Medical abbreviations

Medical abbreviations scribes need to know

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There is a long list of abbreviations that medical scribes encounter and knowing them before you start working will greatly increase your efficacy on the job. We have compiled many of the most common abbreviations into three separate tables below. The tables cover prefixes, suffixes, and common emergency department abbreviations. Hopefully, this will prepare you for the alphabet soup and other lingo you will encounter on the job.

Medical prefixes and abbreviations

Prefix Meaning
A- Negative, or that which is not present
Abduction Movement away from midline
Adduction Movement toward the midline
Anterior Front
Caudad Toward the feet
Cephalad Toward the head
Distal Away, or further from, the origin of an appendage (such as an arm or leg)
Dys- Abnormal
Fowler or high fowler Sitting upright
Hyper- Over, or greater than
Hypo- Under, or less than
Infra- or Infero- Below
Intra- Within
Ipsi- Same as
Lateral Away from the midline (side)
Medial Toward the middle of the body
Para- Alongside or beside
Peri- Around
Poly- Many
Posterior Back or behind
Prone position Lying face down
Proximal Closer to the origin of an appendage (such as an arm or leg)
Semi-Fowler Sitting partially up
Sub- Beneath
Super- Above or in excess
Supine position Lying on the back
Supra- Above
Trans- Situated across or through
Super- Above or in excess
Supine position Lying on the back
Supra- Above
Trans- Situated across or through
A-or An- Without, no or not
Adeno- Related to a gland
Angio- Blood vessel
Ante- Before, in front of
Anti- Against or opposing
Bi- Double, twice, two or both
Brady- Slow
Carcino- Cancer
Chol(e)- Related to the bile
Cholecyst- Pertaining to the gallbladder
Chondro- Cartilage
Co-, con-, com- Together or with
Cutane- Skin
Cyst- Pertaining to the urinary bladder when used as a prefix
De- Down, or from
Di- Twice or two
Dys- Pertaining to the urinary bladder when used as a prefix
Extra-, extro- Beyond, outside of or outward
Endo- Inside
Gastro- Stomach
Gnath- Jaw
Hemat- or Hem- Blood
Hemi-, semi- Half
Hepat- Liver
Hyp-, hypo- Below, beneath, deficient
Hyper- Above, excessive
Infra- Below or beneath
Intra- Within or inside
Intro- Into or within
Macro- Large
Micro-, micr- Tiny or small
Myc- Fungus
Nephro- Pertaining to the kidney
Pleuro- Rib or side, also pertains to the pleura (coating around the lungs)
Pneumo- Having to do with the lungs
Post- Rib or side, also pertains to the pleura (coating around the lungs)
Pre-, pro- Before, proceeding
Pyelo- Pelvis
Retro- Behind or backwards
Rhin(o)- Nose
Tachy- Fast
Tetan- Rigid or tense
Trans- Through or across
Tri- Three
Ultra- Excessive or beyond
Viscer- Pertaining to the internal organs
-ac, -ic, -al, -ous, -tic Pertaining to or related to
-algia Pain
-ate, -ize Subject to, use
-cardia Having to do with the heart
-crine To secrete
-ectomy Surgical removal
-emia Blood
-ent, -er, -ist Person or agent
-genic Produced or made by
-gram A written record
-graph Instrument used to record something
-graphy To make a recording or picture
-iasis Condition
-ism Condition
-itis Inflammation
-lith Stone
-odyn/o Pain
-ologist One who studies something, a specialist
-ology Study of something
-oma Tumor
-osis Condition
-ostomy Surgical incision - artificial opening
-pathy Disease or disease process
-penia Deficiency
-phobia Strong fear or intolerance
-scope Instrument used to examine something
-scopy The procedure of examining something
-uria Urine. Also used to pertain to presence or condition of the urine
O2 Oxygen
AA&O Awake, alert, and oriented
AAA Abdominal aortic aneurysm
ABG Arterial blood gas
ABX Antibiotics
ACS Acute coronary syndrome
AICD Automated internal cardiac defibrillator
AKA Above the knee amputation
AMA Against medical advice
AMI Acute myocardial infarction
ANS Autonomic nervous system
Appy Appendectomy
ASA Aspirin
B Bilateral
BID Twice a day
BKA Below the knee amputation
BM Bowel movement
BP Blood pressure
BS Bowel sounds
BUN Blood urea nitrogen (measurement of kidney function)
C-spine Cervical spine
C/O Complains of
C/W Consistent with
CA Cancer
Ca Calcium
CAD Coronary artery disease
CBC Complete blood count
CC Chief complaint
CF Cystic fibrosis
CHF Congestive heart failure
CNS Central nervous system
COPD Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
CP Chest pain
CSF Cerebrospinal fluid
CTA Clear to auscultation
CVA Cerebrovascular accident (stroke)
CXR Chest X-ray
D/C Discharge
D/T Due to
D&C Dilation and curettage
Ddx Differential diagnosis
DKA Diabetic ketoacidosis
DM Diabetes mellitus
DTR Deep tendon reflex
DTs Delirium tremens (symptom of alcohol withdrawal)
Dx Diagnosis
EBL Estimated blood loss (from a surgery)
ECG/EKG Electrocardiogram
EEG Electroencephalogram
EMS Emergency medical services
ENT Ear, nose, throat
ESRD End stage renal disease
EtOH Alcohol
F/C Fever and chills
FB Foreign body
FFP Fresh frozen plasma
FROM Full range of motion
Fx Fracture
GB Gallbladder
GERD Gastroesophageal reflux disease
GI Gastrointestinal
GSW Gunshot wound
GxPy Gravida para (pregnancy) followed by the number
GYN Gynecology
H/o History of
HA Headache
HEENT Head, ears, eyes, nose, and throat
HR Heart rate
HTN Hypertension
Hx History
IDDM Insulin dependent diabetes mellitus
IM Intramuscular
IUD Intrauterine device
IV Intravenous
IVF IV fluids
JVD Jugular vein distention
K Potassium
L Left
L-Spine Lumbar spine
LAD Lymphadenopathy
LBBB Left bundle branch block
LE Lower extremity
LFT Liver function test
LLL Left lower lobe (of the lung)
LMA Laryngeal mask airways
LMP Last menstrual period
LOC Level of consciousness
LP Lumbar puncture
LQ Lower quadrant
LS-Spine Lumbosacral spine
LUL Left upper lobe (of the lung)
LVH Left ventricular hypertrophy
MI Myocardial infarction
MOI Mechanism of injury
MVC Motor vehicle crash
N/V Nausea and vomiting
NAD No acute disease, or no acute distress
NIDDM Non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus
NKA or NKDA No known allergies or no known drug allergies
NPO Nothing by mouth
NS Normal saline
NSR Normal sinus rhythm
NTG Nitroglycerin
OE Otitis externa
OM Otitis media
Ortho Orthopedics
OT Occupational therapy
PAC Premature atrial contractions
PCP Primary care physician
PE Pulmonary embolism
PERRLA Pupils equal, round and reactive to light and accommodation
PEx Physical examination
PID Pelvic inflammatory disease
PND Post nasal drip, or paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea
PNS Peripheral nervous system
PO Per os — by mouth
PRN As needed
PT Physical therapy
Pt Patient
PTA Prior to arrival or prior to admission
PVC Premature ventricular contraction
PVD Peripheral vascular disease
Q4H Every 4 hours
QD Every day
QH Every hour
QID Four times daily
R Right
RBBB Right bundle branch block
RBC Red blood cell
ROM Range of motion
ROS Review of systems
RR Respiratory rate
RRR Regular rate and rhythm
RVR Rapid ventricular rate
Rx Prescription
RXN Reaction
S/P Status post (surgical)
SBO Small bowel obstruction
SL Sublingual
SOB Shortness of breath
STAT Immediately
Sub Q Subcutaneously
SVT Supraventricular tachycardia
Sx Symptoms
T-Spine Thoracic spine
TIA Transient ischemic attack
TID Three times a day
TM Tympanic membrane
TMJ Temporomandibular joint
TTP Tenderness to palpation
UA Urine analysis
UTD Up to date
VS Vital signs
VSS Vital signs stable
WBC White blood count
WNL Within normal limits
YO or Y/O Years old

This table has prefixes in the first column of a row paired with the prefix’s second column of the same row. Human Anatomical Location and Motion

Written by on 2017-02-17

Last reviewed and updated by on 2017-02-17