Common Medical Abbreviations & Terms (cont.)

COPD: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

CVA: Cerebrovascular accident (Stroke).


D/C or DC: Discontinue or discharge. For example, a doctor will D/C a drug. Alternatively, the doctor might DC a patient from the hospital.

DDX: Differential diagnosis The variety diagnostic possibilities being considered.

DM: Diabetes mellitus.

DNC, D&C, or D and C: Dilation and curettage. Widening the cervix and scrapping with a curette for the purpose of removing tissue lining the inner surface of the womb (uterus).

DNR: Do not resuscitate. This is a specific order not to revive a patient artificially if they succumb to illness. If a patient is given a DNR order, they are not resuscitated if they are near death and no code blue is called.

DOE: Dyspnea on exertion. Shortness of breath with activity.

DTR: Deep tendon reflexes. These are reflexes that the doctor tests by banging on the tendons with a rubber hammer.

DVT: Deep venous thrombosis (Blood clot in large vein).


ETOH: Alcohol. ETOH intake history is often recorded as part of a patient history.


FX: Fracture.


GOMER: Slang for "get out of my emergency room."

gtt: Drops.


H&H: Hemoglobin and hematocrit. When the H & H is low, anemia is present. The H&H can be elevated in persons who have lung disease from long term smoking or from disease, such as polycythemia rubra vera.

H&P: History and physical examination.

h.s.: At bedtime. As in taking a medicine at bedtime.

H/O or h/o: History of. A past event that occurred.

HA: Headache.

HTN: Hypertension.


I&D: Incision and drainage.

IM: Intramuscular. This is a typical notation when noting or ordering an injection (shot) given into muscle, such as with B12 for pernicious anemia.

IMP: Impression. This is the summary conclusion of the patient's condition by the healthcare practitioner at that particular date and time.

in vitro: In the laboratory.

in vivo: In the body.

IU: International units.


JT: Joint.


K: Potassium. An essential electrolyte frequently monitored regularly in intensive care.

KCL: Potassium chloride.


LBP: Low back pain. LBP is one of most common medical complaints.

LLQ: Left lower quadrant. Diverticulitis pain is often in the LLQ of the abdomen.

LUQ: Left upper quadrant. The spleen is located in the LUQ of the abdomen.

Lytes: Electrolytes (potassium, sodium, carbon dioxide, and chloride).


MCL: Medial collateral ligament.

mg: Milligrams.

ml: Milliliters.

MVP: Mitral valve prolapse.


N/V: Nausea or vomiting.

Na: Sodium. An essential electrolyte frequently monitored regularly in intensive care.

npo: Nothing by mouth. For example, if a patient was about to undergo a surgical operation requiring general anesthesia, they may be required to avoid food or beverage prior to the procedure.


O&P: Ova and parasites. Stool O & P is tested in the laboratory to detect parasitic infection in persons with chronic diarrhea.



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