Common Acronyms and Abbreviations in Practice


This list provides a review of what you need to know about acronyms and abbreviations used in charting, verbal directives, and study guides.

a: Before (ante)

AAA: Abdominal aortic aneurysm

Ab: Antibody; Abortion

Abd: Abdomen; Abdominal

ABG: Arterial blood gas

ac: Before meals (ante cibum)

ACE: Angiotensin-converting enzyme

ACTH: Adrenocorticotropic hormone

ADH: Antidiuretic hormone

ADHD: Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder

ad lib: As much as desired (ad libitum)

ADLs: Activities of daily living

AED: Automatic external defibrillator

AFB: Acid-fast bacillus

Afib: Atrial fibrillation

Aflutter: Atrial flutter

AFP: Alpha-fetoprotein

AG: Antigen

AGA: Average for gestational age

AGE: Acute gastroenteritis

AHF: Antihemophilic factor

AIDS: Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome

AK (or AKA): Above-the-knee (amputation)

ALL: Acute lymphocytic (lymphoblastic) leukemia

ALS: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

AMA: Against medical advice

AML: Acute myelogenous leukemia

Amp: Ampule

ANP: Adult nurse practitioner

ANS: Autonomic nervous system

A&O 3: Alert, oriented to person, place, time

AP: Anteroposterior; Alkaline phosphatase

aPPT: Activated partial thromboplastin time

APSGN: Acute poststreptococcal glomerulonephritis

ARC: AIDS-related complex

ARDS: Adult respiratory distress syndrome

ARF: Acute renal failure

ARMD: Age-related macular degeneration

AROM: Artificial rupture of membranes

ASA: Acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin)

ASAP: As soon as possible

ASD: Atrial septal defect

AST: Aspartate aminotransferase

AV: Atrioventricular; Arteriovenous; Aortic valve

AVB: Atrioventricular block

AVM: Arteriovenous malformation

AVR: Aortic valve repair
BAC: Blood alcohol concentration

BBT: Basal body temperature

BCLS: Basic cardiac life support

BK (or BKA): Below-the-knee (amputation)

BM: Bowel movement; Bone marrow

BMA: Bone marrow aspiration

BMI: Body mass index

BMR: Basal metabolic rate

BMT: Bone marrow transplant

BOM: Bilateral otitis media

BP: Blood pressure

BPD: Bronchopulmonary dysplasia

BPH: Benign prostatic hyperplasia

bpm: Beats per minute

BPP: Biophysical profile

BRP: Bathroom privileges

BSE: Breast self-examination

BUN: Blood urea nitrogen
cmacr: With (cum)

CA: Carcinoma; Cancer

CABG: Coronary artery bypass graft operation (1, 2, 3, 4: number of grafts)

CAD: Coronary artery disease

CBC: Complete blood count

CCU: Cardiac (intensive) care unit

CD: Communicable disease

CDC: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

CF: Cystic fibrosis

CHD: Congenital heart disease; Coronary heart disease

CHF: Congestive heart failure

CICU: Cardiac intensive care unit

CMV: Cytomegalovirus

CNS: Central nervous system; Coagulase-negative Staphylococcus; Clinical nurse specialist

C/O: Complains of

COA (CoA): Coarctation of the aorta

COPD: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

CP: Cerebral palsy

CPD: Cephalopelvic disproportion

CPK: Creatine phosphokinase (now creatine kinase [CK])

CPR: Cardiopulmonary resuscitation

CRF: Chronic renal failure; Cardiac risk factors

CRP: C-reactive protein

C&S: Culture and sensitivity

CSF: Cerebrospinal fluid

CSM: Circulation, sensory, and motor

CST: Contraction stress test

CT: Computed tomography

CV: Cardiovascular

CVA: Cerebrovascular accident (now called brain attack); Costovertebral angle

CVP: Central venous pressure
deltaCapBold: Change (Greek letter delta)

D&C: Dilation and curettage

D&D: Dehydration and diarrhea

DDH: Developmental dysplasia of the hip

D&E: Dilation and evacuation

DI: Diabetes insipidus

DIC: Disseminated intravascular coagulation

Dig: Digitalis

DJD: Degenerative joint disease

DKA: Diabetic ketoacidosis

DM: Diabetes mellitus

DMD: Duchenne's muscular dystrophy

DNR: Do not resuscitate

DOA: Dead on arrival

DOB: Date of birth

DOE: Dyspnea on exertion

DPT: Diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus

DRG: Diagnosis-related group

DRI: Dietary reference intakes

DTR: Deep tendon reflex

DTs: Delirium tremens

DVT: Deep vein thrombosis

D5W/D5W: 5% dextrose in water

Dx: Diagnosis
ECF: Extended care facility; Extracellular fluid

ECG: Electrocardiogram (purist's version)

Echo: Echocardiogram

ECMO: Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation

ECT: Electroconvulsive therapy (see EST)

ED: Emergency department (commonly called emergency room); Erectile dysfunction

EDD: Estimated date of delivery

EEG: Electroencephalogram

EENT: Eye, ear, nose, and throat

EFM: Electronic fetal monitoring

EKG: Electrocardiogram (common version)

EMG: Electromyogram

EMS: Emergency medical service

EMT: Emergency medical technician

ENT: Ear, nose, and throat

EPS: Extrapyramidal symptoms

ER: Emergency room

ESR: Erythrocyte sedimentation rate

EST: Electroshock therapy

ETOH: Alcohol (ethanol)
FAS: Fetal alcohol syndrome

FBS: Fasting blood sugar

FEV1: Forced expiratory volume in 1 second

FHR: Fetal heart rate

FHT: Fetal heart tones

FNP: Family nurse practitioner

FRC: Functional residual capacity

FSH: Follicle-stimulating hormone

FTT: Failure to thrive

FUO: Fever of unknown origin

FVC: Forced vital capacity

Fx: Fracture
g: Gram

G: Gravida

GABS: Group A beta-hemolytic streptococcus

GB: Gallbladder

GBS: Group B streptococcus; Guillain-Barr syndrome

GC: Gonococcus; Gonorrhea

GCS: Glasgow Coma Scale

G&D: Growth and development

GDM: Gestational diabetes mellitus

GER: Gastroesophageal reflux

GI: Gastrointestinal

gm: Gram

gr: Grain

GTT: Glucose tolerance test

gtt(s): Drop(s) (guttae)

GU: Genitourinary

GYN: Gynecological
HAV: Hepatitis A virus

HBGM: Home blood glucose monitoring

HBV: Hepatitis B virus

HCG: Human chorionic gonadotropin

Hct: Hematocrit

HCV: Hepatitis C virus

HDL: High-density lipoprotein

HEENT: Head, eyes, ears, nose, throat

Hgb: Hemoglobin

HgbA1c: Glycosylated hemoglobin

HIB: Haemophilus influenzae type B

HIV: Human immunodeficiency virus

HMO: Health maintenance organization

HOB: Head of bed

HPL: Human placental lactogen

HPS: Hypertrophic pyloric stenosis

HPV: Human papillomavirus

HR: Heart rate

HRT: Hormone replacement therapy

HSP: Henoch-Schnlein purpura

HSV: Herpes simplex virus

HTN: Hypertension

Hx: History
ICP: Intracranial pressure

ICU: Intensive care unit

I&D: Incision and drainage

IDDM: Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus

Ig: Immunoglobulin

IM: Intramuscular

INH: Isoniazid

I/O, I&O: Intake and output

IPPB: Intermittent positive-pressure breathing

IQ: Intelligence quotient

IUD: Intrauterine device

IUFD: Intrauterine fetal death

IV: Intravenous

IVC: Inferior vena cava

IVH: Intraventricular hemorrhage

IVP: Intravenous pyelogram; Intravenous push
JCAHO: Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations

JIA: Juvenile ideopathic arthritis

JRA: Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (old term for juvenile ideopathic arthritis)

KD: Kawasaki disease

KUB: Kidneys, ureters, bladder (flat/upright abdominal x-ray)
L&B: Laryngoscopy and bronchoscopy

L-C-P, LCPD: Legg-Calv-Perthes disease

LDL: Low-density lipoprotein

LFTs: Liver function tests

LGA: Large for gestational age

LGI: Lower gastrointestinal

LLL: Left lower (lung) lobe

LLQ: Left lower quadrant

LMP: Last menstrual period

LOC: Loss of consciousness; Level of consciousness

LPN: Licensed practical nurse

LTB: Laryngotracheobronchitis

LTE: Life-threatening event

LUL: Left upper (lung) lobe

LUQ: Left upper quadrant

LVN: Licensed vocational nurse
MAOI: Monoamine oxidase inhibitor

MAP: Mean arterial pressure

MCL: Midclavicular line

MD: Muscular dystrophy

MDI: Metered-dose inhaler

Med: Medication

mEq: Milliequivalent

MI: Myocardial infarction

mL: Milliliter

MMR: Measles, mumps, rubella

MOM: Milk of magnesia

Mono: Mononucleosis

MR: Mitral regurgitation; Mental retardation

MRI: Magnetic resonance imaging

MRSA: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus

MVR: Mitral valve repair/replacement
NA: Not applicable

NEC: Necrotizing enterocolitis

NG: Nasogastric

NICU: Neonatal intensive care unit

NIDDM: Non?insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus

NL: Normal

NM: Neuromuscular

NOC: Night (nocturnal)

NPH: Neutral protamine Hagedorn (intermediate-acting insulin)

NPO: Nothing by mouth (nil per os)

NS: Normal saline

NSAID: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug

NSR: Normal sinus rhythm

NST: Nonstress test

NTG: Nitroglycerin

N/V: Nausea, vomiting

NVD: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
O2: Oxygen

OB: Obstetrics

OFTT: Organic failure to thrive

OM: Otitis media

OOB: Out of bed; out of breath

O&P: Ova and parasites

OR: Operating room

OT: Occupational therapy

OTC: Over-the-counter
p: Post (after)

P: Para; Pulse

PA: Posteroanterior; Physician's assistant; Pulmonary artery

PAC: Premature atrial contraction

PACU: Postanesthesia care unit

PAF: Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation

PaO2: Arterial partial pressure of oxygen

PAO2: Alveolar oxygen pressure

PAS: Para-aminosalicylic acid

PAT: Paroxysmal atrial tachycardia

pc: After meals (post cibum)

PCA: Patient-controlled analgesia (pump); Patient care assistant

PCP: Pneumocystis pneumonia; Phencyclidine

PDA: Patent ductus arteriosus

PE: Pulmonary embolus; Pulmonary edema

PEEP: Positive end-expiratory pressure

PERRL(A): Pupils equally round and reactive to light (and accommodation)

PFTs: Pulmonary function tests

PICU: Pediatric intensive care unit

PID: Pelvic inflammatory disease

PIH: Pregnancy-induced hypertension

PKU: Phenylketonuria

PMI: Point of maximum impulse

PMS: Premenstrual syndrome

PND: Paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea

PNP: Pediatric nurse practitioner

PO: By mouth (per os)

PPD: Purified protein derivative (TB skin test); Percussion and postural drainage

PPHN: Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn

PPO: Preferred provider organization

PQRST: Provoke-quality-radiation-severity-time

prn: When necessary (pro re nata)

PSA: Prostate-specific antigen

Pt: Patient

PT: Prothrombin time; Physical therapy

PTA: Prior to admission

PTCA: Percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty

PTL: Preterm labor

PTSD: Post-traumatic stress disorder

PTT: Partial thromboplastin time

PUD: Peptic ulcer disease

PVC: Premature ventricular contraction
q: Each, every (quaque)

qh: Every hour

R: Respirations

RA: Rheumatoid arthritis; Right atrium

RAD: Reactive airway disease

RBC: Red blood cell

RDA: Recommended daily/dietary allowance

RDS: Respiratory distress syndrome

RHD: Rheumatic heart disease

RLL: Right lower (lung) lobe

RLQ: Right lower quadrant

RML: Right middle (lung) lobe

R/O: Rule out

ROM: Range of motion; Rupture of membranes

ROP: Retinopathy of prematurity

ROS: Review of systems

RR: Respiratory rate

RSV: Respiratory syncytial virus

RT: Respiratory therapy

R/T: Related to

RUL: Right upper (lung) lobe

RUQ: Right upper quadrant

Rx: Prescription/Therapy/Treatment
s: Without (sine)

S1: First heart sound

S2: Second heart sound

S3: Third heart sound

S4: Fourth heart sound

SAB: Spontaneous abortion

SaO2: Arterial blood-oxygen saturation

SBE: Subacute bacterial endocarditis

SCA: Sickle cell anemia

SGA: Small for gestational age

SIADH: Syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone

SICU: Surgical intensive care unit

SIDS: Sudden infant death syndrome

SL: Sublingually

SLE: Systemic lupus erythematosus

SNF: Skilled nursing facility

SOB: Short(ness) of breath

SR: Sinus rhythm

SROM: Spontaneous rupture of membranes

S/Sx: Signs/symptoms

Stat: Immediately (statim)

STI: Sexually transmitted infection

SVD: Spontaneous vaginal delivery

Sx: Symptoms
T: Temperature

T&A: Tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy

TAB: Therapeutic abortion

TAR: Total all routes (intake)

TB: Tuberculosis

TCA: Tricyclic antidepressant

TEF: Tracheoesophageal fistula

TENS: Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation

TGV: Transposition of great vessels

TIA: Transient ischemic attack

TKO: To keep open

TLC: Total lung capacity; Tender loving care; Therapeutic lifestyle change

TOF: Tetralogy of Fallot

TOLAC: Trial of labor after cesarean section

TORCH: Toxoplasmosis, other (hepatitis B, syphilis), rubella, cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex 2

TPA: Tissue plasminogen activator

TPN: Total parenteral nutrition

TPR: Temperature, pulse, respirations

TSE: Testicular self-examination

TSH: Thyroid-stimulating hormone

TSS: Toxic shock syndrome

TURP: Transurethral resection of prostate

TV: Total volume; Tidal volume

TVH: Total vaginal hysterectomy

Tx: Treatment
UA: Urinalysis

UAP: Unlicensed assistive personnel

UDAB: Urine drugs of abuse

UGI: Upper gastrointestinal

UQ: Upper quadrant

URI: Upper respiratory infection

UTI: Urinary tract infection

UV: Ultraviolet

VBAC: Vaginal birth after cesarean

VC: Vital capacity

VCUG: Voiding cystourethrography

VD: Venereal disease

VF, Vfib: Ventricular fibrillation

VS: Vital signs

VSD: Ventricular septal defect

VZV: Varicella-zoster virus
w/: With

WBC: White blood cell; White blood (cell) count

WHO: World Health Organization

WIC: Women, infants, and children

WNL: Within normal limits

w/o: Without



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item Common Acronyms and Abbreviations in Practice
Common Acronyms and Abbreviations in Practice
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