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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.

Abbreviation Meaning
OD To be taken once a day
BD To be taken twice a day
TDS To be taken three times a day
PRN To be taken as needed
MD To be taken as directed
Medicines
AC To be taken before meals
NBM Not by mouth
Mane Morning
Nocte Night
MD To be taken as directed
PC After food
Medical Tests and Terminology
BNO Bowels not open
BO Bowels open
CSU Catheter stream urine sample
CT Scan Computerised tomography
CXR Chest x-ray
Dx Diagnosis
ECG Electrocardiogram
EEG Electroencephalogram
EMU Early morning urine sample
ESR Erythrocyte sedimentation rate
EUA Examination under anaesthetic
h/o History of
Hx History
Ix Investigations
LA Local anaesthetic
LFT Liver function test
MRI Magnetic resonance imaging
MSU Mid-stream urine sample
NAD Nothing abnormal discovered
NAI Non-accidental injury
o/e On examination
p/c Presenting complaint
POP Plaster of Paris
PTT Partial thromboplastin time
PU Passed urine
ROSC Return of spontaneous circulation
Rx Treatment
TCI To come in
TFT Thyroid function test
TPN Total parenteral nutrition
TPR Temperature, pulse and respiration
TTA Nothing abnormal discovered
NAI To take away
TTO To take out
UCC Urgent care centre
Body & Conditions
# Fracture
AF Atrial fibrillation
BMI Body mass index
BP Blood pressure
CSF Cerebrospinal fluid
CVP Central venous pressure
DVT Deep vein thrombosis
FBC Full blood count
Hb Haemoglobin
HDL High-density lipoprotein
HRT Hormone replacement therapy
LDL Low-density lipoprotein
MRSA Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
NG Nasogastric
NoF Neck of femur
RTA Road traffic accident
STEMI ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction
U&E Urea and electrolytes
UTI Urinary tract infection
VLDL Very-low density lipoprotein
VTE Venous thromboembolism

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