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Abreviations for Medical and Scientific terms

Some of the most frequently used abbreviations have been listed here. Notice that some have more than one interpretation.
It is important to know the abbreviations approved by your institution, use only those, and never make up your
own abbreviations. If there is any chance of confusion, write out the words.
ABC airway, breathing, circulation
ABG arterial blood gas
ABX antibiotics
ACh acetylcholine
ACTH adrenocorticotropic hormone
AD Alzheimer’s disease
ADH antidiuretic hormone
AIDS acquired immunodeficiency syndrome
ALS amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
ANS autonomic nervous system
ARDS acute respiratory distress syndrome
ARF acute renal failure (acute respiratory
ATP adenosine triphosphate
AV atrioventricular
BAL blood alcohol level
BBB blood-brain barrier
BMR basal metabolic rate
BP blood pressure
BPH benign prostatic hypertrophy
BPM beats per minute
BS blood sugar (bowel sounds, breath sounds)
BUN blood urea nitrogen
CA cancer
CAD coronary artery disease
CAPD continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis
CBC complete blood count
CC creatinine clearance (critical condition,
chief complaint)
CCCC closed-chest cardiac compression
CF cystic fibrosis (cardiac failure)
CHD coronary heart disease (congenital heart
CHF congestive heart failure
CI cardiac insufficiency (cerebral infarction)
CNS central nervous system
CO cardiac output; carbon monoxide
COPD chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
CP cerebral palsy
CPR cardiopulmonary resuscitation
CRF chronic renal failure
C-section cesarean section
CSF cerebrospinal fluid
CT (CAT) computed (axial) tomography
CVA cerebrovascular accident
CVP central venous pressure
CVS chorionic villus sampling
D & C dilation and curettage
DM diabetes mellitus (diastolic murmur)
DMD Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy
DNA deoxyribonucleic acid
DNR do not resuscitate
DOA date of admission (dead on arrival)
DRG diagnosis-related group
Dx diagnosis
EBV Epstein-Barr virus
ECF extracellular fluid (extended care facility)
ECG (EKG) electrocardiogram
EDV end-diastolic volume
EEG electroencephalogram
EFM electronic fetal monitoring
EP ectopic pregnancy
ER endoplasmic reticulum
ERT estrogen replacement therapy
ESR erythrocyte sedimentation rate
ESRD end-stage renal disease
ESV end-systolic volume
FAS fetal alcohol syndrome
FBG fasting blood glucose
FOBT fecal occult blood testing
FSH follicle-stimulating hormone
FUO fever of unknown origin
Fx fracture
GB gallbladder
GFR glomerular filtration rate
GH growth hormone
GI gastrointestinal
HAV hepatitis A virus
Hb hemoglobin
HBV hepatitis B virus
HCG human chorionic gonadotropin

Hct hematocrit
HCV hepatitis C virus
HDL high-density lipoprotein
HLA human leukocyte antigen
HR heart rate
HRT hormone replacement therapy
HSV herpes simplex virus
HTN hypertension
Hx history
IBD inflammatory bowel disease
IBS irritable bowel syndrome
ICF intracellular fluid
ICP intracranial pressure
ICU intensive care unit
ID intradermal
IDDM insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus
Ig immunoglobulin
IM intramuscular
IV intravenous
LA left atrium
LDL low-density lipoprotein
LH luteinizing hormone
LLQ left lower quadrant
LUQ left upper quadrant
LV left ventricle
mEq/L milliequivalents per liter
MG myasthenia gravis
MI myocardial infarction
mL milliliter
mm3 cubic millimeter
mmHg millimeters of mercury
MRI magnetic resonance imaging
MS multiple sclerosis
MSOF multisystem organ failure
MVP mitral valve prolapse
NGU non-gonococcal urethritis
NIDDM non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus
NPN non-protein nitrogen
OC oral contraceptive
OTC over the counter
PE pulmonary embolism
PET positron emission tomography
PG prostaglandin
PID pelvic inflammatory disease
PKU phenylketonuria
PMN polymorphonuclear leukocyte
PMS premenstrual syndrome
PNS peripheral nervous system
PT prothrombin time (patient, patient
teaching, physical therapy)
PTH parathyroid hormone
PTT partial thromboplastin time
PVC premature ventricular contraction
RA right atrium
RBC red blood cell
RBM red bone marrow
RDA recommended daily allowance
RDS respiratory distress syndrome
REM rapid eye movement
RE(S) reticuloendothelial (system)
Rh Rhesus
RIA radioimmunoassay
RLQ right lower quadrant
RNA ribonucleic acid
RUQ right upper quadrant
RV right ventricle
Rx prescription
SA sinoatrial
SC subcutaneous
SCID severe combined immunodeficiency
SF synovial fluid
SIDS sudden infant death syndrome
SLE systemic lupus erythematosus
SPF sun protection factor
S/S (sx) signs and symptoms
STD sexually transmitted disease
SV stroke volume
T3 triiodothyronine
T4 thyroxine
TIA transient ischemic attack
TMJ temporomandibular joint
t-PA tissue plasminogen activator
TPN total parenteral nutrition
TSH thyroid-stimulating hormone
TSS toxic shock syndrome
Tx treatment
UA urinalysis
URI upper respiratory infection
US ultrasound
UTI urinary tract infection
UV ultraviolet
VPC ventricular premature contraction
VD venereal disease
VS vital signs
WBC white blood cell
WNL within normal limits


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