Common Medical Abbreviations & Terms

Medical Author: William C. Shiel, Jr, MD, FACP, FACR

Medical Author: Jay W. Marks, MD

Wondering why you can't read what the doctor wrote on your prescription? Ever see the doctor's notes in your medical record and found peculiar abbreviations and jargon? Doctors commonly use a variety of abbreviations in order to rapidly and succinctly record information about, and give instructions to, their patients. Below is a listing of many common terms and abbreviations defined so that you can decipher those charts!


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a.c.: Before meals. As in taking a medicine before meals.

a/g ratio: Albumin to globulin ratio.

ACL: Anterior cruciate ligament. ACL injuries are one of the most common ligament injuries to the knee. The ACL can be sprained or completely torn from trauma and/or degeneration.