Understanding Medical Abbreviations and Acronyms

Have you ever tried to read a doctor's note or the letters and numbers on a prescription and found yourself lost? Health professionals often use abbreviations, acronyms, and other medical terminology as a reference to quickly search and accurately record information about their patients and give them instructions. It is important to understand the context in which the abbreviation or term has been used. This article provides a short list of common abbreviations you may have seen on your doctor's notebook; on a prescription drug container or bottle; in lab or other test results; or in doctor's notes. Use this list as a resource for finding common abbreviations and acronyms used in the health care community, to quickly find and answer your questions about the letters and numbers of a drug that your doctor has prescribed, or other notes from your doctor or other medical professionals.

If you have high blood pressure, you are at risk of developing life-threatening diseases, such as strokes and heart attacks. The OpenMD index includes 5000 common medical abbreviations. The meanings vary by institution and clinical context. When available, the context and the original Latin term are provided in parentheses after the English definition.

For example, ElixiRem Emmetropiaema-IgA Immunoglobulin A AntimisialEMG stands for electromyogram, electromyographyEMS stands for emergency medical service endocrineENT stands for ear, nose and throatExtraocular muscleEP stands for extrapyramidalEPS stands for extrapyramidal symptoms Emergency room, ERCP stands for prolonged release endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography erythrocyte sedimentation ESR stands for End-stage renal disease EST stands for Electroshock therapy ESL stands for lithotripsy with extracorporeal shock waves ET-1 stands for endothelin-1EtOH, EtOH stands for ethyl alcohol ext. Physicians and other health professionals often use a list of abbreviations, acronyms, and other medical terminology as a reference to quickly search and accurately record information about their patients and give them instructions. Against medical advice AMI stands for acute myocardial infarction; AML; acute myelogenous leukemia (myeloblastic); AML; AML; advanced medical life support; ampoule blister; amputation; an antinuclear antibody; anatomy or anatomyA nuclear antineuronal antibody; ANP; atrial natriuretic peptide. Nursing Central combines Taber's with a medical dictionary, a disease handbook, a laboratory guide and useful tools.For an excellent reference, see the List of Abbreviations and Error-Prone Symbols (PDF) published by The Institute for Safe Medication Practices.

Theodore Eflin
Theodore Eflin

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