Abbreviations

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Abbreviations or acronyms are often used in working environments, where they serve a number of functions, including:

  • ”Shorthand” – for speed of verbal or written communication
  • Creating a sense of shared identity – we understand these abbreviations, others don’t. Eponyms and jargon can serve a similar purpose.

Some abbreviations are official in medical practice, such as those listed in the BNF (British National Formulary) for use in prescriptions. These are given in bold below. Wikipedia also has a list of abbreviations used in medical prescriptions. A clinical trial abbreviations page exists in GANFYD.

LogoWarningBox4.pngIn the medical record use abbreviations only where their meaning is unambiguous and would be easily understood by colleagues. Never use abbreviations for making derogatory comments about patients.

Abbreviations are often used in medical notes. Some are uncomplimentary 'in-jokes' (e.g. NFN – meaning Normal for Norfolk - or 'stupid'), and will be extremely embarrassing to explain at a minimum, and at worst could destroy your defence of a malpractice claim. Indeed many abbreviations are best avoided as they can be jargon specific to even a single hospital or medical school and explaining them to other doctors, yet alone patients who have the right to see their notes can be an unwelcome burden. Abbreviations are also often used in emails, text or instant messaging systems, and internet forums. There are many websites listing acronyms and abbreviations – see below.

Alphabetical list of abbreviations often used in medicine

If you can not find an abbreviation on this page do a search next. Please check also Category:Abbreviations, Category:Acronyms and Category:Initialisms as it is impossible to make this list all inclusive. For example the now official names of genes were all previously abbreviations and it is unlikely that GANFYD will ever get around to detailing all 40,000 odd.

Contents

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Symbols

'# - fracture

A

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B

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C

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D

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E

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F

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G

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H

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I

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J

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K

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L

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M

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N

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O

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P

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Q

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R

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S

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T

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U

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V

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W

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X

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Y

YGM - You've Got Mail (used in electronic forums, such as Doctors net uk) to indicate to somebody that they have been sent somebody a private message, so that they can check their personal mail).

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Z

Z-N (stain) - Ziehl-Nielsen stain


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External links

  • Acronym finder. On their home page they say "Over 163,000 acronyms, abbreviations, initialisms and their definitions. The Acronym Finder is the web's largest database of its kind. Here you'll find definitions for acronyms, abbreviations and initialisms about all subjects, including information technology, telecommunications, military, government, and much more." They have 14 definitions for "BTW".
  • What is. A more Information technology based site. BTW was listed with about 140 other Chat acronyms.
  • Medi-lexicon. A dictionary of over 200,000 medical, pharmaceutical, biomedical & healthcare acronyms and abbreviations.

References