Physicians and other healthcare professionals are notorious for using jargon, slang, and abbreviations in their travels around the hospital. These medicine, surgery orthopedic, psychiatry, pediatric, gynecology, and urology words can be very confusing for patients. Listed below are some of the more common ones:
ABG – arterial blood gas; a blood sample drawn through a needle into a special syringe most commonly from the radial artery in the wrist but also from the femoral artery (groin), brachial artery (elbow area) and dorsalis pedis artery (foot).
AML– acute myelogenous leukemia.
A line – arterial line, a very thin and small hollow tube that is placed in an artery. Allows second to second monitoring of blood pressure and allows nurses to draw blood for testing. Can be placed in wrist, groin or ankle.
ABD – army battle dressing. These bandages are often seen in documentary footage of injured soldiers as the white fluffy bandages taped onto head wounds.
ABG – for arterial blood gas, a small sample of blood removed from an artery and analyzed in the lab. Provides information on the amount of oxygen in the blood and how well the lungs and kidneys are working.
ABI – ankle brachial index; measure of systolic blood pressure at the ankle and brachial areas (elbow). Used to evaluate for peripheral vascular disease; a value of 0.5 or less connotes lower extremity atherosclerosis.
ACS – abbreviation for American College of Surgeons, a professional group requiring board-certification and attainment of other practice parameters for entry.
adhesions – scar tissue that forms between loops of bowel after surgery performed in the abdominal cavity.
adenocarcinoma – a type of malignancy where the cancerous cell is columnar in shape.
a fib – slang for atrial fibrillation, an irregular beating of the “top” chambers of the heart or atria.
albumin – one of the major types of blood proteins; binds many drugs. Is a commonly ordered lab value and is also a measure of nutritional status
AMA – abbreviation for American Medical Association
AMA – against medical advice.
A or D – alive or dead.
appendectomy – surgical removal of the appendix.
ATC – around the clock.
atrium – one of two chambers in the heart that receives blood. The right atrium receives blood from the vena cava before pumping it to the right ventricle and the left atrium receives blood from the pulmonary arteries before pumping it to the left ventricle.
atrophy – wasting away or shrinkage of a body part or tissue.
ATLS – abbreviation for Advanced Traum Life Support, a formal program of requirements to standardize and improve trauma care by hospitals and physicians.
Copyright 2006 Insidesurgery.com