Doctors and healthcare professionals deal with a vast variety of cases and medical terms on a daily basis. They often need to quickly scribble notes and prescriptions, and using medical abbreviations saves them a lot of time. Knowing what these medical acronyms mean can help you navigate through the medical field more easily. There is no specific standard that doctors follow when using common medical abbreviations, so the context in which the abbreviation is used is important. Below is a list of a few common medical terms and abbreviations which will come in handy the next time you visit a doctor.

Medical Terms

  1. Abrasion: A superficial cut or scrape which usually isn’t serious
  2. Abscess: A tender, swollen area in a tissue formed usually due to an infection
  3. Acute: Used to describe a condition or symptom that occurs suddenly and unexpectedly. It can be severe but does not last for a very long time
  4. Benign: Not cancerous or not harmful
  5. Biopsy: A test conducted on a tissue sample taken from the body for a closer examination
  6. Chronic: Used to describe an illness or condition that persists for a long time
  7. Contusion: A bruise
  8. Defibrillator: A medical apparatus that uses electric shocks to restore normal heartbeat
  9. Edema: Swelling caused by fluid in the body’s tissues
  10. Embolism: A block in an artery caused by a blood clot or an air bubble
  11. Epidermis: The outer layer of the skin
  12. Fracture: Broken bone or cartilage
  13. Gland: An organ or tissue that produces and releases chemical substances in the body for specific functions
  14. Hypertension: High blood pressure
  15. Inpatient: A patient who needs to be hospitalised
  16. Intravenous: Administering drugs or fluids through a vein
  17. Malignant: Cancerous
  18. Outpatient: A patient who needs treatment but does not need hospitalisation
  19. Prognosis: The estimated course of disease progression and treatment
  20. Relapse: When the illness reoccurs in a patient who was already cured of the illness at least once before
  21. Sutures: Stitches used to join tissues together
  22. Transplant: The removal of an organ or tissue from one body and implanted into another
  23. Vaccine: A substance or preparation that causes the body to produce antibodies required to fight a particular disease in the body
  24. Zoonotic disease: A disease that can be transferred from animals to humans

Medical Root Words

  1. Cardi/o: Related to the heart
  2. Derm/a/o, dermat/o: Related to the skin
  3. Encephal/o: Related to the brain
  4. Gastr/o: Related to the stomach
  5. Hemat/o: Related to blood
  6. My/o: Related to muscle
  7. Oste/o: Related to bone
  8. Pulmon/o: Refers to the lungs
  9. Rhin/o: Related to the nose
  10. Sclerosis: Hard or hardening
  11. Stasis: Slowing or stopping the flow of a bodily fluid
  12. Therm/o: Related to heat

Medical Abbreviations And Acronyms

  1. ALS: Advanced life support
  2. Bl wk: Blood work
  3. BMI: Body mass index
  4. BP: Blood pressure
  5. CPR: Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (mouth-to-mouth resuscitation)
  6. C-spine: Cervical spine
  7. DNR: Do not resuscitate (a medical order indicating that providers should not perform CPR)
  8. ED/ER: Emergency department or emergency room
  9. EKG: Electrocardiogram (a way of monitoring the heart and testing for problems)
  10. HDL-C: High-density lipoprotein cholesterol (often called ‘good’ cholesterol)
  11. HR: Heart rate, expressed as beats per minute
  12. LDL-C: Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (often called ‘bad’ cholesterol)
  13. Lytes: Electrolytes
  14. NICU: Neonatal intensive care unit (ICU for premature infants)
  15. OR: Operating room
  16. Pre-op: Preoperative
  17. Psych: Refers to psychiatry or the psychiatric ward
  18. PT: Physical therapy
  19. Rx: Prescription
  20. Stat: Immediately