At the clinic I volunteered at, I had to opportunity to file reports from doctors in various fields. The most difficult part is deciphering their hand writing and short hand notes. I have compiled a list of abbreviations that I have come across repeatedly. This is a list of common abbreviations. If there is anything you cannot read or do not know, guess the word and search it on Google. I do this by searching

“__(word/abbreviation I guessed)__ medical abbreviation”.

Read about how I decipher a doctor’s handwriting here.


Some abbreviations should not be used because it can have multiple meanings or can be easily mistaken for something else if handwriting is sloppy. There are some health care providers who believe that given the context and sufficient medical training, these abbreviations should not be a problem and is common sense. Personally, as a health care worker, we should know better than to assume others understand what we mean. Different people interpret the same thing differently. It is better to assume the other person have the very basic medical knowledge and go from there. Therefore, it would still be in the person who is reading it and the patient’s best interest if the full word is written out whenever possible. Don’t be lazy, write clearly!

*Double meaning or easily mistaken, should not use this abbreviation and write the full word


  • C/O = Complains of
    • CP = Chest Pain
    • SOB = Shortness of Breath
  • c (with bar over it) = with
  • *D/C = Discharge OR Discontinue
  • Fx = Fracture
  • L.L.L. = Lower Left Lobe of Lung
  • MMR = (Immunization) Measles, Mumps, Rubella
  • NAD = Nothing Abnormal Detected
  • NIL = Nothing/zero
  • O/E = On Examination
  • q = Each, Every
  • R/O = Rule out
  • Sx = Symptoms OR Surgery
  • Tx = Treatment
  • WNL = Within Normal Limits

Lab Values

  • RBC = Red Blood Cells
  • WBC = White Blood Cells
  • PLT = Platelets
  • Hb = Hemoglobin


  • CXR = Chest X-Ray
  • ECG = Electrocardiogram
  • Echo = Echocardiogram
  • U/S = Ultrasound


  • CAD = Coronary Artery Disease
  • CHF = Congestive Heart Failure
  • COPD = Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
  • DM = Diabetes
  • DVT = Deep Vein Thrombosis
  • GERD = Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
  • HTN = Hypertension
  • PE = Pulmonary Embolism
  • URTI =Upper Respiratory Tract Infection
  • UTI = Urinary Tract Infection


  • AFib = Atrial Fibrillation
  • NSR = Normal Sinus Rhythm
  • SVT = Super Ventricular Tachycardia

Emergency Medicine

  • CVA = Cerebrovascular Accident (Stroke)
  • DNR = Do Not Resuscitate
  • MVA = Motor Vehicle Accident
  • NYD = Not yet discharged; Not yet diagnosed
  • S/P = Status post (procedure)


  • CA = Cancer


  • *O.D. = Right Eye
  • *O.S. = Left Eye
  • *O.U. = Both eyes


  • D&C = Dilation and Curettage
  • IUD = Intrauterine Device (Form of Birth Control)
  • LEEP = Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure
  • LSIL = Low grade Squamous Intraepitheial Lesion
  • NIL = (Papanicolaou Test) Negative for intraepithelial lesion
  • Q140 = Hysterectomy


  • BID = Twice a Day
  • IM = Intramuscular
  • IV = Intravenous
  • *OPD = Once per day
  • PO = Oral Administration
  • prn = As needed

No Longer Abbreviated – Must be written out:

  • Hour of Sleep
  • Every Day
  • Every Other Day

Last Updated: December 2014


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