ABBREVIATIONS USED IN MEDICINE

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

Abbreviation Meaning
A Accommodation; acetum; angström unit; anode; anterior
a Accommodation; ampere; anterior; area
A2 Aortic second sound
ABG Arterial blood gas
ABO Three basic blood groups
AC Alternating current; air conduction; axiocervical; adrenal cortex
acc. Accommodation
ACE Adrenocortical extract
ACh Acetylcholine
ACH Adrenocortical hormone
ACTH Adrenocorticotropic hormone
AD Right ear (auris dextra)
add Add to (adde)
ADH Antidiuretic hormone
ADL Activities of daily living
ADS Antidiuretic substance
A/G; A-G ratio Albumin-globulin ratio
Ag Silver, antigen
ah Hypermetropic astigmatism
AHF Antihemophilic factor
AIDS Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome
aj Ankle jerk
Al Aluminum
Alb Albumin
ALH Combined sex hormone of the anterior lobe of the hypophysis
ALT Alanine aminotransferase (formerly SGPT)
alt. dieb. Every other day (alternis diebus)
alt. hor. Alternate hours (alternis horis)
alt. noct. Alternate nights (alternis noctes)
Am Mixed astigmatism
AM Morning
a.m.a. Against medical advice
amp Ampere
ana So much of each, or
anat Anatomy or anatomic
AO Anodal opening; atrioventricular valve openings
AOP Anodal opening picture
AOS Anodal opening sound
A-P; AP; A/P Anterior-posterior
A.P. Anterior pituitary gland
APA Antipernicious anemia factor
AQ Achievement quotient
AR Alarm reaction
ARC Anomalous retinal correspondence; AIDS-related complex
ARD Acute respiratory disease
arg Silver
As Arsenic
As. Astigmatism
AS Left ear (auris sinistra)
ASD Atrial septal defect
AsH Hypermetropic astigmatism
ASHD Arteriosclerotic heart disease
AsM Myopic astigmatism
ASS Anterior superior spine
AST Aspartate aminotransferase (formerly SGOT)
Ast Astigmatism
ATS Anxiety tension state; antitetanic serum
AU Angström unit
Au Gold
A-V;AV; A/V Arteriovenous; atrioventricular
Av Average or avoirdupois
ax Axis


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Abbreviation Meaning
B Boron; bacillus
Ba Barium
BAC Buccoaxiocervical
Bact Bacterium
BBB Blood-brain barrier
BBT Basal body temperature
BE Barium enema
Be Beryllium
BFP Biologically false positivity (in syphilis tests)
Bi Bismuth
Bib Drink
bid; b.i.d. Twice a day (bis in die)
BM Bowel movement
BMR Basal metabolic rate
BP Blood pressure; buccopulpal
bp Boiling point
BPH Benign prostatic hypertrophy
BRP Bathroom privileges
BSA Body surface area
BSP Bromsulphalein
BUN Blood urea nitrogen


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Abbreviation Meaning
C Carbon; centigrade; Celsius
c With
Calb Albumin clearance
Ccr Creatinine clearance
Cin Inulin clearance
CA Chronologic age; cervicoaxial
Ca Calcium, cancer, carcinoma
CABS Coronary artery bypass surgery
CaCO3 Calcium carbonate
Cal Large calorie
cal Small calorie
CAT Computerized (axial) tomography scan
CBC or cbc Complete blood count
CC Chief complaint
cc Cubic centimeter
CCI4 Carbon tetrachloride
CCU Coronary care unit; critical care unit
cf Compare or bring together
CFT Complement-fixation test
Cg; Cgm Centigram
CH Crown-heel (length of fetus)
CHCL3 Chloroform
CH3COOH Acetic acid
ChE Cholinesterase
CHF Congestive heart failure
C5H4N4O3 Uric acid
C2H6O Ethyl alcohol
CH2O Formaldehyde
CH4O Methyl alcohol
Cl Chlorine
cm Centimeter
CMR Cerebral metabolic rate
CNS Central nervous system
c/o Complains of
CO Carbon monoxide
CO2 Carbon dioxide
Co Cobalt
CPC Clinicopathologic conference
CPD Cephalopelvic disproportion
CPR Cardiopulmonary resuscitation
CR Crown-rump length (length of fetus)
CSF Cerebrospinal fluid
CSM Cerebrospinal meningitis
CT Computed tomography
Cu Copper
CuSO4 Copper sulfate
CVA Cerebrovascular accident; costovertebral angle
CVP Central venous pressure
cyl Cylinder


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Abbreviation Meaning
D Dose; vitamin D; right (dexter)
DAH Disordered action of the heart
D & C Dilation (dilatation) and curettage
DC Direct current
DCA Deoxycorticosterone acetate
Dcg Degeneration; degree
dg Decigram
diff Differential blood count
dil Dilute or dissolve
dim One half
DJD Degenerative joint disease
dl Deciliter
DNA Deoxyribonucleic acid
DOA Dead on arrival
dr Dram
DTR Deep tendon reflex
Dx Diagnosis


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Abbreviation Meaning
E Eye
EAHF Eczema, asthma, and hayfever
ECG Electrocardiogram, electrocardiograph
ECT Electroconvulsive therapy
ED Erythema dose, effective dose
ED50 Median effective dose
EDC Estimated date of confinement
EDD Estimated date of delivery
EEG Electroencephalogram, electroencephalograph
EENT Eye, ear, nose, and throat
EKG Electrocardiogram, electrocardiograph
Em Emmetropia
EMB Eosin-methylene blue
EMC Encephalomyocarditis
EMF Erythrocyte maturation factor
EMG Electromyogram
EMS Emergency medical service
ENT Ear, nose, and throat
EOM Extraocular movement
EPR Electrophrenic respiration
ER Emergency room (hospital); external resistance
ERG Electroretinogram
ERPF Effective renal plasma flow
ESR Erythrocyte sedimentation rate
EST Electroshock therapy
Et Ethyl
ext Extract


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Abbreviation Meaning
F Fahrenheit; field of vision; formula
FA Fatty acid
FANA Fluorescent antinuclear antibody test
F & R Force and rhythm (pulse)
FBS Fasting blood sugar
FD Fatal dose; focal distance
Fe Iron
FeCl3 Ferric chloride
Fl Fluid
fld Fluid
fl dr Fluid dram
fl oz Fluid ounce
FR Flocculation reaction
FSH Follicle-stimulating hormone
ft Foot
FUO Fever of unknown origin


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Abbreviation Meaning
Gm; g; gm Gram
GA Gingivoaxial
Galv Galvanic
GB Gallbladder
GBS Gallbladder series
GC Gonococcus or gonorrheal
GFR Glomerular filtration rate
GH Growth hormone
GI Gastrointestinal
GL Greatest length (small flexed embryo)
GLA Gingivolinguoaxial
GP General practitioner; general paresis
gr Grain
Grad By degrees (gradatim)
Grav I, II, III, etc. Pregnancy one, two, three, etc. (gravida)
GSW Gunshot wound
gt Drop (gutta)
GTT Glucose tolerance test
gtt Drops (guttae)
GU Genitourinary
Gyn Gynecology


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Abbreviation Meaning
H Hydrogen
H+ Hydrogen ion
H & E Hematoxylin and eosin stain
Hb; Hgb Hemoglobin
H3BO3 Boric acid
HC Hospital corps
HCG Human chorionic gonadotropin
HCHO Formaldehyde
HCl Hydrochloric acid
HCN Hydrocyanic acid
H2CO3 Carbonic acid
HCT Hematocrit
HD Hearing distance
HDL High density lipoprotein
HDLW Distance at which a watch is heard by the left ear
HDRW Distance at which a watch is heard by the right ear
He Helium
HEENT Head, eye, ear, hose, and throat
Hg Mercury
Hgb Hemoglobin
HIV Human immunodeficiency (AIDS) virus
HNO3 Nitric acid
H2O Water
H2O2 Hydrogen peroxide
HOP High oxygen pressure
H2SO4 Sulfuric acid
Ht Total hyperopia
Hy Hyperopia


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Abbreviation Meaning
I Iodine
131I Radioactive isotope of iodine (atomic weight 131)
132I Radioactive isotope of iodine (atomic weight 132)
IB Inclusion body
IBW Ideal body weight
ICP Intracranial pressure
ICS Intercostal space
ICSH Interstitial cell-stimulating hormone
ICT Inflammation of connective tissue
ICU Intensive care unit
Id. The same (idem)
IH Infectious hepatitis
IM Intramuscular; infectious mononucleosis
IOP Intraocular pressure
IQ Intelligence quotient
IS Intercostal space
IU Immunizing unit
IV Intravenous
IVP Intravenous pyelogram, intravenous push
IVT Intravenous transfusion
IVU Intravenous urogram/urography


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Abbreviation Meaning
K Potassium
k Constant
Ka Cathode or kathode
KBr Potassium bromide
kc Kilocycle
KCl Potassium chloride
kev Kilo electron volts
kg Kilogram
KI Potassium iodide
kj Knee jerk
km Kilometer
KOH Potassium hydroxide
KUB Kidney, ureter, and bladder
kv Kilovolt
kw Kilowatt


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Abbreviation Meaning
L Left; liter; length; lumbar; lethal; pound
L & A Light and accommodation
lb Pound (libra)
LB Large bowel (x-ray film)
LCM Left costal margin
LD Lethal dose; perception of light difference
LDL Low density lipoprotein
LE Lupus erythematosus
l.e.s. Local excitatory state
LFD Least fatal dose of a toxin
LH Luteinizing hormone
Li Lithium
LIF Left iliac fossa
lig Ligament
Liq Liquor
LLL Left lower lobe
LLQ Left lower quadrant
LMP Last menstrual period
LP Lumbar puncture
LPF Leukocytosis-promoting factor
LTH Luteotrophic hormone
LUL Left upper lobe
LUQ Left upper quadrant
LV Left ventricle
L & W Living and well


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Abbreviation Meaning
M Myopia; meter; muscle; thousand
m Meter
MA Mental age
Mag Large (magnus)
MAP Mean arterial pressure
MBD Minimal brain dysfunction
mc; mCi Millicurie
µc Microcurie
mcg Microgram
MCH Mean corpuscular hemoglobin
MCHC Mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration
MCV Mean corpuscular volume
Me Methyl
MED Minimal erythema dose; minimal effective dose
mEq Milliequivalent
mEq/L Milliequivalent per liter
ME ratio Myeloid-erythroid ratio
Mg Magnesium
mg Milligram
µg Microgram
MHD Minimal hemolytic dose
m Hg Millimeters of mercury
MI Myocardial infarction
MID Minimum infective dose
ML Midline
ml Milliliter
MLD Median or minimum lethal dose
MM Mucous membrane
mm Millimeter, muscles
mmm Millimicron
Millimicron
µµ Micromicron
Mn Manganese
mN Millinormal
MRI Magnetic resonance imaging
MS Multiple sclerosis
MSL Midsternal line
MT Medical technologist; membrane tympani
mu Mouse unit
MW Molecular weight
My Myopia


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Abbreviation Meaning
N Nitrogen
n Normal
Na Sodium
NaBr Sodium bromide
NaCl Sodium chloride
Na2C2O4 Sodium oxalate
Na2CO3 Sodium carbonate
NAD No appreciable disease
NaF Sodium fluoride
NaHCO3 Sodium bicarbonate
Na2HPO4 Sodium phosphate
NAI Sodium iodide
NaNO3 Sodium nitrate
Na2O2 Sodium peroxide
NaOH Sodium hydroxide
Na2SO4 Sodium sulfate
NCA Neurocirculatory asthenia
Ne Neon
NH3 Ammonia
Ni Nickel
NIH National Institutes of Health
NMR Nuclear magnetic resonance
NPN Nonprotein nitrogen
NPO; n.p.o. Nothing by mouth (non per os)
NRC Normal retinal correspondence
NTP Normal temperature and pressure
NYD Not yet diagnosed


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Abbreviation Meaning
O Oxygen; oculus; pint
O2 Oxygen; both eyes
O3 Ozone
OB Obstetrics
OBS Organic brain syndrome
OD Right eye (oculus dexter); optical density
OPD Outpatient department
OR Operating room
ORIF Open reduction and internal fixation
OS Left eye (oculus sinister)
Os Osmium
OT Occupational therapy
OTD Organ tolerance dose
OU Each eye (oculus uterque)
oz Ounce


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Abbreviation Meaning
P Phosphorus; pulse; pupil
P2 Pulmonic second sound
P-A; P/A; PA Posterior-anterior
P & A Percussion and auscultation
PAB; PABA Para-aminobenzoic acid
Pap test Papanicolaou smear
Para I, II, III, etc. Unipara, bipara, tripara, etc.
PAS; PASA Para-aminosalicylic acid
Pb Lead
PBi Protein-bound iodine
PCV Packed cell volume
PD Interpupillary distance
pd Prism diopter; pupillary distance
PDA Patent ductus arteriosus
PDR Physician's Desk Reference
PE Physical examination
PEG Pneumoencephalography
PET Positron emission tomography
PFF Pteroylglutamic acid (folic acid)
PH Past history
pH Hydrogen ion concentration (alkalinity and acidity in urine and blood analysis)
Pharm; Phar. Pharmacy
PI Previous illness; protamine insulin
PID Pelvic inflammatory disease
PK Psychokinesis
PKU Phenylketonuria
PL Light perception
PM Postmortem; evening
PMB Polymorphonuclear basophil leukocytes
PME Polymorphonuclear eosinophil leukocytes
PMI Point of maximal impulse
PMN Polymorphonuclear neutrophil leukocytes (polys)
PMS Premenstrual syndrome
PN Percussion note
PNH Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria
PO; p.o. Orally (per os)
PPD Purified protein derivative (TB test)
Pr Presbyopia; prism
PRN, p.r.n. As required (pro re nata)
pro time Prothrombin time
PSP Phenolsulfonphthalein
pt Pint
Pt Platinum; patient
PT Prothrombin time; physical therapy
PTA Plasma thromboplastin antecedent
PTC Plasma thromboplastin component
PTT Partial thromboplastin time
Pu Plutonium
PUO Pyrexia of unknown origin
Px Pneumothorax
PZI Protamine zinc insulin


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Abbreviation Meaning
Q Electric quantity
qns Quantity not sufficient
qt Quart
Quat Four (quattuor)


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Abbreviation Meaning
R Respiration; right; Rickettsia; roentgen
RA Rheumatoid arthritis
Ra Radium
rad Unit of measurement of the absorbed dose of ionizing radiation; root
RAI Radioactive iodine
RAIU Radioactive iodine uptake
RBC; rbc Red blood cell; red blood count
RCD Relative cardiac dullness
RCM Right costal margin
RE Right eye; reticuloendothelial tissue or cell
Re Rhenium
Rect Rectified
Reg umb Umbilical region
RES Reticuloendothelial system
Rh Symbol of rhesus factor; symbol for rhodium
RhA Rheumatoid arthritis
RHD Relative hepatic dullness, rheumatic heart disease
RLL Right lower lobe
RLQ Right lower quadrant
RM Respiratory movement
RML Right middle lobe of lung
Rn Radon
RNA Ribonucleic acid
R/O Rule out
RPF Renal plasma flow
RPM; rpm Revolutions per minute
RPS Renal pressor substance
RQ Respiratory quotient
RT Reading test
RU Rat unit
RUL Right upper lobe
RUQ Right upper quadrant
Rx Take


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Abbreviation Meaning
S Sulfur
S. Sacral
S-A; S/A; SA Sinoatrial
SAS Sodium acetate solution
SB Small bowel (x-ray film), sternal border
Sb Antimony
SC Closure of semilunar valves
Se Selenium
SD Skin dose
Sed rate Sedimentation rate
SGOT Serum glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase
SGPT Serum glutamic pyruvic transaminase
SH Serum hepatitis
S.I. Soluble insulin
Si Silicon
SIDS Sudden infant death syndrome
Sn Tin
SOB Shortness of breath
sol Solution, dissolved
SP Spirit
sp. gr., SG, s.g. Specific gravity
sph Spherical
SPI Serum precipitable iodine
spir Spirit
SR Sedimentation rate
Sr Strontium
SSS Specific soluble substance, sick sinus syndrome
sss Layer upon layer (stratum super stratum)
St Let it stand (stet; stent)
Staph Staphylococcus
stat Immediately (statim)
STD Sexually transmitted disease, skin test dose
STH Somatotrophic hormone
Strep Streptococcus
STS Serologic test for syphilis
STU Skin test unit
sv Alcoholic spirit (spiritus vini)
Sym Symmetrical


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Abbreviation Meaning
T Temperature; thoracic
t Temporal
T3 Triiodothyronine
T4 Thyroxine
TA Toxin-antitoxin
Ta Tantalum
T & A Tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy
TAB Vaccine against typhoid, paratyphoid A and B
Tab Tablet
TAH Total abdominal hysterectomy
TAM Toxoid-antitoxoid mixture
TAT Toxin-antitoxin, tetanus antitoxin
TB Tuberculin; tuberculosis; tubercle bacillus
Tb Terbium
TCA Tetrachloracetic acid
Te Tellurium; tetanus
TEM Triethylene melamine
Th Thorium
TIA Transient ischemic attack
TIBC Total iron-binding capacity
Tl Thulium; symbol for maximal tubular excretory capacity (kidneys)
TNT Trinitrotoluene
TNTC Too numerous to mention
TP Tuberculin precipitation
TPI Treponema pallidum immobilization test for syphilis
TPR Temperature, pulse, and respiration
tr Tincture
Trans D Transverse diameter
TRU Turbidity reducing unit
TS Test solution
TSH Thyroid-stimulating hormone
TSP Trisodium phosphate
TST Triple sugar iron test
TUR; TURP Transurethral resection


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Abbreviation Meaning
U Uranium; unit
UA Urinalysis
UBI Ultraviolet blood irradiation
UIBC Unsaturated iron-binding capacity
Umb; umb Umbilicus
URI Upper respiratory infection
US Ultrasonic
USP U.S. Pharmacopeia


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Abbreviation Meaning
V Vanadium; vision; visual acuity
v Volt
VA Visual acuity
V & T Volume and tension
VC Vital capacity
VD Venereal disease
VDA Visual discriminatory acuity
VDG Venereal disease—gonorrhea
VDM Vasodepressor material
VDRL Venereal Disease Research Laboratories
(sometimes used loosely to mean venereal disease report)
VDS Venereal disease—syphilis
VEM Vasoexcitor material
Vf Field of vision
VHD Valvular heart disease
VIA Virus inactivating agent
VLDL Very low density lipoprotein
VMA Vanillylmandelic acid
VR Vocal resonance
VS Volumetric solution
Vs Venisection
VsB Bleeding in arm (venaesectio brachii)
VSD Ventricular septal defect
VW Vessel wall


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Abbreviation Meaning
W Tungsten
w Watt
WBC; wbc White blood cell; white blood count
WD Well developed
WL Wavelength
WN Well nourished
WR Wassermann reaction
wt Weight


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Abbreviation Meaning
X-ray Roentgen ray


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Abbreviation Meaning
Z Symbol for atomic number
Zn Zinc
Zz Ginger


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