Common Medical Abbreviations in English

Abbreviations and medical terminology are used for many conditions, and for instructions on medication prescribed by your doctor ...


Abbreviations are used very frequently in medicine. They boost efficiency as long as they are used intelligently. The advantages of brevity should be weighed against the possibilities of obfuscation and ambiguity. Certain medical abbreviations are avoided to prevent mistakes, according to best practices; these are flagged in the list of abbreviations used in medical prescriptions.

1. ACE - angiotensin-converting enzyme

2. ACTH - adrenocorticotropic hormone

3. AD - Hantidiuretic hormone

4. AIDS - acquired immunodeficiency syndrome

5. BMR - basal metabolic rate

6. BP - blood pressure

7. BSA - body surface area

8. Ca - calcium

9. cAMP - cyclic adenosine monophosphate

10. CBC - complete blood count

11. DNA - deoxyribonucleic acid

12. DTP - diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis

13. D/W - dextrose in water

14. ECF - extracellular fluid

15. ECG - electrocardiogram

16. EEG - electroencephalogram

17. ENT - ear nose and throat

18. Hb - hemoglobin

19. HCl - hydrochloric acid; hydrochloride

20. HCO3 - bicarbonate

21. Hct - hematocrit

22. ICF - intracellular fluid

23. ICU - intensive care unit

24. IU - international unit

25. IV - intravenous(ly)

26. kcal - kilocalorie

27. kg - kilogram

28. mCi - millicurie

29. MCV - mean corpuscular volume

30. mEq - Milliequivalent

31. mol - wt molecular weight

32. nm - nanometer

33. O2 - oxygen

34. OTC - over-the-counter

35. Pao2 - arterial oxygen partial pressure

36. PAS - periodic acid-Schiff

37. Pco2 - carbon dioxide partial pressure

38. PCR - polymerase chain reaction

39. pH - hydrogen ion concentration

40. PMN - polymorphonuclear leukocyte

41. RA - rheumatoid arthritis

42. RBC - red blood cell

43. RNA - ribonucleic acid

44. sq - square

45. SSRI - selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor

46. STS - serologic test(s) for syphilis

47. tid - 3 times a day

48. TPN - total parenteral nutrition

49. URI - upper respiratory infection

50. UTI - urinary tract infection

51. WHO - World Health Organization

52. wt - weight

53. μ - micro-; micron

54. μCi - microcurie

55. μg - microgram

56. - millimicron

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Common Medical Abbreviations in English

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