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Key Abbreviations

AbbreviationTermDefinition
AD Alzheimers disease a chronic neurodegenerative disease that usually starts slowly and worsens over time. A common form of dementia of unknown cause, characterized by progressive memory loss and mental deterioration associated with brain damage.
ADL Activities of daily living are routine activities people do every day without assistance. There are six basic ADLs: eating, bathing, getting dressed, toileting, transferring and continence.
AE Anti-embolism; anti-embolic Preventing or inhibiting thrombus(a stationary blood clot along the wall of a blood vessel). The correct term is “antithrombotic.”
AED Automated external defibrillator a portable electronic device that automatically diagnoses the life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias of ventricular fibrillation and pulseless ventricular tachycardia, and is able to treat them through defibrillation.
AHA American heart association a non-profit organization in the United States that fosters appropriate cardiac care in an effort to reduce disability and deaths caused by cardiovascular disease and stroke
AIDS Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is a chronic, potentially life-threatening condition caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). By damaging your immune system, HIV interferes with your body's ability to fight the organisms that cause disease.
ALR Assisted living residence is a housing facility for people with disabilities or for adults who cannot or choose not to live independently.
ALS Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis a progressive degeneration of the motor neurons of the central nervous system, leading to wasting of the muscles and paralysis.
AMD Age-related macular degeneration An eye disease with its onset usually after age 60 that can progressively destroy the macula, the central portion of the retina, impairing central vision, rarely causes blindness because only the center of vision is affected.
ASL American Sign Language is a visual-gestural language used by 500,000 members of the North American Deaf community.
abd Abdomen the part of the body of a vertabrate containing the digestive organs; the belly/gut.
AC Before meals Abbreviation on a prescription meaning before meals
AKA Above-the-knee amputation is a surgical procedure performed to remove the lower limb above the knee joint when that limb has been severely damaged or diseased.
AM Morning Morning
AMB Ambulate walk; move about.
amt Amount Amount
ap Apical relating to or denoting the top or highest part of something.
BLS Basic life support is a level of medical care which is used for victims of life-threatening illnesses or injuries until they can be given full medical care at a hospital.
BM; bms Bowel movement is the last stop in the movement of food through your digestive tract. Your stool passes out of your body through the rectum and anus.
BP Blood pressure the pressure of the blood in the circulatory system, often measured for diagnosis since it is closely related to the force and rate of the heartbeat and the diameter and elasticity of the arterial walls.
BPD Borderline personality disorder is a long-term pattern of abnormal behavior characterized by unstable relationships with other people, unstable sense of self, and unstable emotions.
BPH Benign prostatic hyperplasia A common, noncancerous enlargement of the prostate gland. The enlarged prostate may compress the urinary tube (urethra), which courses through the center of the prostate, impeding the flow of urine from the bladder through the urethra to the outside.
BE Barium enema(x-ray) is an X-ray exam that can detect changes or abnormalities in the large intestine (colon). The procedure is also called a colon X-ray. An enema is the injection of a liquid into your rectum through a small tube.
BKA Below-the-knee amputation is an amputation often performed for foot and ankle problems. The BKA often leads to the use of an artificial leg that can allow a patient to walk. A BKA is performed roughly in the area between the ankle and knee.
BRP Bathroom privileges Bathroom privileges
C Centigrade/Celsius a measure of temperature
CAD Coronary artery disease is a disease in which a waxy substance called plaque builds up inside the coronary arteries. These arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to your heart muscle.
CDC Centers for disease control and prevention is the leading national public health institute of the United States. Its main goal is to protect public health and safety through the control and prevention of disease, injury, and disability in the US and internationally.
C.diff Clostridium difficile s a bacterium that can cause symptoms ranging from diarrhea to life-threatening inflammation of the colon.
CMS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services An agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that manages the federal health care programs of Medicare and Medicaid
CNS Central nervous system the complex of nerve tissues that controls the activities of the body. In vertebrates it comprises the brain and spinal cord.
CO2 Carbon dioxide a colorless, odorless gas produced by burning carbon and organic compounds and by respiration.
COPD Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a long-term lung disease that refers to both chronic bronchitis and emphysema. COPD symptoms include persistent cough with mucus and shortness of breath.
CPR Cardiopulmonary resuscitation a medical procedure involving repeated compression of a patient's chest, performed in an attempt to restore the blood circulation and breathing of a person who has suffered cardiac arrest.
CVA Cerebral vascular accident is the medical term for a stroke. A stroke is when blood flow to a part of your brain is stopped either by a blockage or the rupture of a blood vessel.
C(with line over it) With With
Ca Cancer also called malignancy, is an abnormal growth of cells.
CABG Coronary artery bypass graft is a surgical procedure to restore normal blood flow to an obstructed coronary artery aka Open heart surgery.
cal Calories is a unit of energy.
cath Catheter a flexible tube inserted through a narrow opening into a body cavity, particularly the bladder, for removing fluid.
CBC Complete blood count is a blood test used to evaluate your overall health and detect a wide range of disorders, including anemia, infection and leukemia. Measures several components and features of your blood, including: Red blood cells, which carry oxygen.
CBR Complete bed rest is a medical treatment in which a person lies in bed for most of the time to try to cure an illness.
CNA Certified nursing assistant helps patients or clients with healthcare needs under the supervision of a Registered Nurse (RN) or a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN).
C/o Complains of Complains of
CS Central service/central supply is an integrated place in hospitals and other health care facilities that performs sterilization and other actions on medical devices, equipment and consumables.
DNR Do not resuscitate is a legal order written either in the hospital or on a legal form to withhold CPR or advanced cardiac life support (ACLS), in respect of the wishes of a patient in case their heart were to stop or they were to stop breathing.
DON Director of nursing is a registered nurse who supervises the care of all the patients at a health care facility. The director of nursing is the one who is responsible for communicating between the nursing staff and the physicians at a health care facility.
DOA Dead on arrival used to describe a person who is declared dead immediately upon arrival at a hospital.
DOE Dyspnea on exertion Difficulty in breathing, often associated with lung or heart disease and resulting in shortness of breath. Also called air hunger.
DRSG Dressing is a sterile pad or compress applied to a wound to promote healing and protect the wound from further harm.
Dx Diagnosis the identification of the nature of an illness or other problem by examination of the symptoms.
E. coli Escherichia coli E. coli (Escherichia coli) is one of several types of bacteria that normally inhabit the intestine of humans and animals (commensal organism).
EEOC Equal employment opportunity commission a body appointed by the president of the United States to administer the Civil Rights Act of 1964, particularly to investigate complaints of discrimination in employment in businesses engaged in interstate commerce.
EHR Electronic health record a computerized repository for a patient's health information providing information to members of the health care team regarding a clinical encounter.
EMR Electronic medical record A computerised record of a person's health “transactions”, collated from summaries of individual electronic patient records and other relevant data.
EMS Emergency medical services An agency that provides prehospital care and transport to the sick and wounded.
ECG; EKG Electrocardiogram a graphic tracing of the variations in electrical potential caused by the excitation of the heart muscle and detected at the body surface.
EENT Eye, ear, nose and throat Eye, ear, nose and throat
ER Emergency room The section of a health care facility for providing rapid treatment to victims of sudden illness or trauma.
F Fahrenheit point of water is 32°F at sea level.
FBAO Foreign-body airway obstruction a partial or complete blockage of the breathing tubes to the lungs due to a foreign body (for example, food, a bead, toy, etc.
FDA Food and drug administration is a federal agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, one of the United States federal executive departments.
FBS Fasting blood sugar The fasting blood glucose test is commonly used to detect diabetes mellitus. A blood sample is taken in a lab, physician's office, or hospital. The test is done in the morning, before the person has eaten.
fl; fld Fluid Fluid
Fx Fracture break or cause to break.
FUO Fever of unknown origin is a fever of at least 101°F (38.3°C) that lasts for more than three weeks or occurs frequently without explanation. Even when a doctor can’t determine the cause of the fever at first, a diagnosis is a step toward treating
GI Gastro-intestinal pertaining to or communicating with the stomach and intestine.
gtt Drops Drops
gtt/min Drops per minute Drops per minute
gal Gallon Gallon
GB Gallbladder the pear-shaped organ located below the liver. It serves as a storage place for bile.
GU Genito-urinary pertaining to the urinary system and genitalia; called also urinogenital and urogenital.
HAI Healthcare-associated infection are infections that patients acquire during the course of receiving treatment for other conditions within a healthcare setting.
HBV Hepatitis B virus A virus which primarily causes inflammation of the liver. Can be transmitted by blood transfusion, needle sticks, body piercing and tattooing using unsterile instruments, dialysis, sexual and even less intimate close contact, and childbirth etc.
Hg Mercury mercury or one of its compounds used medicinally, especially to treat syphilis.
HIPAA Health insurance portability and accountability act of 1996 Public Law 104-191, was enacted on August 21, 1996. Sections 261 through 264 of HIPAA require the Secretary of HHS to publicize standards for the electronic exchange, privacy and security of health information.
HIV Human immunodeficiency virus A sexually transmitted disease that transmits through HIV-infected body fluids, such as blood, semen, and vaginal fluids, or from a mother who has HIV to her child during pregnancy, labor and delivery, or breastfeeding(breat milk).
H2O Water Water
h; hr Hour Hour
ht Height Height
hx History History
IBD Inflammatory bowel disease
ID Identification
I&O Intake and output
IPV Intimate partner violence
IV Intravenous
ICU Intensive care unit
L/min Liters per minute
LPN/LVN Licensed practical nurse/ licensed vocational nurse
L Left; liter
Lab Laboratory
lb Pound
liq Liquid
LLQ Left lower quadrant
LOC Level of consciousness
lt Left
LUQ Left upper quadrant
MDRO Multi-drug resistant organism
MDS Minimum data sheet
mg Milligram
Ml Myocardial infection
mL Millileter
mL/hr Miillileter per hour
mm Millimeter
mm Hg Millimeters of mercury
MRSA Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
MS Multiple sclerosis
MSD Musculo-skeletal disorder
meds Medications
mid noc midnight
min minute
NATCEP nursing assistant training and competancy evalutation program
NCSBN national counsil of state boards of nursing
NG naso-gastric
NIA national institute on aging
NPO nothing per mouth; nothing by mouth
NPUAP national pressure ulcer advisory panel
neg negative
noc night
NA nursing assistant
O2 oxygen
OBRA omnibus budget reconcilliation act of 1987
OCD obsessive-compulsive disorder
OPIM other potentially infectious materials
OSHA occupational safety and health administration
oz ounce
OB obstetrics
OOB out of bed
OR operation room
os mouth
OT occupational therapy
PASS pull the safety pin, aim low, squeeze the lever, sweep back and forth
PHI protected health information
PPE personal proctective equipment
PROM passive range of motion
PTSD post-traumatic stress disorder
PC after meals
PCA patient-controlled analgesia
peds pediatrics
per by; through
PO by mouth; orally
post-op postoperative
Prep Preparation
prn When necessary
Pt Patient
PT Physical therapy
q Every
qh Every hour
q2h, q3h, etc Every 2 hours, every 3 hours and so on
R Rectal temperature, respiration, right
RBC Red blood cell, red blood count
RLQ Right lower quadrant
RN Registered nurse
R/O Rule out
ROM Range of motion
RR Recovery room
rt Right
RUQ Right upper quadrant
RA Rheumatoid arthritis
RACE Rescue, alarm, confine, extinguish
RRT Rapid response team
SCA Sudden cardiac arrest
SDS Safety data sheet
SNF Skilled nursing facility
SpO2 Saturation of peripheral oxygen(oxygen concentration)
STD Sexually transmitted disease
S(with line over it) Without
Spec Specimen
SSE Soapsuds enema
stat At once, immediately
TB Tuberculosis
TIA Transient ischemic attack
TJC The joint commission
TPR Temperature, pulse, and respirations
tbsp Tablespoon
TLC Tender loving care
tsp Teaspoon
U/a Urinalysis
UTI Urinary tract infection
USDA United States department of agriculture
VF; V-fib Ventricular fibrillation
VRE Vancomycin-resistant Enterococci
VS Vital signs
WBC White blood cell; white blood count
w/c Wheelchair Wheelchair
wt Weight Weight
Created by: Steffany_tineo