URL of this page: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/appendixb.html

Appendix B: Some Common Abbreviations

This is a list of some common abbreviations and acronyms.

This appendix supplements the MedlinePlus Understanding Medical Words tutorial.

Abbreviation Stands for More information
ABG Arterial blood gases You may have an ABG test to detect lung diseases.
ACE Angiotensin converting enzyme Drugs called ACE inhibitors are used to treat high blood pressure, heart failure, diabetes and kidney diseases.
ACL Anterior cruciate ligament Commonly injured part of the knee
ADHD Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder A behavior disorder
AFIB Atrial fibrillation A disturbance of the rhythm of the heart
AIDS Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome Infection caused by human immunodeficiency virus
ALP Alkaline phosphatase You may have a blood test for ALP to detect liver or bone disease.
ALS Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease
ALT Alanine aminotransferase You may have a blood test for ALP to detect liver disease.
AMD Age-related macular degeneration An eye problem
AMI Acute myocardial infarction Heart attack
AODM Adult onset diabetes mellitus Type 2 diabetes
AST Aspartate aminotransferase You may have a blood test for ALP to detect liver disease.
AVM Arteriovenous malformation A defect in the circulatory system.
BID Twice a day Your doctor may write this on your prescription.
BMI Body mass index A measure of how much you should weigh based on your height
BP Blood pressure The force of your blood pushing against the walls of your arteries
BPH Benign prostatic hypertrophy Enlargement of the prostate gland
BRCA Breast Cancer Gene People with the gene may be at increased risk for breast or ovarian cancer.
BUN Blood urea nitrogen You may have a blood test for BUN to detect kidney disease problems.
CA Cancer OR Calcium  
CA-125 Cancer antigen 125 You may have a blood test for CA-125 A to measure cancer activity.
CABG Coronary artery bypass graft A type of heart surgery
CAD Coronary artery disease A common type of heart disease
CAT Computerized axial tomography A type of x-ray
CBC Complete blood count A blood test that measures many properties of the cells in your blood
CHD Congenital heart disease Heart disease you were born with
CHF Congestive heart failure Also called heart failure. A condition in which the heart can’t pump enough blood throughout the body.
CMV Cytomegalovirus A common virus
CNS Central nervous system The brain and spinal cord
COPD Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease A lung disease that makes it hard to breathe
CPK Creatine phosphokinase You may have a blood test for CPK to see if you’ve had a heart attack.
CPR Cardiopulmonary resuscitation An emergency procedure whose heart has stopper or is no longer breathing
CRF Chronic renal failure Failure of the kidneys
CRP C-reactive protein You may have a blood test for CRP to see if you have   inflammation or heart problems.
CSF Cerebrospinal fluid A fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord
CVA Cerebrovascular accident A stroke or "brain attack"
CXR Chest x-ray A diagnostic test that uses radiation to make images of your lungs
D&C Dilatation and curettage A surgical procedure on the uterus (womb)
DJD Degenerative joint disease Another name for arthritis
DM Diabetes mellitus  
DTP Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis A vaccine for three diseases
DVT Deep-vein thrombosis A blood clot
DX Diagnosis  
ECG, EKG Electrocardiogram A test that measures electrical impulses of the heart
ECHO Echocardiogram A test that uses sound waves to look at the heart
EEG Electroencephalogram A test that measures electrical impulses of the brain
EMG Electromyography A test that measures electrical impulses of muscles
ENT Ear, nose and throat  
ERCP Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography A way to diagnose problems in the liver, gallbladder, bile ducts and pancreas
ESR Erythrocyte sedimentation rate A blood test for inflammation
ESRD End-stage renal (kidney) disease  
FSH Follicle stimulating hormone If you are a woman, you may have a blood test for FSH to evaluate fertility.
GERD Gastroesophageal reflux disease A problem that happens when stomach contents leak back into your gullet
GI Gastrointestinal Another term for your digestive system
GFR Glomerular filtration rate A test of kidney damage
GU Genitourinary The urinary and sex organs
HAV Hepatitis A virus A virus that causes one type of liver disease
HBV Hepatitis B virus A virus that causes one type of liver disease
HCT Hematocrit A blood test measurement
HCV Hepatitis C virus A virus that causes one type of liver disease
HDL High density lipoprotein A type of cholesterol, also known as "good" cholesterol
HGB Hemoglobin A blood test measurement
HIV Human immunodeficiency virus The virus that causes AIDS
HPV Human papilloma virus A virus that causes cervical cancer
HRT Hormone replacement therapy Hormones supplements that women may take
HTN Hypertension High blood pressure
IBD Inflammatory bowel disease A name for two digestive disorders-- ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease
IBS Irritable bowel syndrome A problem with the large intestine
ICD Implantable cardioverter defibrillator A device that monitors heart rhythm problems
ICU Intensive care unit Special hospital unit
IDDM Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus Type 1 diabetes
IM Intramuscular A type of injection
IUD Intrauterine device A type of birth control for women
IV Intravenous A type of injection
IVP Intravenous pyelogram An x-ray test of the  urinary system
LDL Low density lipoprotein A type of cholesterol, also known as "bad" cholesterol
LFT Liver function tests  
MI Myocardial infarction Heart attack
MMR Measles, mumps, and rubella A vaccine for three diseases
MRI Magnetic resonance imaging A  type of imaging test
MRSA Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus A type of infection
MS Multiple sclerosis A disease of the nervous system
NG Nasogastric You may need an NG tube to empty the contents of your stomach.
NIDDM Non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus Type 2 diabetes
NKDA No known drug allergies  
NSAID Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug Drugs like ibuprofen
OCD Obsessive-compulsive disorder A type of anxiety disorder
PAD Peripheral arterial disease Diseases of the arteries outside the heart
PAP Papanicolau You may need a PAP test to detect cervical cancer.
PAT Paroxysmal atrial tachycardia A disturbance of the rhythm of the heart
PET Positron emission tomography A type of x-ray test
PFT Pulmonary function test You may need PFTs to find out how your lungs are working.
PID Pelvic inflammatory disease Infection and inflammation of the female reproductive organs
PMS Premenstrual syndrome A group of symptoms that may happen before a woman’s period
PPD Purified protein derivative You may have a PPD skin test for tuberculosis.
PRN As needed Your doctor may write this on your prescription.
PSA Prostate specific antigen You may have a blood test for PSA to detect prostate disease.
PT Prothrombin time A measure of blood clotting
PTH Parathyroid hormone You may have a blood test for PTH to detect    parathyroid disease.
PTSD Post-traumatic stress syndrome An illness caused by traumatic events
PTT Partial thromboplastin time A measure of blood clotting
PUD Peptic ulcer disease A disease of the stomach
PVC Premature ventricular contraction A disturbance of the rhythm of the heart
QID Four times a day Your doctor may write this on your prescription.
RA Rheumatoid arthritis A type of joint disease
RBC Red blood cell A type of blood cell
RSV Respiratory syncytial virus A virus that causes infections in children
Rx Treatment  
SAD Seasonal affective disorder Depression during seasons with little light
SIDS Sudden infant death syndrome  
SLE Systemic lupus erythematosus Lupus for short
SOB Shortness of Breath  
STD Sexually transmitted disease  
T3 Triiodothyronine You may have a blood test for T3 to detect thyroid disease.
T4 Thyroxine You may have a blood test for T4 to detect thyroid disease.
TB Tuberculosis An infection of the lungs
TAH Total abdominal hysterectomy Surgery to remove a woman's uterus (womb)
TIA Transient ischemic attack A  small stroke
TIBC Total iron binding capacity A test that measures the amount of iron in your blood
TID Three times a day Your doctor may write this on your prescription.
TMJ Temporomandibular joint The joint that connects your jaw to the side of your head
TORCH Stands for a group of infections that may cause birth defects  A newborn will have this test to check for infections. Sometimes the mother also needs the test.
TSH Thyroid stimulating hormone You may have a blood test for TSH to detect thyroid disease.
TURP Transurethral resection of prostate gland An operation to remove parts of the prostate gland
URI Upper respiratory infection Another name for the common cold
UTI Urinary tract infection Infection of the bladder and kidneys
XRT Radiotherapy Therapy that uses radiation, usually for cancer
WBC White blood cell A type of blood cell