Glossary of terms

We use a lot of medical vernacular on this blog, and some of it may also be deemed ausenclature…as such we feel obliged to provide a glossary of medical acronyms and abbreviations (the real one) in addition to the Utopian College TLA dictionary!

Medical Acronyms and Abbreviations Table

AcronymDefinition
AAAabdominal aortic aneurysm
AbdoAbdomen
ABGarterial blood gas
ACalternating current
ACAAnterior cerebral artery
ACEangiotensin-converting enzyme
ACLSAdvanced cardiac life support
ACSAcute coronary syndrome
ACTHadrenocorticotrophic hormone
ADHAntidiuretic hormone
ADTadsorbed diphtheria and tetanus toxoid
AEDautomatic external defibrillator
AFAtrial fibrillation
AFBAcid-fast bacillus
AGAnion gap
AHDAdvance health directive
AIDSAcquired immunodeficiency syndrome
AIONAnterior ischaemic optic neuropathy
AKIAcute kidney injury
ALOCAltered level of consciousness
ALPAlkaline phosphatase
ALSAdvanced life support
ALTAlanine aminotransferase
AMIAcute myocardial infarction
AMPLEallergies, medications, past history, last meal, events preceding present injury
ANAantinuclear antibody
APAnteroposterior
APOAcute pulmonary oedema
aPTTActivated partial thromboplastin time
ARBAngiotensin-receptor blocker
ARDSAdult respiratory distress syndrome
ASDAtrial septal defect
ASTAspartate aminotransferase
ATLSAdvanced Trauma Life Support
ATNacute tubular necrosis
AVatrioventricular
b.d.bis die (twice daily)
BLSbasic life support
BNFBritish National Formulary
BPBlood pressure
BSABody surface area
BURPBackwards upwards rightwards pressure
CABGCoronary artery bypass graft
CADCoronary artery disease
CAGECut down? annoyed? guilty? eye opener?
CAPcommunity-acquired pneumonia
CBRchemical, biological, radiological
CCBcalcium-channel blocker
CCUCoronary care unit
CD4+Cluster designation (of antigen) 4+
CDADClostridium Difficile antibiotic-related diarrhoea
CDCCenters for disease control and prevention
CHSClassic heat stroke
CKCreatine kinase
CK-MBCreatine kinase MB isoenzymes
ClChloride
CLDChronic lung disease
CMVCytomegalovirus
CNSCentral nervous system
CO2Carbon Dioxide
COPDChronic obstructive pulmonary disease
CPAPContinuous positive airways pressure
CPRCardiopulmonary resuscitation
CPUChest pain unit
CRFChronic renal failure
CRPC reactive protein
CSFCerebrospinal fluid
CSMCarotid sinus massage
CSUCatheter specimen of urine
CTComputed tomography
CTGCardiotocograph
cTnICardiac troponin I
CTPAComputed tomography pulmonary angiogram
CTRCardiothoracic ratio
CVACerebrovascular accident (stroke)
CVCCentral venous cannula
CVLCentral venous line
CVPCentral venous pressure
CVSCardiovascular system
CXRChest X-ray
D&CDilation and curettage
DBPDiastolic blood pressure
DCDirect current
DCIDecompression illness
DHFDengue haemorrhagic fever
DIDiabetes insipidus
DICDisseminated intravascular coagulation
DKADiabetic ketoacidosis
DNADeoxyribonucleic acid
DNWDid not wait
DPLDiagnostic peritoneal lavage
DrABCDEDanger, Response, Airway, Breathing, Circulation, Disability, Environment
DUDuodenal ulcer
DVTDeep venous (vein) thrombosis
DVTdeep vein thrombosis
E-FASTExtended focused assessment for trauma
EBVEpstein-Barr virus
ECFExtracellular fluid
ECGElectrocardiogram
EDEmergency department
EDHExtradural haemorrhage
EDTAEdetate disodium
EEGElectroencephalography
eGFREstimated glomerular filtration rate
EHSExertion heat stroke
EKGElectrocardiogram
ELFTsElectrolytes and liver function tests
ELISAEnzyme-linked immunosorbent assay
EMDElectromechanical disassociation
EMSTEarly management of severe trauma
ENDOEndocrine
ENTEar, nose and throat
EOMExtraocular muscles
EPAEnduring power of attorney
EPEUEarly pregnancy evaluation unit
EREmergency room
ERCPEndoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography
ERPCEvacuation of retained products of conception
ESRErythrocyte sedimentation rate
ESTExercise stress test
ETEndotracheal
ETCO2End-tidal carbon dioxide
FASTFocused assessment by sonography for trauma
FBCFull blood count
FBPFull blood picture
FDPFibrin degradation products
FEV1Forced expiratory volume in 1 second
FFPFresh frozen plasma
FiO2Fraction inspired oxygen concentration
FVCForced vital capacity
G&HGroup and hold
G&SGroup and save
GAGeneral anaesthesia
GABAGamma aminobutyric acid
GBSGuillain–Barré syndrome
GCSGlasgow coma scale
GCSEGeneralised convulsive status epilepticus
GFRGlomerular filtration rate
GGTGamma glutamyl transferase
GHBGamma-hydroxy butyrate
GIGastrointestinal
GITGastrointestinal tract
GN Glomerulonephritis
GORDGatro-oesophageal reflux disorder
GPGeneral practitioner
GTN Glyceryl trinitrate
GUGenitourinary
GUGastric ulcer
H1/H2Histamine type 1 and type 2
HAARTHighly active anti-retroviral therapy
HbHaemoglobin
HBIGHepatitis B immune globulin
HBOHyperbaric oxygen
HBsAg
Hepatitis B surface antigen
hCGHuman chorionic gonadotropin
HCMHypertrophic cardiomyopathy
HCO3
Bicarbonate
Hct
Haematocrit
HDLHigh-density lipoprotein
HDUHigh dependency unit
HELLPHaemolysis/elevated liver enzymes/low platelets
HEMSHelicopter Emergency Medical Service
HHNSHyperosmolar non-ketotic syndrome
HITSHeparin-induced thrombocytopenia syndrome
HIVHuman immunodeficiency virus
HLAHuman leucocyte antigen system
HOCMHypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy
HPCHistory of presenting complaint
HRHeart rate
HRIGhuman rabies immunoglobulin
HSVherpes simplex virus
HSVHerpes simplex virus
HTIG
Human tetanus immunoglobulin
HUHounsfield unit
HUSHaemolytic–uraemic syndrome
i.m. (IM)Intramuscular
i.o. (IO)Intraosseous
i.v. (IV)Intravenous
IBDInflammatory bowel disease
ICCIntercostal catheter
ICFIntracellular fluid
ICHIntracerebral haemorrhage
ICPIntracranial pressure
ICPIntracranial pressure
ICSIntercostal space
ICUIntensive care unit
IDCIndwelling catheter
IgImmunoglobulin
IHDIschemic heart disease
IJVInternal jugular vein
ILCORInternational Liaison Committee on Resuscitation
INRinternational normalized ratio (of prothrombin time)
INRInternational normalised ratio
iSBARIdentify, Situation, Background, Assessment, Recommendation
ITPidiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura
ITPIdiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura
IUInternational units
IUCDintrauterine contraceptive device
IVCInferior vena cava
IVHIntraventricular haemorrhage
IVPintravenous pyelogram
IVUIntravenous urogram
Jjoule
JVPJugular venous pressure
JVPjugular venous pressure
KPotassium
KClpotassium chloride
kgKilogram
kPakilopascal
KUBKidneys, ureter, bladder (plain abdominal X-ray)
LLitre
LADLeft axis deviation
LBBBLeft bundle branch block
LDHLactate dehydrogenase
LDLlow-density lipoprotein
LFTLiver function tests
LLLLeft lower lobe
LLQLeft lower quadrant
LMALaryngeal mask airway
LMN Lower motor neuron
LMWHLow-molecular-weight heparin
LOCLoss of consciousness
LPlumbar puncture
LRTILower respiratory tract infection
LRTI Lumbar puncture
LUQLeft upper quadrant
LVLeft ventricle
LVFLeft ventricular failure
LVHLeft ventricular hypertrophy
M, C & Smicroscopy, culture and sensitivity
maneIn the morning
MAOIMonoamine oxidase inhibitor
MAPmean arterial pressure
MASTmilitary antishock trousers
MCAMiddle cerebral artery
MCHMean corpuscular haemoglobin
MCPmetacarpophalangeal
MCSMicroscopy, culture and sensitivity
MCVMean corpuscular volume
MDACmultiple-dose activated charcoal
MDImetered-dose inhaler
MDOmedical defence organization
mEq/Lmilliequivalents per litre
METMedical emergency team
MgMagnesium
MHMalignant hyperpyrexia
MHAMental Health Act
MHSmalignant hyperthermia syndrome
MIMyocardial infarction
mmHgmillimetres of mercury
MMSEMini-Mental State Examination
MOFmulti-organ failure
MOFSMultiorgan failure syndrome
MRAMagnetic resonance angiography
MRIMagnetic resonance imaging
MRSAMethicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
MRSEMultidrug-resistant Staphylococcus epidermidis
MSAmultiple systems atrophy
MSAStaphylococcus epidermidis
MSOFMultiple system organ failure
MSSMusculoskeletal system
MSUMidstream urine
MSUmid-stream urine
MTPMetatarsophalangeal
MTPJMetatarsophalangeal joint
Mumegaunit
NaSodium
NAAnucleic acid amplification
NACN-acetylcysteine
NAInon-accidental injury
NAIRNational Arrangements for Incidents involving Radioactivity
NAPCANNational Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect
NBMNil by mouth
NETSNeonatal Emergency Transport Service
neuro Neurological system
NFRNot-for-resuscitation
NGNasogastric
NGTnasogastric tube
NGTNasogastric tube
NIBPNon-invasive blood pressure
NIVNon-invasive ventilation
NMDAN-methyl-D-aspartic acid
NMJNeuromuscular junction
NMSNeuroleptic malignant syndrome
NPAnasopharyngeal aspirate
NPHNeutral protamine Hagedorn (insulin)
NPVNegative predictive value
NSAIDNon-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug
NSPCCNational Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children
NSTEMInon-ST elevation myocardial infarction
NTSnose/throat swab
NZNew Zealand
O&GObstetrics and gynaecology
O2Oxygen
ODOverdose
OMoccipitomental
OPGorthopantomogram
ORSoral rehydration solution
p.r. (PR)per rectum
P2Pulmonary second sound
PAPosteroanterior
PACPremature atrial contraction
PaCO2partial pressure of carbon dioxide (arterial)
PANPolyarteritis nodosa
PaO2partial pressure of oxygen (arterial)
PCAPosterior cerebral artery
PCIpercutaneous coronary intervention (coronary angioplasty)
PCPPneumocystis carinii pneumonia
PCRpolymerase chain reaction
PCVpacked cell volume
PEPulmonary embolus
PEAPulseless electrical activity
PEEPPositive end-expiratory pressure
PEFRPeak expiratory flow rate
PEPpost-exposure prophylaxis
PERLAPupils equal react to light and accommodation
PGLpersistent generalized lymphadenopathy
pHnegative logarithm of the hydrogen ion concentration
PIDPelvic inflammatory disease
PMRPolymyalgia rheumatica
PNDParoxysmal nocturnal dyspnoea
POPer os (by mouth)
PPEPersonal protective equipment
PPIProton pump inhibitor
PPVPositive predictive value
PRNPro re nata (as needed)
PsychPsychiatric
PTProthrombin time
PTApost-traumatic amnesia
PTIprothrombin index
PUPPPruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy
PVPer vaginam
PVCPremature ventricular contraction
q.d.s. (QDS)quater in die sumendus (four times daily)
QIDQuater in die (on prescription) Four times daily
r-PArecombinant plasminogen activator
RAPDrelative afferent pupil defect (Marcus Gunn pupil)
RBBBright bundle branch block
RBCRed blood cell
RespRespiratory system
RFDSRoyal Flying Doctor Service
RLLRight lower lobe
RLQRight lower quadrant
RNAribonucleic acid
ROMRange of movement
ROSCReturn of spontaneous circulation
RRRespiratory rate
RSRespiratory system
RSIrapid sequence induction
rt-PArecombinant tissue-type plasminogen activator
RTARenal tubular acidosis
RUQRight upper quadrant
RVRight ventricle
RVHRight ventricular hypertrophy
ssecond
s.c. (SC)subcutaneous
S3Third heart sound
SAEDSemi-automated external defibrillator
SAHSubarachnoid haemorrhage
SaO2Arterial oxygen saturation
SARSsevere acute respiratory syndrome
SBESubacute bacterial endocarditis
SBPSystolic blood pressure
SCBUspecial care baby unit
SCIWORAspinal cord injury without radiological abnormality
SCMSternocleidomastoid
SDHSubdural haemorrhage
SGSpecific gravity
SIInternational system of units
SIADHSyndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion
SIDSsudden infant death syndrome
SIRSSystemic inflammatory response syndrome
SJSStevens–Johnson syndrome
SLSublingual (medication administration)
SLESystemic lupus erythematosus
SLRstraight-leg raising
SNPsodium nitroprusside
SNRISerotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor
SOBShort of Breath
SOLSpace-occupying lesion
SPAsuprapubic aspirate (urine)
SRSlow release (sustained release)
SSSerotonin syndrome
SSRISelective serotonin reuptake inhibitor
SSSSick sinus syndrome
StatStatum (immediately)
STDsexually transmitted disease
STEMIST elevation myocardial infarction
SUDIsudden unexpected death in infancy
SVStroke volume
SVTSupraventricular tachycardia
t.d.s. (TDS)ter in die sumendus (three times daily)
T4Thyroxine
TAtransabdominal
TACOTransfusion-associated circulatory overload
TBTuberculosis
TBWTotal body water
TCAtricyclic antidepressant
TDSThree times daily
TENToxic epidermal necrolysis
TFTThyroid function tests
TIATransient ischaemic attack
TMJTemperomandibular joint
TNFTumour necrosis factor
TNKtenecteplase
TOETransoesophageal echocardiogram
TPATissue plasminogen activator
TPNTotal parenteral nutrition
TPRTotal peripheral resistance
TRALITransfusion-related acute lung injury
TSHThyroid-stimulating hormone
TTPthrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura
TURPTransurethral resection of the prostate
TVtransvaginal
uunit
U&EUrea and electrolytes
UAunstable angina
UAPunstable angina pectoris
UFunfractionated (heparin)
UMNUpper motor neuron
UOUrine output
USSUltrasound scan
UTIUrinary tract infection
V/Qventilation perfusion (lung scan)
VBGVenous blood gas
VBIVertebrobasilar insufficiency
VDKvenom detection kit
VEBventricular ectopic beat (extrasystole)
VFVentricular fibrillation
VICCVenom-induced consumptive coagulopathy
VLDLVery low-density lipoprotein
VREVancomycin-resistant enterococci
VTVentricular tachycardia
VTEvenous thromboembolism
WBIwhole bowel irrigation
WCCWhite cell count
WPWWolff–Parkinson–White

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