List of Common Medical Abbreviations, Acronyms, Terms: Nursing, NCLEX, USMLE — EZmed (2024)

Medical Abbreviations

Medical abbreviations and acronyms are frequently used in the healthcare field.

It is important to understand them in order to optimize charting, communication, and patient care.

Abbreviations are commonly used for pharmacy prescriptions (frequency of drug administration such as once a day, twice a day, as needed, etc), blood work, labs, tests, imaging, anatomy (left eye, right eye, abdominal quadrants, etc) and much more.

This lecture will provide you with a list of common medical abbreviations and terms for the following categories:

  • Charting

  • Vital Signs

  • Labs

  • Imaging

  • Pharmacy

  • Medications

  • Diagnosis/Conditions

  • Anatomy

  • Treatment/Care

Let’s get started!

Enjoy all of the EZmed medical terminology lectures below!

Medical Abbreviations MADE EASY! - Currently Viewing

Medical Prefixes MADE EASY!

Medical Root Words MADE EASY! - Part I

Medical Root Words MADE EASY! - Part II

Medical Root Words MADE EASY! - Part III

Medical Suffixes MADE EASY!

Charting Abbreviations

Let’s begin with common abbreviations you might see associated with charting.

AMA = Against Medical Advice

DC = Discharge or Discontinue

DNR = Do Not Resuscitate

H&P = History & Physical

HPI = History of Present Illness

H/O = History Of

NKDA = No Known Drug Allergies

PCP = Primary Care Physician

A&O = Alert and Oriented

WNL = Within Normal Limits

RF = Risk Factors

Sx = Symptoms

Dx = Diagnosis

Tx = Treatment

NAD = No Acute Distress

UOP = Urine Output

I&O = Intake and Output

C/O = Complaint Of

CC = Chief Complaint

ROS = Review of Systems

DDx = Differential Diagnosis

MDM = Medical Decision Making

IBW = Ideal Body Weight

DOB = Date of Birth

ICU = Intensive Care Unit

MVA = Motor Vehicle Accident

GSW = Gunshot Wound

Fx = Fracture

EBL = Estimated Blood Loss

BM = Bowel Movement

CP = Chest Pain

SOB = Shortness of Breath

DOE = Dyspnea on Exertion

STAT = Immediately

CV = Cardiovascular

GI = Gastrointestinal

ID = Infectious Disease

S/P = Status Post

FB = Foreign Body

ALS or BLS = Advanced or Basic Life Support

Lab Abbreviations

The following are common lab abbreviations.

CBC = Complete Blood Count

WBC = White Blood Cells

RBC = Red Blood Cells

Plt = Platelets

BMP = Basic Metabolic Panel

CMP = Comprehensive Metabolic Panel

LFT = Liver Function Test

H&H = Hemoglobin & Hematocrit

Hb or HGB = Hemoglobin

HCT = Hematocrit

Na = Sodium

K = Potassium

Ca = Calcium

UA = Urinalysis

ABG = Arterial Blood Gas

PT = Prothrombin Time

PTT = Partial Thromboplastin Time

INR = International Normalized Ratio

T&S = Type & Screen

T&C = Type & Cross

Imaging/Test Abbreviations

In addition to the labs above, there may also be imaging or other tests ordered for the patient.

Some of these abbreviations include:

CXR = Chest X-Ray

ABX = Abdominal X-Ray

US = Ultrasound

MRI = Magnetic Resonance Imaging

CT = Computed Tomography

EKG or ECG = Electrocardiogram

EEG = Electroencephalogram

KUB = Kidney, Ureter, and Bladder X-Ray

PFT = Pulmonary Function Test

Pharmacy Abbreviations

Let’s move on to abbreviations you might see associated with pharmacy.

Many of these are used for the frequency in which a medication is administered.

AC = Before Meals

PC = After Meals

The way you can remember AC vs PC is “A” comes before “P” in the alphabet.

So A means before meals, and P means after meals.

QD = Once Daily

BID = Twice Daily

TID = Three Times Daily

QID = Four Times Daily

QHS = Every Night at Bedtime

QAM = Every Morning

QPM = Every Evening

QOD = Every Other Day

QH = Once Every Hour

Q2H = Every 2 Hours

Q3H = Every 3 Hours

PRN = As Needed

PO = By Mouth

NPO = Nothing By Mouth

SC or SQ = Subcutaneous

IM = Intramuscular

IV = Intravenous

OTC = Over The Counter

Medication Abbreviations

Next we have abbreviations for different medications and drug names.

BB = Beta Blocker

CCB = Calcium Channel Blocker

ARB = Angiotensin II Receptor Blocker

ACEi = ACE Inhibitor

NTG = Nitroglycerin

ASA = Aspirin

ABX = Antibiotics

PCN = Penicillin

TPA = Tissue Plasminogen Activator

APAP = Acetaminophen

NS = Normal Saline

D5W = Dextrose 5% in Water

LR = Lactated Ringer’s

ETOH = Alcohol

HCTZ = Hydrochlorothiazide

MTX = Methotrexate

OCP = Oral Contraceptive Pill

TMP/SMX = Trimethoprim Sulfamethoxazole

MOM = Milk of Magnesia

PPI = Proton Pump Inhibitor

Diagnosis/Condition Abbreviations

The following are abbreviations for different diagnoses or conditions.

CAD = Coronary Artery Disease

HTN = Hypertension

DM = Diabetes Mellitus

CHF = Congestive Heart Failure

COPD = Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

MI = Myocardial Infarction

PE = Pulmonary Embolism

PNA = Pneumonia

TIA = Transient Ischemic Attack

CVA = Cerebrovascular Accident

ARDS = Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome

CKD = Chronic Kidney Disease

AKI = Acute Kidney Injury

ARF = Acute Renal Failure

ESRD = End Stage Renal Disease

CF = Cystic Fibrosis

CP = Cerebral Palsy

IBD = Inflammatory Bowel Disease

IBS = Irritable Bowel Syndrome

UC = Ulcerative Colitis

PUD = Peptic Ulcer Disease

GERD = Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

ICP = Intracranial Pressure

TBI = Traumatic Brain Injury

TGA = Transient Global Amnesia

UTI = Urinary Tract Infection

URI = Upper Respiratory Infection

RAD = Reactive Airway Disease

SBO = Small Bowel Obstruction

DVT = Deep Venous Thrombosis

RSV = Respiratory Syncytial Virus

VF = Ventricular Fibrillation

VT = Ventricular Tachycardia

Afib or AF = Atrial Fibrillation

PVC = Premature Ventricular Contraction

MS = Multiple Sclerosis

PD = Parkinson’s Disease

BPH = Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

RA = Rheumatoid Arthritis

OSA = Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Anatomy Abbreviations

The following are abbreviations associated with anatomy.

The abdomen can be divided into different quadrants, especially when referring to the location of abdominal pain or site of injury.

RUQ = Right Upper Quadrant

LUQ = Left Upper Quadrant

RLQ = Right Lower Quadrant

LLQ = Left Lower Quadrant

There are 4 chambers of the heart.

RA = Right Atrium

LA = Left Atrium

RV = Right Ventricle

LV = Left Ventricle

The 4 extremities can also be abbreviated as follows:

RUE = Right Upper Extremity

LUE = Left Upper Extremity

RLE = Right Lower Extremity

LLE = Left Lower Extremity

The abdomen can be abbreviated as follows:

ABD = Abdomen

The lungs can be divided into different fields.

LUL = Left Upper Lobe

LLL = Left Lower Lobe

RUL = Right Upper Lobe

RML = Right Middle Lobe

RLL = Right Lower Lobe

Miscellaneous Anatomical Abbreviations:

CBD = Common Bile Duct

OD = Right Eye

OS = Left Eye

OU = Both Eyes

HC = Head Circumference

Treatment/Care Abbreviations

Let’s wrap this up with abbreviations you might see associated with treatment or care.

Bx = Biopsy

ECMO = Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation

FNA = Fine Needle Aspiration

I&D = Incision & Drainage

PT = Physical Therapy

OT = Occupational Therapy

PEEP = Positive End Expiratory Pressure

CPAP = Continuous Positive Airway Pressure

BiPAP = Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure

CABG = Coronary Artery Bypass Graft

IVIG = Intravenous Immunoglobulin

ORIF = Open Reduction Internal Fixation

NGT = Nasogastric Tube

Pre-Op = Preoperative

Post-Op = Postoperative

POC = Point of Care

AKA = Above the Knee Amputation

BKA = Below the Knee Amputation

PPE = Personal Protective Equipment

IUP = Intrauterine Pregnancy

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List of Common Medical Abbreviations, Acronyms, Terms: Nursing, NCLEX, USMLE — EZmed (2024)

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