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A guide to common medical abbreviations

Have you ever looked at your prescriptions or medical records and wondered what all those abbreviations mean?

Abbreviations are used in medical settings to save doctors and nurses valuable time and space when writing prescriptions and other healthcare records.

Here we provide a brief guide on what some of the most common medical abbreviations used in the UK mean. Please feel free to bookmark this page so that you can return to it when you need it.

At Prestige Nursing & Care, we recognise that ensuring medications are managed effectively is critical to the health and well-being of our clients. Our carers can manage complex medication regimes, provide sensitive medication reminders and collect medication from the pharmacy.

For over 75 years, we have been trusted by our clients and their families to provide competent and compassionate home care services. Contact our friendly care experts today to discuss how we can support your family.

WHY ARE THERE SO MANY MEDICAL ABBREVIATIONS?

Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare staff see a large number of patients every day. Medical abbreviations are a convenient way to convey important medical information quickly so that healthcare professionals can spend more time with their patients.

Abbreviations can save healthcare professionals precious space and time while writing prescriptions or healthcare records. For instance, instead of having to write “to be taken once a day”, a doctor or nurse may simply write “OD” to save time.

Abbreviations can also help eliminate human error due to misspellings, typos or handwriting that is difficult to understand.

LIST OF COMMON MEDICAL ABBREVIATIONS

It is important to note that healthcare staff sometimes use the same abbreviations to mean different things.

If you do not know what something in your health records or prescriptions means, ask your GP, nurse or pharmacist.

AbbreviationMeaning
ODTo be taken once a day
BDTo be taken twice a day
TDSTo be taken three times a day
PRNTo be taken as needed
MDTo be taken as directed
Medicines
ACTo be taken before meals
NBMNot by mouth
ManeMorning
Nocte Night
MDTo be taken as directed
PC After food
Medical Tests and Terminology
BNOBowels not open
BOBowels open
CSUCatheter stream urine sample
CT ScanComputerised tomography
CXRChest x-ray
DxDiagnosis
ECGElectrocardiogram
EEGElectroencephalogram
EMUEarly morning urine sample
ESRErythrocyte sedimentation rate
EUAExamination under anaesthetic
h/oHistory of
HxHistory
IxInvestigations
LALocal anaesthetic
LFTLiver function test
MRIMagnetic resonance imaging
MSUMid-stream urine sample
NADNothing abnormal discovered
NAINon-accidental injury
o/eOn examination
p/cPresenting complaint
POPPlaster of Paris
PTTPartial thromboplastin time
PUPassed urine
ROSCReturn of spontaneous circulation
RxTreatment
TCITo come in
TFTThyroid function test
TPNTotal parenteral nutrition
TPRTemperature, pulse and respiration
TTANothing abnormal discovered
NAITo take away
TTOTo take out
UCCUrgent care centre
Body & Conditions
#Fracture
AFAtrial fibrillation
BMIBody mass index
BPBlood pressure
CSFCerebrospinal fluid
CVPCentral venous pressure
DVTDeep vein thrombosis
FBCFull blood count
HbHaemoglobin
HDLHigh-density lipoprotein
HRTHormone replacement therapy
LDLLow-density lipoprotein
MRSAMethicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
NGNasogastric
NoFNeck of femur
RTARoad traffic accident
STEMIST-segment elevation myocardial infarction
U&EUrea and electrolytes
UTIUrinary tract infection
VLDLVery-low density lipoprotein
VTEVenous thromboembolism

We are here to take your call and will provide impartial support and guidance – contact our friendly care experts today to discuss your care needs.


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