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Medical Abbreviations

The following table lists some medical abbreviations with their intended meaning.

Medical abbreviations beginning with ...

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 atrial fibrillation
A & E accident and emergency
A & W alive and well
AAA abdominal aortic aneurysm
acute anxiety attack
AB apex beat
Ab antibody
Abd abdomen
ABE acute bacterial endocarditis
ABG arterial blood gases
ABR absolute bed rest
ACE angiotensin-converting enzyme
ACTH adrenocorticotrophic hormone
AD alzheimer's disease
ADH antidiuretic hormone
ADHD attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
ADL activities of daily living
ADR adverse drug reaction
AED antiepileptic drug
AFB acid-fast bacillus
AFP α-fetoprotein
Ag antigen
AGL acute granulocytic leukaemia
AGN acute glomerular nephritis
AHD autoimmune haemolytic disease
AI aortic incompetence
aortic insufficiency
AIDS acquired immune deficiency syndrome
AJ ankle jerk
AKA above knee amputation
AL acute leukaemia
ALL acute lymphocytic leukaemia
ALT alanine transaminase
AMA against medical advice
AMI acute myocardial infarction
ANA antinuclear antibody
AOB alcohol on breath
AP anteroposterior
alkaline phosphatase
apical pulse
APPT activated partial thromboplastin time
APSAC anisoylated plasminogen streptokinase activator complex
A-R apical-radial pulse
ARDS adult respiratory distress syndrome
ARF acute renal failure
AS anal sphincter
ankylosing spondylitis
aortic stenosis
ASAP as soon as possible
ASB asymptomatic bacteriuria
ASD atrial septal defect
AST aspartate transaminase
ATN acute tubular necrosis
AV atrioventricular
aortic valve

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Abbreviation Meaning
BaE barium enema
BB bed bath
BBA born before arrival
BBB blood-brain barrier
bundle branch block
BBT basal body temperature
BCC basal cell carcinoma
BCG bacille Calmette-Guerin
BE barium enema
bacterial endocarditis
BID brought in dead
BJ biceps jerk
bones and joints
BKA below knee amputation
BM bone marrow
bowel movement
BMI body mass index
BMR basal metabolic rate
BNO bowels not open
BOR bowels open regularly
BP blood pressure
BPH benign prostatic hypertrophy
benign prostatic hyperplasia
BR bed rest
BS bowel sounds
breath sounds
blood sugar
BSA body surface area
BT bed time
brain tumour
breast tumour
BUN blood urea nitrogen
BW body water
body weight
BWO bowels well open
Bx biopsy

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Abbreviation Meaning
C complement
C & P cystoscopy and pyelogram
C & S culture and sensitivity
c/o complains of
CA cancer
CABG coronary artery bypass graft
CAD coronary artery disease
CAPD continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis
CAT computer assisted tomography
computed axial tomography
computerised axial tomography
CAVHD continuous arteriovenous haemodialysis
CBC complete blood count
CBS chronic brain syndrome
CC chief complaint
CCF congestive cardiac failure
CCU coronary care unit
CEA carcinoembryonic antigen
CF complement fixation
cystic fibrosis
CFT complement fixation test
CGL chronic granulocytic leukaemia
CGN chronic glomerular nephritis
CHB complete heart block
CHD coronary heart disease
CHF congestive heart failure
CHP charcoal haemoperfusion
CI cardiac index
CK creatine kinase
CL clubbing
CICr creatinine clearance
CLL chronic lymphocytic leukaemia
CML chronic myelocytic leukaemia
CMV cytomegalovirus
CNS central nervous system
CO cardiac output
COAD chronic obstructive airways disease
COD cause of death
COLD chronic obstructive lung disease
COPD chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
CPAP continuous positive airway pressure
CPD continuous peritoneal dialysis
CPK creatine phosphokinase
CPR cardiopulmonary resuscitation
CRD chronic renal disease
CRF chronic renal failure
corticotrophin-releasing factor
CRP C-reactive protein
CSF cerebrospinal fluid
colony stimulating factor
CSM cerebrospinal meningitis
CSU catheter specimen of urine
CT circulation time
clotting time
computerised tomography
coronary thrombosis
CV cardiovascular
central venous
CVA cerebrovascular accident
CVD cardiovascular disease
CVP central venous pressure
CVS cardiovascular system
Cx cervix
CXR chest X-Ray
Cy cyanosis

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Abbreviation Meaning
d dead
D diagnosis
D & C dilatation and curettage
D & E dilation and evacuation
D & V diarrhoea and vomiting
D/W discussed with
DBP diastolic blood pressure
DDU drug dependency unit
DH drug history
DI drug information
DIC disseminated intravascular coagulation
DJD degenerative joint disease
DKA diabetic ketoacidosis
DM diabetes mellitus
diastolic murmur
DNA did not attend (outpatients)
DNC did not come
DNR do not resuscitate
DOA dead on arrival
DOB date of birth
DOE dyspnoea on exertion
DST dexamethasone suppression test
DT delirium tremens
DTNT door to needle time
DU duodenal ulcer
DUB dysfunctional uterine bleeding
DVT deep vein thrombosis
Dx diagnosis
DXT deep X-ray therapy

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Abbreviation Meaning
EBM expressed breast milk
EBV Epstein-Barr virus
ECF extracellular fluid
ECG electrocardiogram
ECHO echocardiogram
ECT electroconvulsive therapy
EDD expected date of delivery
EEG electroencephalogram
EENT eyes, ears, nose and throat
EFA essential fatty acids
ELBW extremely low birth weight
ELISA enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay
EM ejection murmur
EMG electromyogram
ENT ear, nose and throat
EP ectopic pregnancy
EPO erythropoietin
ERCP endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography
ERPC evacuation of retained products of conception
ESM ejection systolic murmur
ESN educationally subnormal
ESP end-systolic pressure
ESR erythrocyte sedimentation rate
ESRF end stage renal failure
ET endotracheal tube
EtOH ethyl alcohol

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Abbreviation Meaning
FB finger breadths
foreign body
FBC full blood count
FBS fasting blood sugar
FEV 1 forced expiratory volume in 1 second
FFA free fatty acids
FFP fresh frozen plasma
FH family history
FHR foetal heart rate
FHS foetal heart sounds
FLP fasting lipid profile
FOB faecal occult blood
FP family planning
frozen plasma
FSH follicle-stimulating hormone
FT4 free thyroxine
FUO fever of unknown origin
FVC forced vital capacity
Fx. fracture

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Abbreviation Meaning
GA general anaesthesia
general anaesthetic
gastric analysis
granuloma annulare
general appearance
GABA γ-aminobutyric Acid
GB gall bladder
GC gonococcal
GCS glasgow coma scale
G-CSF granulocyte colony-stimulating factor
GE gastroenterology
GFR glomerular filtration rate
g-GT γ-glutamyl transferase
GH growth hormone
GI(T) gastrointestinal (tract)
GnRH gonadotrophin-releasing hormone
grav. gravid (pregnant)
GS general surgery
genital system
GTT glucose tolerance test
GU gastric ulcer
gonococcal urethritis
GUS genitourinary system
Gyn. gynaecology

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Abbreviation Meaning
H hypodermic
H & L heart and lungs
H & P history and physical
h/o or H/O history of
HA haemolytic anaemia
HB heart block
Hb haemoglobin
HbA1 glycosylated haemoglobin
HBD hydroxybutyrate dehydrogenase
HbF foetal haemoglobin
HBF hepatic blood flow
HBP high blood pressure
HBV hepatitis B virus
hCG human chorionic gonadotrophin
Hct. haematocrit
HCV hepatitis C virus
HCVD hypertensive cardiovascular disease
HD heart disease
Hodgkin's disease
HDL high-density lipoprotein
HDU high dependency unit
hep hepatitis
HF heart failure
HHD hypertensive heart disease
HHV human herpes virus
HIV human immunodeficiency virus
HLA human leukocyte antigen
HMMA 4-hydroxy-3-methoxymandelic acid
HPA hypothalamus, pituitary, adrenal
HPC history of present complaint
HPV human papilloma virus
HR heart rate
HRT hormone replacement therapy
HS heart sounds
HSV herpes simplex virus
HSVE herpes simplex virus encephalitis
HT hypertension
HTVD hypertensive vascular disease
HUS haemolytic uraemic syndrome
HVA homovanillic acid
Hx. history

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Abbreviation Meaning
IA intra-amniotic
IADH inappropriate antidiuretic hormone
IBC iron binding capacity
IBD inflammatory bowel disease
IBS irritable bowel syndrome
ICF intracellular fluid
ICM intercostal margin
ICS intercostal space
ICU intensive care unit
ID initial dose
IDDM insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus
IDL intermediate-density lipoprotein
IF inspiratory force
interstitial fluid
Ig immunoglobulin
IHD ischaemic heart disease
IM infectious mononucleosis
imp impression
inf inferior
INR international normalised ratio
IOP intraocular pressure
IP intraperitoneal
IPPB intermittent positive-pressure breathing
IPPV intermittent positive pressure ventilation
ISA intrinsic sympathomimetic activity
IT intrathecal
ITP idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura
ITT insulin tolerance test
ITU intensive therapy unit
IU international unit
IUD intrauterine device
IUP intrauterine pregnancy
IV intravenous
IVP intravenous pyelogram
IVSD interventricular septal defect
IVU intravenous urography

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Abbreviation Meaning
J jaundice
JV jugular vein
JVD jugular venous distention
JVP jugular venous pressure
jugular venous pulse

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Abbreviation Meaning
KJ knee jerk
KO keep open
knock out
KUB kidneys, ureters, bladder
KVO keep vein open

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Abbreviation Meaning
L left
L & A light and accommodation
L & W living and well
L1, L2 ... lumbar vertebrae 1, 2 ...
LA left arm
left atrium
lac laceration
Lap laparotomy
LAT or lat lateral
LBBB left bundle branch block
LBW low birth weight
LCM left costal margin
LD lethal dose
liver disease
lactate dehydrogenase
LDH lactate dehydrogenase
LDL low-density lipoprotein
LE lupus erythematosus
LFT liver function test
LH left hand
luteinizing hormone
LIF left iliac fossa
LIH left inguinal hernia
LKS liver, kidneys, spleen
LLL left lower lobe
left lower lid
LLQ left lower quadrant
LMN lower motor neurone
LMP last menstrual period
LMWH low molecular weight heparin
LN lymph node
LOM limitation of movement
LOPS length of patient's stay
LP lumbar puncture
LSCS lower segment caesarian section
LTC long-term care
LUL left upper lobe
LUQ left upper quadrant
LV left ventricle
LVF left ventricular failure
LVH left ventricular hypertrophy

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Abbreviation Meaning
M male
M1 mitral first sound
MA menstrual age
mental age
MAOI monoamine oxidase inhibitor
MAP mean arterial pressure
MCH mean corpuscular haemoglobin
MCHC mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentration
MCT medium-chain triglycerides
MCV mean corpuscular volume
MDI metered-dose inhaler
MDV multiple dose vial
mEq milliequivalent
met metastasis
MH marital history
medical history
menstrual history
MHC major histocompatibility complex
MI myocardial infarction
mitral incompetence
mitral insufficiency
MIC minimum inhibitory concentration
ML midline
MLD minimum lethal dose
MM multiple myeloma
MND motor neurone disease
MP menstrual period
MRI magnetic resonance imaging
MRSA methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
multiple-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
MS mitral stenosis
multiple sclerosis
MSL midsternal line
MSU midstream urine specimen
MyG myasthenia gravis

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Abbreviation Meaning
N normal
N & T nose and throat
N & V nausea and vomiting
NAD no acute distress
no appreciable disease
nothing abnormal detected
NARTI nucleoside analogue reverse transcriptase inhibitor
NBM nil by mouth
NG nasogastric
NHL non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
NICU neonatal intensive care unit
NIDDM non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus
NKA no known allergies
NKHA non-ketotic hyperosmolar acidosis
NL normal
NMR nuclear magnetic resonance
NMS neuroleptic malignant syndrome
NNRTI non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor
NOF neck of femur
#NOF fractured neck of femur
NOK next of kin
NS nervous system
normal saline
nephrotic syndrome
NSAID non-steroid anti-inflammatory drug
NSD no significant defect
NSFTD normal spontaneous full-term delivery
NSR normal sinus rhythm
NSU nonspecific urethritis
NVD nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea
NYD not yet diagnosed

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Abbreviation Meaning
O oedema
O & A observation & assessment
O & E observation and examination
O/A on admission
O/E on examination
OA osteoarthritis
OB occult blood
Obs obstetrics
OC oral contraceptive
OD overdose
right eye
OGD oesophogastroduodenoscopy
OGTT oral glucose tolerance test
OH occupational history
OP outpatient
OPA outpatient appointment
OPD outpatient department
OR operating room
OS left eye
OT occupational therapy
OTC over the counter
OU both eyes

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Abbreviation Meaning
P pulse
P & A percussion and auscultation
P & R pulse and respiration
PA pernicious anaemia
pulmonary artery
PAT paroxysmal atrial tachycardia
PAWP pulmonary arterial wedge pressure
PBI protein bound iodine
PC present complaint packed cells
PCA patient-controlled analgesia
PCP Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia
PCS portocaval shunt
PCV packed cell volume
PE physical examination
pulmonary embolism
pleural effusion
PEEP positive end-expiratory pressure
PEFR peak expiratory flow rate
PEG percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy
PERRLA pupils equal, round, react to light and accommodation
PET positron emission tomography
PF peak flow
PFR peak flow rate
PFT pulmonary function test
PH past history
patient history
personal history
prostatic hypertrophy
pulmonary hypertension
pHa arterial blood pH
PI present illness
protease inhibitor
PICC peripherally inserted central catheter
PID pelvic inflammatory disease
PKU phenylketonuria
PM post mortem
PMB postmenopausal bleeding
PMH past medical history
PMI past medical illness
PMN polymorphonuclear leucocyte
PMR patient medical record
PMS postmenopausal syndrome
premenstrual syndrome
PMT premenstrual tension
PN percussion note
peripheral neuropathy
peripheral neuropathy
PND paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnoea
postnasal drip
Pnx pneumothorax
PO by mouth
PPH post partum haemorrhage
PPI proton pump inhibitor
ppm parts per million
PPTK partial thromboplastin time kaolin
PR per rectum
PSA prostate-specific antigen
Pt patient
PT physical therapy
prothrombin time
PTA plasma thromboplastin antecedent
prior to admission
prothrombin activity
PTH parathyroid hormone
PTR prothrombin ratio
PTT partial thromboplastin time
PTTK partial thromboplastin time kaolin
PTU propylthiouracil
PU peptic ulcer
pass urine
per urethra
PUD peptic ulcer disease
PUO pyrexia of unknown origin
PUVA psoralen and ultraviolet A radiation
PV per vagina
PVC premature ventricular contraction
PVD peripheral vascular disease
PVT paroxysmal ventricular tachycardia
Px past history

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Abbreviation Meaning
QALY quality-adjusted life year(s)

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Abbreviation Meaning
R respiration
RA renal artery
rheumatoid arthritis
right arm
right atrium
RAST radioallergosorbent test
RBBB right bundle branch block
RBC red blood cell
red blood count
RBF renal blood flow
RBS random blood sugar
RDS respiratory distress syndrome
REM rapid eye movement
RES reticuloendothelial system
RF renal failure
rheumatic fever
rheumatoid factor
RFT respiratory function test
Rh factor rhesus factor
RHD rheumatic heart disease
RIF right iliac fossa
RLD related living donor
right lateral decubitus
RLL right lower lobe (lung)
RLQ right lower quadrant
ROM range of motion
RP radial pulse
RQ respiratory quotient
RR respiratory rate
RR & E round regular and equal (pupils)
RS respiratory system
RSF rheumatoid serum factor
RSR regular sinus rhythm
RSV respiratory syncytial virus
RTA road traffic accident
rt-PA recombinant tissue-type plasminogen activator
RUL right upper lobe
RUQ right upper quadrant
RV residual volume
right ventricle
RVH right ventricular hypertrophy


Abbreviation Meaning
s without
S/B seen by
SA sinoatrial
surface area
SALT speech and language therapist
SB seen by
shortness of breath
SBE subacute bacterial endocarditis
shortness of breath on exertion
SBO small bowel obstruction
SBP spontaneous bacterial peritonitis
SC sickle cell
SCBU special care baby unit
SH social history
SI small intestine
SIADH syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone
SIDS sudden infant death syndrome
SL or sl sublingual
SLE systemic lupus erythematosus
SOA swelling of ankle(s)
SOAP subjective, objective, assessment, plan
SOB shortness of breath
SP systolic pressure
SR sinus rhythm
sustained release
SSRI selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor
SSS Sick sinus syndrome
ST sinus tachycardia
stat. immediately
STD sexually transmitted disease
SV stroke volume
SVT supraventricular tachycardia
Sx symptoms

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Abbreviation Meaning
T temperature
T & A tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy
T & X type and crossmatch
T3 triiodothyronine
T4 thyroxine
TB tuberculosis
TBA to be administered
to be arranged
TBG thyroid binding globulin
TBS total body surface
TBW total body water
total body weight
TCA tricyclic antidepressant
TD tardive dyskinesia
transverse diameter
TDI total dose infusion
TDM therapeutic drug monitoring
TENS transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation
TFT thyroid function test
TG triglyceride
TH thyroid hormone
THR total hip replacement
TIA transient ischaemic attack
TIBC total iron-binding capacity
TKO to keep open
TL tubal ligation
TLC tender loving care
total lung capacity
TM tympanic membrane
TNF tumour necrosis factor
TOF tracheo-oesophageal fistula
TOP termination of pregnancy
TOPS take off pounds sensibly
TP thrombophlebitis
total protein
t-PA tissue plasminogen factor
TPN total parenteral nutrition
TPR temperature, pulse, respiration
TSH thyroid-stimulating hormone
TTA to take away
TTO to take out
TUR transurethral resection
TURB transurethral resection of the bladder
TURP transurethral resection of the prostate
TV trichomonas vaginalis
tidal volume
Tx. Treatment

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Abbreviation Meaning
U & E urea & electrolytes
UA uric acid
urine analysis
UC ulcerative colitis
urinary catheter
UCG urine chorionic gonadotropin
UCO urinary catheter out
UDV unit dose vial
UFH unfractionated heparin
UK unknown
UO urinary output
URI upper respiratory infection
URTI upper respiratory tract infection
US ultrasound
UTI urinary tract infection

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Abbreviation Meaning
VB venous blood
VC vena cava
visual cortex
vital capacity
vulvovaginal candidiasis
VD venereal disease
VDG venereal disease gonorrhoea
VDRL Venereal Disease Research Laboratory
VE vaginal examination
VF ventricular fibrillation
VLBW very low birth weight
VLDL very low-density lipoprotein
VP venous pressure
VS vital signs
VT ventricular tachycardia

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Abbreviation Meaning
WB whole blood
WBC white blood cell
white blood count
WBS whole body scan
WCC white cell count
WPW Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome
wt weight

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Abbreviation Meaning
XX female chromosome type
XY male chromosome type

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Abbreviation Meaning
ZES Zollinger–Ellison syndrome

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