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Common Medical Abbreviations/Symbols

Discussion in 'EMS Talk' started by tydek07, Feb 13, 2009.

  1. tydek07

    tydek07 New Member

    EMS Training:
    There was a member in the chat room that stated he sometimes gets confused when he sees a medical abbrevation/term. So, I thought I would make a post of the commonly used medical abbreviations/symbols.

    So they are:

    ↑ Increase(d)
    ↓ Decrease(d)
    Ø None
    ♀ Female
    ♂ Male
    < Lesser then
    > Greater then
    = Equal to
    + positive
    - negative
    ∆ Change
    @ at
    ≈ approximate
    1o primary, first degree
    2o secondary, second degree
    3o tertiary, third degree
    µg microgram
    ā before
    α alpha
    A&O alert and oriented
    Afib atrial fibrillation
    ABCs airway, breathing, and circulation
    abd abdomen, abdominal
    AIDS acquired immune deficiency syndrome
    AED automatic external defibrillator
    AMA against medical advice
    AMI acute myocardial infarction
    Amt. Amount
    Ant. Anterior
    Approx approximately
    ASA acetylsalicyclic acid (aspirin)
    AV atrioventricular
    β beta
    BBB bundle branch block
    bid twice a day
    Bilat. Bilateral
    BM bowel movement
    BP blood pressure
    Brady bradycardia
    BS blood sugar also breath sounds
    BVM bag-valve-mask
    ĉ with
    C-1 cervical spine vertebrae 1, etc
    c/o complaint of
    CA cancer
    cc chief complaint, also cubic centimeter
    CHF congestive heart failure
    cm centimeter
    CMS circulation, movement, sensation
    CNS central nervous system
    CO carbon monoxide
    CO2 carbon dioxide
    COPD chronic obstructed pulmonary disease
    CPR cardio-pulmonary resusciation
    CSF cerbralspinal fluid
    CVA cerebral vascular accident
    cx chest
    D50 50% Detrose
    D5W 5% Detrose in Water
    dc discontinued
    dl deciliter = 100 ml
    DOA dead on arrival
    DTs delirium tremors
    Dx diagnosis
    ECG electrocardiogram
    ED emergency department
    Epi epinephrine
    ER emergency room
    ET endotracheal
    ETOH ethyl alcohol
    Fx fracture
    FBAO foreign body airway obstruction
    GCS Glasgow coma scale
    GI gastrointestinal
    GSW gun shot wound
    Hx history
    H/A headache
    HIV human immunodeficiency virus
    HR heart rate
    Hr(s) hour, hours
    IM intramuscular
    IO intraosseous
    IU international units
    IV intravenous
    IVP IV push
    KCl potassium
    kg kilogram = 1,000 grams
    JVD jugular vein distention
    L liter, left
    L-1, 2 Lumbar spine vertebrae 1, 2 etc.
    LLQ left lower quadrant
    LOC level of consiousness
    LUQ left upper quadrant
    mcg microgram
    mEq milliequivalent
    mg milligram
    MI myocardial infarction
    min minute
    mL milliliter
    mm millimeter
    MVA motor vehicle accident
    N/V nausea & vomiting
    NaHCO3 Sodium
    NKA no known allergies
    noc at night
    NPO nothing by mouth
    NS normal saline
    NSR normal sinus rhythm
    NTG nitroglycerine
    neg. negative
    O2 oxygen
    O2 sat oxygen saturation
    p after
    PAC premature atrial contraction
    palp palpation
    PAT proxysmal atrial tachycardia
    PE pulmonary embolism
    ped pediatric
    PERL pupils equal react to light
    PMH past medical history
    PMS pulse, motor, sensory
    PO by mouth, orally
    prn as needed
    PSVT paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia
    Pt. Patient
    PVC premature ventricular contraction
    q every
    qid four times a day
    R right
    resp respirations
    RLQ right lower quadrant
    RUQ right upper quadrant
    Rx treatment
    ŝ without
    SIDS sudden infant death syndrome
    SL sublingual
    SNT soft, non tender
    SOB shortness of breath
    SQ subcutaneous
    TB tuberculosis
    tid three times a day
    TIA transient ischemic attack
    TKO to keep open
    VF ventricular fibrillation
    Vfib ventricular fibrillation
    VT ventricular tachycardia
    Vtach ventricular tachycardia
    WO wide open

    Feel free to add on others you use/see
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 13, 2009
  2. Sapphyre

    Sapphyre New Member

    Los Angeles County, CA
    EMS Training:
    PE can also be Pedal Edema
  3. emtbill

    emtbill New Member

    EMS Training:
    Critical Care Paramedic
    MgSO4 Magnesium Sulfate
    CaCl2 Calcium Chloride
  4. Let's not forget

    # Fracture
  5. Sasha

    Sasha New Member

    ROSC return of spontaneous circulation.
    RR Respiratory Rate.
    AMI Acute Myocardial Infarction
    STEMI ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction
    CABG Coronary Artery Bypass Graft
    KVO Keep Vein Open
    WNL Within Normal Limits/ We Never Looked
    od oculus dexter (Right eye.)
    os oculus sinister (left eye)
    MS Morphine Sulfate
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 13, 2009
  6. TransportJockey

    TransportJockey Well-Known Member

    That's one I've never actually heard. In my classes and in the field here, PE usually means Pulmonary Emboli or Pulmonary Edema
  7. Sapphyre

    Sapphyre New Member

    Los Angeles County, CA
    EMS Training:
    That's why I was confused first time I saw it show up on a medic's report as - pe on a diff breather. I asked around, told when it shows up like that, they're talking about pedal edema.
  8. Buzz

    Buzz New Member

    Our medical control authority here sent out a list of approved shorthand terms that had pretty much everything on that list, as well as all area hospital abbreviations, and some other useful information. I took that list and taped it to the inside of the clipboard in the rig I usually ride in. I'll go over the list next time I work and see if I can find some others that aren't on the list here.
  9. Summit

    Summit Critical Crap

    Rocks and Snow
    AMS Acute Mountain Sickness
    ALOC Altered Level of Conciousness
  10. FireWA1

    FireWA1 Active Member

    EMS Training:
    AAA:Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

    (not sure if that is one but the medics teaching my class keep saying that so I am guessing it is...)
  11. Buzz

    Buzz New Member

    That most definitely is one... Used it recently too :)
  12. tydek07

    tydek07 New Member

    EMS Training:
    Oh, how did that go?
  13. medic417

    medic417 The Truth Provider

    Many services and hospitals have a list of approved abbreviations/symbols. Improper use could lead to patient harm.
  14. VentMedic

    VentMedic New Member

    He's not the only one confused. The confusion happens very often and has been a large cause of medical errors. If you read hospital reports you will now see many things that were previously written as abbreviations are now spelled out.
  15. VentMedic

    VentMedic New Member

    For those of us at sea level:
    AMS - Altered Mental Status

    ALS -
    Advanced Life Support
    Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis also called Lou Gehrig's disease

    EMS -
    Emergency Medical Services
    Electro Myostimulation

    Emergency Medical Technician
    Electronic Muscle Therapy (Physical Therapy)
    Expiratory Muscle Training (Physical Therapy or Respiratory Thereapy)
    Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition (more RT speak when working with NO)

    So if you hear ALS, EMS or EMT used in the hospital setting, they may not be talking about you.
  16. medic417

    medic417 The Truth Provider

    LOL. How true. Wonder how many of the fits thrown here about treatment from real medical professionals was not even really about them.
  17. Buzz

    Buzz New Member

    I'm not entirely sure how it turned out. I haven't been back to the hospital we took the patient to since then. The patient was still alive when we got there, although definitely was not doing so well.
  18. BossyCow

    BossyCow New Member

    Rural (no... really, really rural) Washington Stat
    EMS Training:
    On our reports PE means physical exam

  19. Along with that, AD (right ear) AS (left ear) AU (both ears), OU (both eyes)
  20. ffemt8978

    ffemt8978 Forum Vice-Principal Community Leader

    A location near you....probably
    EMS Training:
    Good point. Our medical director did the same thing. Just because it's a medical abbreviation doesn't mean it's an approved medical abbreviation for your agency.

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