CN cranial nerves - nerves that emerge directly from the brain in contrast to spinal nerves which emerge from segments of the spinal cord.
CNS central nervous system - represents the largest part of the nervous system, including the brain and the spinal cord.
CO cardiac output - the volume of blood being pumped by the heart, in particular a ventricle in a minute. It is equal to the heart rate multiplied by the stroke volume.
CO2 carbon dioxide - an end product in organisms that obtain energy from breaking down sugars, fats and amino acids with oxygen as part of their metabolism, in a process known as cellular respiration.
C/O complaining of
COLD chronic obstructive lung disease - a group of diseases characterized by limitation of airflow in the airway that is not fully reversible.
COPD chronic obstructive pulmonary disease - group of diseases characterized by limitation of airflow in the airway that is not fully reversible.
COQ10 co-enzyme Q10 - a naturally occurring substance which some patients find helpful.
CP cerebral palsy - an umbrella term encompassing a group of non-progressive, non-contagious neurological disorders that cause physical disability in human development, specifically the human movement and posture.
CPAP continuous positive airway pressure - method of respiratory ventilation used primarily in the treatment of sleep apnea, for which it was first developed.
CPR cardiopulmonary resuscitation - an emergency first aid procedure for a victim of cardiac arrest.
CRCL creatinine clearance - the removal of creatinine from the body.
CRF chronic renal failure - a slowly progressive loss of renal function over a period of months or years and defined as an abnormally low glomerular filtration rate.
CRP c-reactive protein - a plasma protein, an acute phase protein produced by the liver.
CSF cerebrospinal fluid - a clear bodily fluid that occupies the subarachnoid space in the brain.
C-spine cervicle spine - is the first seven bones of the vertebral column and extends from the base of the skull to the top of the thoracic spine.
CT computerized tomography - a medical imaging method employing tomography where digital geometry processing is used to generate a three-dimensional image of the internals of an object.
CVA cerebrovascular accident - stroke - an acute neurological injury in which the blood supply to a part of the brain is interrupted.
CVAT costovertebral angle tenderness - tenderness indicates sudden distention of the renal capsule. It almost always accompanies unelicited, dull, constant flank pain in the CVA just lateral to the sacrospinal muscle and below the 12th rib.
CVP central venous pressure - describes the pressure of blood in the thoracic vena cava, near the right atrium of the heart.
CxR chest X-ray - a projection radiograph (X-ray), taken by a radiographer, of the thorax which is used to diagnose problems with that area.

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D
DAT diet as tolerated
DAW dispense as written
DC discontinue
D&C dilation and curettage - gynaecological procedure performed on the female reproductive system that involves dilating the cervix and inserting instruments to remove the lining of the uterus, while the woman is under anaesthetic.
DD (slang) "damned disease" - used by people with FM/CFS/ME to describe their feelings.
Dx diagnosis - recognize a disease or condition by its outward signs and symptoms.
DHEA dehydroepiandrosterone - natural steroid prohormone produced from cholesterol by the adrenal glands, the gonads, adipose tissue, brain and in the skin.
DI diabetes insipidus - disease characterized by excretion of large amounts of severely diluted urine, which cannot be reduced when fluid intake is reduced.
DIC disseminated intravascular coagulation - pathological process in the body where the blood starts to coagulate throughout the whole body.
DIP distal interphalangeal joint - are hinge-joints of the phalanges of the hand.
DJD degenerative joint disease - condition in which low-grade inflammation results in pain in the joints, caused by wearing of the cartilage that covers and acts as a cushion inside joints.
DKA diabetic ketoacidosis - one consequence of untreated diabetes mellitus (chronic high blood sugar or hyperglycemia) and is linked to an impaired glucose cycle.
DM diabetes mellitus - metabolic disorder characterized by hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) and other signs, as distinct from a single disease or condition.
DNR do not resuscitate - written order from a doctor that resuscitation should not be attempted if a person suffers cardiac or respiratory arrest.
DOA dead on arrival
DOB date of birth
DOE dyspnea on exertion - perceived difficulty breathing or pain on breathing.
DPL diagnostic peritoneal lavage - performed when intra-abdominal bleeding (hemoperitoneum) usually secondary to trauma is suspected.
DPT diphtheria - upper respiratory tract illness.
pertussis - highly contagious disease caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis.
tetanus - medical condition characterized by a prolonged contraction of skeletal muscle fibers.
DTR deep tendon reflexes - biological control system linking stimulus to response and mediated by a reflex arc.
DU duodenal ulcer - an ulcer of an area of the gastrointestinal tract that is usually acidic.
DVT deep venous thrombosis - the formation of a blood clot in a deep vein.
Dx diagnosis - recognize a disease or condition by its outward signs and symptoms.

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E
EAA essential amino acids - an amino acid that cannot be synthesized and therefore must be supplied in the diet.
EBL estimated blood loss
EBV epstein-barr virus - human herpesvirus 4 (HHV-4).
ECF extended care facility
ECG electrocardiogram - a test that records the electrical activity of the heart.
ECT electroconvulsive therapy - also known as electroshock.
ED emergency department - a hospital or primary care department that provides initial treatment to patients with a broad spectrum of illnesses and injuries, some of which may be life-threatening and requiring immediate attention.
EFAD essential fatty acid deficiency - essential fatty acids cannot be constructed within an organism from other components as there are no known biochemical pathways capable of prducing them.
EMG electromyogram - detects the electrical potential generated by muscle cells when these cells contract.
EMS emergency medical service - a service providing pre-hospital (or out-of-hospital) acute care to patients with illnesses and injuries. The most common and recognized EMS type is an Ambulance organization.
EMV eyes, motor, verbal response
ENT ears, nose, and throat
EOM extraocular muscles - are the six muscles that control the movements of the eye.
EPD enzyme potentiated desensitization - treatment for allergies.
ER emergency room - a hospital or primary care department that provides initial treatment to patients with a broad spectrum of illnesses and injuries, some of which may be life-threatening and requiring immediate attention.
ERCP endoscopic retrograde cholangio pancreatography - combines the use of endoscopy (a flexible telescope to look inside your gut) and x-rays. It's used to diagnose and treat conditions that affect the bile ducts and nearby structures.
ESR erythrocyte sedimentation rate - a non-specific measure of inflammation that is commonly used as a medical screening test.
ETT endotracheal tube - used in anaesthesia for airway management and mechanical ventilation.
ETOH ethanol - a flammable, colorless, slightly toxic chemical compound with a distinctive perfume-like odor, and is the alcohol found in alcoholic beverages.
EUA examination under anesthesia
EVAL evaluation - the systematic determination of merit, worth, and significance of something or someone.

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F
FBS fasting blood sugar - levels of glucose in the blood after abstaining from all food, drink, or both, for a period of time.
FDA food & drug administration - USA agency which regulates drug approvals, nutritional supplements, food quality and labeling.
FEV forced expiratory volume - pulmonary function test measuring the amount (volume) and/or speed (flow) of air that can be inhaled and exhaled.
FFP fresh frozen plasma - blood plasma frozen within 6 hours of collection.
FM fibromyalgia - chronic condition of widespread pain and profound fatigue.
FMS fibromyalgia syndrome - chronic condition of widespread pain and profound fatigue.
FRC functional residual capacity - the volume of air present in the lungs at the end of passive expiration.
FTT failure to thrive - medical term which denotes poor weight gain and physical growth failure over an extended period of time in infancy.
FU follow-up - subsequent examination of a patient for the purpose of monitoring earlier treatment.
FUO fever of unknown origin - a condition in which the patient has an elevated temperature but despite investigations by a physician no explanation has been found.
FVC forced vital capacity - vital capacity measured with subject exhaling as rapidly as possible.
Fx fracture - separation of a body into two, or more, pieces under the action of stress.

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G
GC gonorrhea - sexually-transmitted disease.
GETT general by endotracheal tube - used in anaesthesia, intensive care and emergency medicine for airway management and mechanical ventilation.
GFR glomerular filtration rate - the volume of fluid filtered from the renal glomerular capillaries measured to determine renal function.
GI gastrointestinal - system of organs that takes in food, digests it to extract energy and nutrients, and expels the remaining waste.
GSW gun shot wound
gt drops
GTT glucose tolerance test - the administration of glucose to determine how quickly it is cleared from the blood.
GWS gulf war syndrome - condition noted by USA and other military veterans who fought in the 1991 Persian Gulf war.
GXT graded exercise tolerance - stress test

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H
HAA hepatitis  B surface antigen - earliest indicator of acute hepatitis B and frequently identifies infected people before symptoms appear.
HAV hepatitis A virus - an acute infectious liver disease caused by the hepatovirus hepatitis A virus.
HBP high blood pressure - medical condition where the blood pressure is chronically elevated.
HCG human chorionic gonadotropin - peptide hormone produced in pregnancy, that is made by the embryo soon after conception and later by part of the placenta.
HCT hematocrit - measure of the proportion of blood volume that is occupied by red blood cells.
HDL high density lipoprotein - class of lipoproteins that carry cholesterol from the body's tissues to the liver.
HEENT head, eyes, ears, nose, throat
Hgb hemoglobin<- iron-containing oxygen-transport metalloprotein in the red blood cells.
H/H hemoglobin/hematocrit - measure of the fractional level of red cells in the blood.
HHV6 human herpes virus six (HHV-6) - one of the eight known members of the human herpesvirus family.
HIV human immunodeficiency virus - a retrovirus that causes AIDS.
HLA human leukocyte antigen - a key part of the human immune system, or the paternity test based upon it.
HJR hepatojugular reflux - used as an alternate test for measuring jugular venous pressure through the distension or swelling of the jugular vein.
HMO health maintenance organization (USA) - pre-paid plan which provides comprehensive medical services.
HO history of
HOB head of bed
HPF high power field - used in relation to microscopy references the area visible under the maximum magnification power of the objective being used.
HPI history of present illness
HR heart rate - term used to describe the frequency of the cardiac cycle.
HS at bedtime - as in taking a medicine at bedtime.
HSM hepatosplenomegaly - the simultaneous enlargement of both the liver and the spleen.
HTLV-III human lymphotropic virus, type III (AIDS agent, HIV) - an obsolete term for the human immunodeficiency virus or HIV.
HSV herpes simplex virus - viral infection caused by one of two Herpes Simplex Viruses (HSV), members of the Herpesviridae family.
HTN hypertension - medical condition where the blood pressure is chronically elevated.
Hx history

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I
I&D incision and drainage - common treatment for skin infections and abscesses.
I&O intake and output - application is designed to store, in the patient's electronic medical record, all patient intake and output information associated with a hospital stay or outpatient visit.
ICS intercostal space - the space between two ribs. Since there are 12 ribs on each side, there are 11 intercostal spaces.
ICU intensive care unit - specialized facility in a hospital that provides intensive care medicine.
ID infectious disease - clinically evident disease of humans or animals that damages or injures the host so as to impair host function.
IDDM insulin dependent diabetes mellitus - type 1 diabetes (formerly known as "childhood," "juvenile," or "insulin-dependent" diabetes) is not primarily a childhood problem.
IG immunoglobulin - a large Y-shaped protein used by the immune system to identify and neutralize foreign objects like bacteria and viruses.
IHSS idiopathic hypertrophic subaortic stenosis - obstruction of the flow of blood out of the left ventricle due to hypertrophy of the ventricular septum.
IM intramuscular- located or occurring within a muscle.
IMV intermittent mandatory ventilation - mechanical application of positive pressure at a determined frequency to the airway so as to increase tidal volume.
INF intravenous nutritional fluid - IV fluids containing multivitamins.
IPPB intermittent positive pressure breathing - technique used to provide short-term or intermittent mechanical ventilation for the purpose of augmenting lung expansion, delivering aerosol medication, or assisting ventilation.
IRBBB incomplete right bundle branch block - sometimes indicates underlying heart disease. But, especially when it occurs on the right side (i.e., incomplete RBBB,) it often has no significance at all.
IRDM insulin resistant diabetes mellitus - type 2 diabetes, previously called non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) or adult-onset diabetes.
IT interthecal - space surrounding the spinal cord.
ITP idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura - the condition of having a low platelet count of no known cause.
IV intravenous - giving of liquid substances directly into a vein.
IVC intravenous cholangiogram - a radiologic procedure used primarily to look at the larger bile ducts in the liver and the bile ducts outside the liver.
IVIG intravenous immunoglobulin - a blood product administered intravenously
IVP intravenous pyelogram - an x-ray of the kidneys and urinary tract.

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J
J joint - the location at which two or more bones make contact.
JODM juvenile onset diabetes mellitus - the more severe form of the illness, known as type I.
JRA joint - is a subset of arthritis seen in childhood, which may be transient and self-limited or chronic.
JVD jugular venous distention - the indirectly observed pressure over the venous system. It can be useful in the differentiation of different forms of heart and lung disease.
JVP jugular venous pulse - the indirectly observed pressure over the venous system. It can be useful in the differentiation of different forms of heart and lung disease.

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K
KC1 potassium chloride - a metal halide composed of potassium and chlorine. In its pure state it is odorless.
Kg kilogram - is defined as being equal to the mass of the international prototype of the kilogram.
KOR kappa opioid receptor - also involved with analgesia, but activation also produces marked nausea and dysphoria.
KUB kidneys, ureters, bladder
KVO keep vein open - a continuous fluid infusion.

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L
LAD left axis deviation - there is a swing of the cardiac axis to the left - ie less than minus 30 degrees. It is usually the result of a left anterior hemiblock rather than to the increased bulk of muscle of the left ventricle.
LAE left atrial enlargement - reduction in left ventricular compliance that persists for an appreciable period results in left atrial enlargement.
LAHB left anterior hemiblock - caused by interruption of the anterior division of the left bundle branch (cardiac conduction abnormality seen on the electrocardiogram).
LAP leukocyte alkaline phosphatase - a hydrolase enzyme responsible for removing phosphate groups in the 5- and 3- positions from many types of molecules.
LBBB left bundle branch block - cardiac conduction abnormality seen on the electrocardiogram.
LDH lactate dehydrogenase - an enzyme that catalyzes the conversion of lactate to pyruvate.
LE lupus erythematosus - a chronic inflammatory condition caused by an autoimmune disease.
LIH left inguinal hernia - protrusions of abdominal cavity contents through an area of the abdominal wall commonly referred to as the groin.
LLL left lower lobe - the left lung has two lobes, this is the lower lobe.
LMP last menstrual period
LNMP last normal menstrual period
LOC loss of consciousness - dramatic alteration of mental state that involves complete or near-complete lack of responsiveness to people and other environmental stimuli.
LP lumbar puncture or spinal tap - a diagnostic and at times therapeutic procedure that is performed in order to collect a sample of cerebrospinal fluid.
LPN licensed practical nurse - these individuals usually have twelve months to two years of training in anatomy and physiology, medications, and practical patient care.
LUL left upper lung - the left lung has two lobes, this is the upper lobe.
LV left ventricle - one of four chambers (two atria and two ventricles) in the human heart.
LVEDP left ventricular end diastolic pressure - is elevated in the setting of congestive heart failure and its measurement may be useful in the management of patients with heart failure.
LVH left ventricular hypertrophy - the thickening of the myocardium (muscle) of the left ventricle of the heart.

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M
MAOI monoamine oxidase inhibitors - a powerful class of antidepressant drugs prescribed for the treatment of depression.
MAP mean arterial pressure - term used in medicine to describe a notional average blood pressure in an individual.
MAST military antishock trousers - medical devices used to treat severe blood loss.
MBT maternal blood type - your mother's blood type.
MCHC mean cell hemoglobin concentration - measure of the concentration of hemoglobin in a given volume of packed red blood cell.
MCS multiple chemical sensitivity - a disease diagnosed by practitioners of environmental medicine.
MCV mean cell volume - a measure of the average red blood cell volume (i.e. size) that is reported as part of a standard complete blood count.
ME Myalgic Encephalomyelitis - Myalgic means 'muscle aches or pains'. Encephalomyelitis means inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.
MI myocardial infarction - heart attack
mL milliliter - metric measure of volume.
MLE midline episiotomy - a surgical incision through the perineum made to enlarge the vagina and assist childbirth.
MMEF maximal mid expiratory flow - lung function.
mmol millimole - unit of measure, one thousandth (10-3) of a mole.
MMR measles - disease caused by a virus, specifically a paramyxovirus of the genus Morbillivirus.
mumps - viral disease of humans.
rubella - known as epidemic roseola, German measles, liberty measles, or three-day measles it is a disease caused by the Rubella virus.
MRI magnetic resonance imaging - a non-invasive method used to render images of the inside of an object.
MRSA methicillin resistant staph aureus - a specific strain of the Staphylococcus aureus bacterium that has developed antibiotic resistance to all penicillins.
MS multiple sclerosis - a chronic, inflammatory disease that affects the central nervous system.
MS mitral stenosis - a narrowing of the orifice of the mitral valve of the heart.
MS morphine sulfate - a highly potent opiate analgesic drug.
MSSA methicillin-sensitive staph aureus - staphylococcus aureus resistant to the antibiotic methicillin.
MVA motor vehicle accident
MVI multivitamin injection - prevents a vitamin deficiency in patients receiving nutrition through an IV.
MVP mitral valve prolapse - is the most common heart valve abnormality, affecting five to ten percent of the world population.
MVV maximum voluntary ventilation - the exchange of air between the lungs and the environment, including inhalation and exhalation.

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N
NAD no active disease
NAS no added salt
NCV nerve conduction velocity - measurement made during a test commonly used to evaluate the sensory nerves of the human body.
NED no evidence of recurrent disease
ng nanogram - one billionth (1/1,000,000,000) gram.
NG nasogastric - referring to the passage from the nose to the stomach.
NIH the national institutes of health - an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
NIDDM non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus - metabolic disorder characterized by hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) and other signs, as distinct from a single disease or condition.
NKA no known allergies
NKDA no known drug allergies
NMR nuclear magnetic resonance - a physical phenomenon based upon the quantum mechanical magnetic properties of an atom's nucleus.
NPO nothing by mouth - restricting food intake.
NRM no regular medications
NSAID non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs - such as aspirin and ibuprofen.
NSR normal sinus rhythm - term used in medicine to describe the normal beating of the heart, as measured by an electrocardiogram.
NT nasotracheal intubation - where a tube is passed through the nose.

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O
OB obstetrics - the surgical specialty dealing with the care of a woman and her offspring during pregnancy, childbirth and the puerperium (the period shortly after birth).
OCG oral cholecystogram - a radiologic procedure for diagnosing gallstones.
OD overdose - occurs when a drug is ingested in quantities and/or concentrations large enough to overwhelm the homeostasis of a living organism, causing severe illness or death.
OM otitis media - an inflammation of the middle ear: the space behind the ear drum.
OOB out of bed
OPV oral polio vaccine - no longer recommended. Tthere are two kinds of polio vaccine: IPV, which is the shot recommended in the United States today, and a live, oral polio vaccine (OPV), which is drops that are swallowed.
OR operating room - a room within a hospital where surgical operations are carried out.
OS left eye
OU both eyes

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P
P pulse - the rhythmic contraction and expansion of an artery due to the surge of blood from the beat of the heart.
PA posteroanterior - from back to front.
PAC premature atrial contraction - type of premature heart beat, irregular heart beat, arrhythmia which start in the upper two chambers of the heart.
PAO2 alveolar oxygen - the oxygen pressure in the alveoli (A small angular cavity or pit).
PaO2 partial pressure of oxygen in arterial blood
PAP pulmonary artery pressure - blood gas.
PAT paroxysmal atrial tachycardia - bouts of rapid, regular heart beats originating in the upper chamber of the heart.
P&PD percussion and postural drainage - used to help drain the lungs.
PC after eating.
PCWP pulmonary capillary wedge pressure - provides an indirect measure of the left atrial pressure.
PDA patent ductus arteriosus - a congenital heart defect wherein a child's ductus arteriosus fails to close after birth.
PDR physicians desk reference - a commercially published compilation of manufacturers' prescribing information (package insert) on prescription drugs, updated annually.
PE pulmonary embolus - blockage of the pulmonary artery (or one of its branches) by a blood clot, fat, air or clumped tumor cells.
PEEP positive end expiratory pressure - a term used in mechanical ventilation to denote the amount of pressure above atmospheric pressure present in the airway at the end of the expiratory cycle.
PET positron emission tomography - nuclear medical imaging technique which produces a three-dimensional image or map.
PFT pulmonary function tests - are a broad range of tests that are usually done in a health care provider's office or a specialized facility.
pg picogram - one trillionth of a gram.
PGS persian gulf syndrome - the name given to an illness with symptoms including increases in the rate of immune system disorders and birth defects, reported by combat veterans of the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
PHS United States public health service - network of hospitals to support the health of American seamen. It is the uniformed service of the United States Department of Health and Human Services and one of the seven Uniformed Services.
PI pulmonic insufficiency disease - defective functioning of the pulmonary valve, with incomplete closure causing pulmonic regurgitation.
PKU phenylketonuria - a human genetic disorder in which the body does not contain the enzyme phenylalanine hydroxylase, necessary to metabolize phenylalanine to tyrosine, and converts phenylalanine instead to phenylpyruvic acid.
PMH previous medical history
PMI point of maximal impulse - the furthermost point outwards (laterally) and downwards (inferiorly) from the sternum at which the cardiac impulse can be felt.
PMN polymorphonuclear leukocyte neutrophil - any of a group of white blood cells having granules in the cytoplasm.
PND paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea - a medical symptom wherein people with congestive heart failure develop difficulties breathing after laying flat.
PO by mouth
POD post-op day
PP postprandial or pulsus paradoxus - an exaggeration of the normal variation in the pulse during the inspiratory phase of respiration, in which the pulse becomes weaker as one inhales and stronger as one exhales.
PPD purified protein derivative - is an antigen - a substance that stimulates the immune system to eliminate or fight foreign substances in the body.
PR by rectum
PRBC packed red blood cells - blood that has had the fluid portion (plasma) removed.
PRN as needed
PS pulmonic stenosis - medical condition in which outflow of blood from the right ventricle of the heart is obstructed at the level of the pulmonic valve.
PT physical therapy - provision of services to people and populations to develop, maintain and restore maximum movement and functional ability throughout the lifespan.
Pt patient - any person who receives medical attention, care, or treatment.
PTCA percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty - cardiac intervention in which an artery blocked by plaque is dilated, using a balloon catheter to flatten the plaque and open the vessel; it is also called balloon angioplasty.
PTH parathyroid hormone - secreted by the parathyroid glands as a polypeptide containing 84 amino acids.
PTHC percutaneous transhepatic cholangiogram - an x-ray of the bile ducts, taken after a contrast medium is injected directly into a liver bile duct.
PTT partial thromboplastin time - a performance indicator measuring the efficacy of both the "intrinsic" (now referred to as the contact activation pathway) and the common coagulation pathways.
PUD peptic ulcer disease - an ulcer of an area of the gastrointestinal tract that is usually acidic.
PVC premature ventricular contraction - a form of irregular heartbeat in which the ventricle contracts prematurely.
PVD peripheral vascular disease - a collator for all diseases caused by the obstruction of large peripheral arteries, which can result from atherosclerosis, inflammatory processes leading to stenosis, an embolism or thrombus formation.

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Q
q every - e.g. q6h = every 6 hours
qd every day
qh every hour
q4h every 4 hours, etc.
q6h every 6 hours etc.
qid four times a day
QNS quantity not sufficient
qod every other day
Qs/Qt shunt fraction - right-to-left shunt fraction (Qs/Qt, where Qs and Qt refer to shunt and total flow, respectively) is reflected by the degree to which arterial oxygen content is improved by the application of a high fraction of inspired oxygen.
Qt total cardiac output - The total blood flow from the heart during a specified period of time.

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R
R radius - long, prismatic, slightly curved bone, the shorter and thicker of the two forearm bones, located on the lateral side of the ulna.
RA rheumatoid arthritis - inflammatory autoimmune disorder that causes the immune system to attack the joints.
RAD reactive airway disease - asthma, chronic disease of the respiratory system in which the airway is blocked, and creates an excessive amount of mucus, often in response to one or more triggers.
RAE right atrial enlargement - diagnosed by the presence of a P wave 2.5 millimeters or greater in height. The P wave often has a sharp, peaked appearance. This increased voltage is caused by hypertrophy or acute strain of right atrial tissue.
RAP right arterial pressure
RBBB right bundle branch block - cardiac conduction abnormality seen on electrocardiogram (EKG/ECG).
RBC red blood cell - are the most common type of blood cell and the vertebrate body's principal means of delivering oxygen from the lungs or gills to body tissues via the blood.
RBP retinol-binding protein - are a family of proteins with diverse functions. They are carrier proteins which bind retinol.
RDA recommended daily allowance - is the daily dietary intake level of a nutrient considered sufficient to meet the requirements of nearly all (97–98%) healthy individuals in each life-stage and gender group.
RDW red cell distribution width - measurement of the variability of red blood cell size.
RIA radioimmunoassay - method used to test antigens.
RIH right inguinal hernia - protrusion of abdominal cavity contents through an area of the abdominal wall commonly referred to as the groin, and known in anatomic language as the inguinal area or the myopectineal orifice.
RLL right lower lobe - The right lung has three lobes: the right upper lobe (RUL), the right middle lobe (RML), and the right lower lobe (RLL).
RLQ right lower quadrant - right lower quadrant (quarter) of the abdomen. The RLQ of the abdomen contains the appendix.
RLS restless leg syndrome - People with RLS describe crawling, itching, burning, or aching sensations beneath the skin in their legs. These sensations are so uncomfortable that they must move their legs, either by getting out of bed, or by exercising or stretching.
RML right middle lobe - the right lung has three lobes: the right lower lobe (RLL), the right middle lobe (RML), and the right upper lobe (RUL).
RNA ribonucleic acid - nucleic acid polymer consisting of nucleotide monomers, that acts as a messenger between DNA and ribosomes.
RO radiation oncologist - a doctor who specializes in the treatment of cancer patients, using radiation as the main modality of treatment as opposed to a medical oncologist who is a doctor who uses chemotherapy as the preferred modality of treatment.
ROM range of motion - as used in the biomedical and weightlifting communities, is the measurement of the achievable distance between the flexed position and the extended position of a particular joint or muscle group.
ROS review of systems - a useful screening tool for identifying problems in patients.
RPG retrograde pyelogram - urologic procedure where the physician injects contrast into the ureter in order to visualize the ureter and kidney.
RRR regular rate and rhythm - normal cardiac physical exam.
RSD reflex sympathetic dystrophy - a condition of burning pain, stiffness, swelling, and discoloration of the hand. RSD includes other medical diagnoses such as casualgia, Sudeck's atrophy, and shoulder-hand syndrome. RSD occurs from a disturbance in the sympathetic (unconscious) nervous system that controls the blood flow and sweat glands in the hand and arm. When the nervous system becomes overactive, burning pain is felt and swelling and warmth are left in the affected arm. If not treated, RSD can cause stiffness and loss of use of the affected part of the arm.
RT respiratory therapy - categorized as an allied health profession in the United States and Canada.
RTA renal tubular acidosis - condition in which the kidneys fail to dispose of a normal amount of acid into the urine.
RTC return to clinic
RU residual urine - waste product secreted by the kidneys that in mammals is a yellow to amber-colored, slightly acid fluid discharged from the body through the urethra.
RUG retrograde urethogram - fluoroscopic examination of the urethra.
RUL right upper lobe - the right lung has three lobes, this is the upper lobe.
RUQ right upper quadrant
RV residual volume - lung volumes refer to physical differences in volume, while lung capacities represent different combinations of lung volumes, usually in relation to respiration and exhalation.
RVH right ventricular hyperthrophy - commonly associated with any form of right ventricular outflow obstruction or pulmonary hypertension, which may in turn owe its origin to left-sided disease.
Rx treatment - the act or manner or an instance of treating someone or something.

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S
SA sinoatrial - the impulse generating (pacemaker) tissue located in the right atrium of the heart.
SAA severe aplastic anemia - a condition where bone marrow does not produce sufficient new cells to replenish blood cells.
SBE subacute bacterial endocarditis - bacterial infection that produces growths on the cells lining the heart.
SBFT small bowel follow through - X-ray procedure usually following upper GI.
SBS short bowel syndrome - a malabsorption disorder caused by either the surgical removal of the small intestine or the loss of its absorptive function due to diseases.
SCr serum creatinine - most widely used test to assess kidney function.
SEM systolic ejection murmur - murmurs are abnormal heart sounds that are produced as a result of turbulent blood flow, which is sufficient to produce audible noise. timing refers to whether the murmur is a systolic or diastolic murmur.
SGA small for gestational age - babies are those whose birth weight lies below the 10th percentile for that gestational age.
SGGT serum gamma glutamyl transpeptidase - is a determinant of insulin resistance.
SGOT serum glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase - an enzyme that is normally present in liver and heart cells.
SGPT serum glutamic pyruvic transaminase - an enzyme that is normally present in liver and heart cells.
SIADH syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone - results in the inability to put out dilute urine, perturbs fluid (and electrolyte) balance, and causes nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps, confusion and convulsions.
sig write on label
SIMV synchronized intermittent mandatory ventilation - a method of partial ventilatory support to facilitate liberation from mechanical ventilation.
sl sublingual - literally "under the tongue", from Latin, refers to a pharmacological route of administration in which certain drugs are entered directly into the bloodstream via absorption under the tongue.
SLE systemic lupus erythematosus - a condition of chronic inflammation caused by an autoimmune disease.
SMO slips made out.
SNRI's Serotonin–norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors - a class of antidepressant drugs used in the treatment of major depression and other mood disorders. They are also used to treat anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), chronic neuropathic pain, fibromyalgia syndrome (FM), and for the relief of menopausal symptoms.
SOAP subjective, objective, assessment, plan
SOB shortness of breath
SQ subcutaneous - the layer of tissue directly underlying the cutis. It is mainly composed of adipose tissue.
ss one-half
SSRI selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors - a class of antidepressants used in the treatment of depression, anxiety disorders and some personality disorders.
STAT immediately
SVD spontaneous vaginal delivery - without the aid of instruments.
Sx symptoms - a sensation or change in health function experienced by a patient.

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T
T&C type and cross - blood typing is a test to classify blood by determining the absence or presence of antigens on the red blood cells and the presence or absence of antibodies to these antigens in the serum.
TAH total abdominal hysterectomy - surgical removal of the uterus, resulting in the inability to become pregnant done through the abdomen.
T&H type and hold - a change in blood orders significantly reduced the number of unnecessary crossmatches and the amount of wasted outdated blood in our institution.
TB tuberculosis - a common and deadly infectious disease caused by the mycobacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis or Mycobacterium bovis.
TBG thyroxine binding globulin - one of three proteins (along with transthyretin and albumin) responsible for carrying the thyroid hormones thyroxine and triiodothyronine in the bloodstream.
TdT terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase - a specialized DNA polymerase expressed in immature, pre-B, pre-T lymphoid cells, and acute lymphoblastic leukemia/lymphoma cells.
TIA transient ischemic attack - a sudden focal loss oneef neurologic function with complete recovery usually within 24 hours; caused by a brief period of inadequate perfusion in a portion of the territory of the carotid or vertebral basilar arteries.
TIBC total iron binding capacity - a medical laboratory test. The test measures the extent to which iron-binding sites in the serum can be saturated.
tid three times a day
TIG tetanus immune globulin - used to prevent tetanus infection (also known as lockjaw). Tetanus is a serious illness that causes convulsions (seizures) and severe muscle spasms that can be strong enough to cause bone fractures of the spine. Tetanus causes death in 30 to 40 percent of cases.
TKO to keep open
TLC total lung capacity - the volume of gas contained in the lung after a full inhalation.
TMJ temporomandibular joint disorder - an umbrella term covering acute or chronic inflammation of the temporomandibular joint, which connects the lower jaw to the skull.
TNTC too numerous to count
TO telephone order
TOPV trivalent oral polio vaccine - which means that it contains live attenuated strains of the three serotypes of poliovirus.
TPN total parenteral nutrition - the practice of feeding a person intravenously, circumventing the gut.
TSH thyroid stimulating hormone - a hormone synthesized and secreted by thyrotrope cells in the anterior pituitary gland which regulates the endocrine function of the thyroid gland.
TT thrombin time - a coagulation assay which is usually performed in order to detect for the therapeutic level of the anticoagulant Heparin.
TTP thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura - a rare disorder of the blood coagulation system.
TU tuberculin units - biologic activity of tuberculin.
TUR transurethral resection - a urological operation. It is used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia.
TURBT transurethral resection bladder tumors - biopsy and/or removal of the tumor. This procedure, called "transurethral resection of bladder tumor," is accomplished using cystoscopes; therefore there are no surgical incisions.
TURP transurethral resection of prostate - during transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP), an instrument is inserted up the urethra to remove the section of the prostate that is blocking urine flow.
TV tidal volume - volume of air inspired or expired in a single breath during regular breathing.
TVH total vaginal hysterectomy - is surgical removal of the uterus through an incision in the vagina. The ovaries and other organs may also be removed.
tw twice a week
Tx treatment - an act or manner of treating.

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U
UA urinalysis - an array of tests performed on urine and one of the most common methods of medical diagnosis.
UAC uric acid - an organic compound of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and hydrogen with the formula C5H4N4O3.
UAO upper airway obstruction - a respiratory problem caused by increased resistance in the bronchioles that reduces the amount of air inhaled in each breath and the oxygen that reaches the pulmonary arteries.
UBD universal blood donor - individuals with blood type O negative blood are often called universal blood donors.
UC ulcerative colitis - a form of inflammatory bowel disease.
ud as directed
UFH unfractionated heparin - commonly used in patients with massive pulmonary embolism, for patients who are unstable or may require interventional procedures or thrombolysis.
UGI upper gastrointestinal - also called the digestive tract, alimentary canal, or gut, is the system of organs within multicellular animals that takes in food, digests it to extract energy and nutrients, and expels the remaining waste.
URI upper respiratory infection - is the illness caused by an acute infection which involves the upper respiratory tract: nose, sinuses, pharynx, larynx, or bronchi.
URQ upper right quadrant - the abdomen is usually divided into 4 quadrants: right-upper quadrant, left-upper quadrant, right-lower quadrant, and left-lower quadrant.
US ultrasonography - an ultrasound-based diagnostic imaging technique used to visualize muscles and internal organs, their size, structures and possible pathologies or lesions.
UTI urinary tract infection - a bacterial infection that affects any part of the urinary tract.
UUN urinary urea nitrogen - measures the amount of urea in the urine.
UVA ultraviolet A light - ultraviolet radiation from 320 to 400 nm that causes skin tanning but is very weakly sunburn-producing and carcinogenic.

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V
VAD venous access device - they allow medications to be delivered directly into larger veins, are less likely to clot, and can be left in for long periods.
VC vital capacity - is the maximum volume of air that a person can exhale after maximum inhalation.
VCT venous clotting time - measurement for determining amount of venous (blood vessel) blood clots.
VCUG voiding cystourethrogram - is an x-ray examination of a child's bladder and lower urinary tract that uses a special form of x-ray called fluoroscopy and a contrast material.
VD venereal disease - sexually transmitted disease.
VDRL venereal disease research laboratory - test for syphilis
VO verbal or voice order
VRE vancomycin-resistant enterococcus - a group of bacterial species of the genus Enterococcus which are resistant to the antibiotic Vancomycin.
VSS vital signs stable - basic body functions are normal.
VT ventricular tachycardia - a fast rhythm that originates in one of the ventricles of the heart.
VV varicose veins - veins that have become enlarged and twisted.
VW vessel wall - walls of the blood vessel.
VWD von Willebrand's disease - the most common hereditary coagulation abnormality described in humans, although it can also be acquired as a result of other medical conditions.
VZV varicella zoster virus - also known as human herpes virus 3 (HHV-3), is one of the eight herpes viruses known to affect humans (and other vertebrates).

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W
WB whole blood - a highly specialized circulating tissue consisting of several types of cells suspended in a fluid medium known as plasma.
WBC white blood cell - cells which form a component of the blood.
WBR whole body radiation - testing the whole body with radiation.
WD well developed
WF white female
WIA wounded in action
WID widow, widower
WM white male
WN well nourished
WNL within normal limits
WO written order
WOP without pain
WP whirlpool - bathtubs and spas with massaging jets.
WPW wolff-parkinson-white - a syndrome of pre-excitation of the ventricles of the heart due to an accessory pathway known as the Bundle of Kent.
W-T-D wet to dry
W/U workup

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X
X2d times 2 days
XI eleven
XII twelve
XL extended release
XM crossmatch
XMM xeromammography - a photoelectric method of recording an x-ray image on a coated metal plate, using low-energy photon beams, long exposure time, and dry chemical developers.
XOM extraocular movements
XRT x-ray therapy (radiation therapy)
XS excessive
XULN times upper limit of normal

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Y
YF yellow fever - (also called yellow jack, black vomit or vomito negro, or sometimes American Plague) is an acute viral disease.
YLC youngest living child
yo years old
YOB year of birth
yr year
ytd year to date

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Z
ZDV zidovudine - an antiretroviral drug, the first approved for treatment of HIV.
ZE zollinger-ellison syndrome - a disorder where increased levels of the hormone gastrin are produced, causing the stomach to produce excess hydrochloric acid.
Z-ESR zeta erythrocyte sedimentation rate - rate at which erythrocytes precipitate out from a well-mixed specimen of venous blood, measured by the distance the top of the column of erythrocytes falls in a given time interval under specified conditions.
Zn zinc - is an important trace mineral. This element is second only to iron in its concentration in the body.
ZnO zinc oxide - a preparation of zinc oxide and starch in white petrolatum, used topically as an astringent and skin protectant.
ZSB zero stools since birth
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