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Spinal Cord Injury & Disorders Lexicon

An A to Z listing of words and phrased commonly associated with spinal cord injury and disorders.

1. Medical Terms and Abbreviations

1.1. Listing of Medical Abbreviations

This alphabetical listing of medical abbreviations is intended to help you better understand commonly used abbreviations and acronyms in your medical records or used by medical staff as they speak to you, or around you.  We hope that you find it helpful.


A - accommodation; acetum; angström unit; anode; anterior
a - artery
a - before
A2 aortic second sound
aa - of each; arteries

– abdominal aortic aneurysm
A-a gradient – alveolar to arterial gradient
AAS – acute abdominal series
ABD – abdomen
ABG – arterial blood gas
ABI - ankle-brachial index
ABO three basic blood groups
AC - adrenal cortex; air conduction; alternating current; axiocervical
AC – before eating
acc. - accommodation
A/CA - accommodative/convergence accommodation ratio
ACE - angiotensin-converting enzyme
ACh - acetylcholine
AChE - acetylcholinesterase
AChR - acetylcholine receptor
ACLS – advanced cardiac life support
ACTH – adrenocorticotropic hormone
AD – autonomic dysreflexia
ad lib – as much as needed
ad lib. - freely; as desired
admov. - apply
ad sat. - to saturation
ADH – anti-diuretic hormone
ADHD - attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder
ADL – activity of daily living
AED - antiepileptic drug
AF – atrial fibrillation or afebrile
AFB – acid-fast bacilli
AFP – alpha-fetoprotein
AFO – ankle foot orthosis
Ag - silver; antigen
A/G – albumin/globulin ratio
AGC -  atypical glandular cells
AgNO3 - silver nitrate
ah - hypermetropic astigmatism
AHF - antihemophilic factor
AI – aortic insufficiency
AICD - automatic implantable cardiac defibrillator
AIDS - acquired immunodeficiency syndrome
AK - above the knee
AKA – above the knee amputation
Al - aluminum
Alb - albumin
ALL – acute lymphocytic leukemia
ALP - alkaline phosphatase
ALS – amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease)
ALT - alanine aminotransferase
alt. dieb. - every other day
alt. hor. - every other hour
alt. noc. - every other nigh
AM - morning
Am - mixed astigmatism
a.m.a. - against medical advice
amb – ambulate
AMI - acute myocardial infarction
AML – acute myelogenous leukemia
AMLS - Advanced Medical Life Support
amp - ampule; amputation
ANA – antinuclear antibody
anat - anatomy or anatomic
ANNA - anti-neuronal nuclear antibody
ANP - atrial natriuretic peptide
ant. - anterior
anti-CCP - anticyclic citrullinated peptide
Ao. - aorta
AOB – alcohol on breath
AODM – adult onset diabetes mellitus
A&P - auscultation and percussion
AP – anteroposterior or abdominal – perineal
ap - before dinner
APAP - acetaminophen
aPTT - activated partial thromboplastin
AQ, aq - water
aq. dest. - distilled water
aq. frig. - cold water
ARC AIDS - related complex
ARDS – acute respiratory distress syndrome
ARF – acute renal failure
ARMD - age-related macular degeneration
AS – aortic stenosis
As. - astigmatism
ASA - acetylsalicylic acid
ASAP – as soon as possible
ASC - atypical squamous cells
asc. - ascending
ASCA - anti-Saccharomyces cerevisiae antibody
ASC-US - atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance
ASCVD – atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease
ASD – atrial septal defect
AsH - hypermetropic astigmatism
ASHD – atherosclerotic heart disease
ASIA – American Spinal Injury Association
AsM - myopic astigmatism
AST - aspartate aminotransferase
Ast - astigmatism
ATCC - American Type Culture Collection
at. wt. - atomic weight
Au - gold
AV – atrioventricular
A-V – arteriovenous

A-VO2 – arteriovenous oxygen
AVP - arginine vasopressin


B - boron; bacillus
Ba - barium
BAC - blood alcohol concentration
– bundle branch block
BBT - basal body temperature
BC – bowel care
BCAA – branched chain amino acids
BCG - bacille Calmette-Guérin
BCLS - basic cardiac life support
BCP - birth control pills
BD - Buerger disease
Be - beryllium
BE – barium enema
BEE – basal energy expenditure
BHS - beta-hemolytic streptococci
Bi - bismuth
b. - bone
bib. - drink
bid – twice a day
bilat – bilateral
b.i.n. - twice a night
bipap - bilevel positive airway pressure
BK - below the knee
BKA – below the knee amputation
BLS - basic life support
BM – bone marrow or bowel movement
BMI - body mass index
BMR – basal metabolic rate
BMS - bone marrow suppression
BMT - bone marrow transplantation
BNP - brain natriuretic peptide
bol. - pill
BOM – bilateral otitis media
BP – blood pressure
B.P. - British Pharmacopeia
BPH – benign prostatic hypertrophy
BPM – beats per minute
BRBPR – bright red blood per rectum
BRM - biologic response modifier
BROW - barley, rye, oats, and wheat
BRP – bathroom privileges
BS – bowel or breath sounds
BSA - body surface area
BSE - breast self-examination
BUN – blood urea nitrogen
BW – body weight
BX – biopsy


C - Calorie (kilocalorie); Celsius
c - calorie (small calorie)
– with
C&S – culture and sensitivity
CA – cancer
CA - coronary artery
Ca – calcium
CAA – crystalline amino acids
CABG – coronary artery bypass graft
CaCO3 - calcium carbonate
CAD – coronary artery disease
CAH - chronic active hepatitis
Cal - large calorie
CAP - let (the patient) take
cap. - capsule
CAT – computerized axial tomography
cath - catheter
CBC – complete blood count
CBG – capillary blood gas
CBI - continuous bladder irrigation
CBRNE - chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive agents
CBT - cognitive behavioral therapy
cc - cubic centimeter
CC – chief complaint
CCl 4 - carbon tetrachloride
CCU – clean catch urine or cardiac care unit
CCV – critical closing volume
CD4 - T-helper cells
CD8 - cytotoxic cells
CDC - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
CEA - carcinoembryonic antigen
CF – cystic fibrosis
CFTR - cystic fibrosis transmembrane regulator
cg - centigram
CGL – chronic granulocytic leukemia
CHD - congenital heart disease; coronary heart disease
ChE - cholinesterase
CHF – congestive heart failure
CHO – carbohydrate
Ci - curie
CI – cardiac index
CIN - cervical intraepithelial neoplasia
CIS - carcinoma in situ
CK - creatine kinase
CK-MB - serum creatine kinase, myocardial-bound
Cl - chlorine
CLL - chronic lymphocytic leukemia
cm - centimeter
CML – chronic myelogenous leukemia
c.m.s. - to be taken tomorrow morning
CMT - certified medication technician
CMV – cytomegalovirus
CN – cranial nerves
c.n. - tomorrow night
CNS – central nervous system
c.n.s. - to be taken tomorrow night
CO - carbon monoxide
CO – cardiac output
Co - cobalt
CO2 - carbon dioxide
C/O – complaining of
COLD – chronic obstructive lung disease
comp. - compound; compounded of
COMT - catechol-O-methyltransferase
COPD – chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
COX-2 - cyclooxygenase 2 inhibitors
CP – chest pain or cerebral palsy
CPAP – continuous positive airway pressure
CPC - clinicopathologic conference
CPD - cephalopelvic disproportion
CPHSS - Cincinnati Prehospital Stroke Scale
CPK – creatinine phosphokinase
CPM - continuous passive motion
CPR – cardiopulmonary resuscitation
CR - conditioned reflex; controlled release; crown-rump length
CRCL – creatinine clearance
CREST - calcinosis, Raynaud phenomenon, esophageal dysfunction, sclerodactyly, telangiectasia (cluster of features of systemic sclerosis scleroderma)
CRF – chronic renal failure
CRP – C-reactive protein
CRS-R - Conners Rating Scales-Revised
CRTS – certified recreational therapy specialist
CS - cardiogenic shock; cesarean section; culture and sensitivity
CSF – cerebrospinal fluid
CSH - combat support hospital
CSW – certified social worker
CT – computerized tomography
Cu - copper
CV - cardiovascular
CVA – cerebrovascular accident or costovertebral angle
CVAT – CVA tenderness
CVC - central venous catheter
CVRB - critical value read back
CVP – central venous pressure
CVS - chorionic villi sampling
CXR – chest X-ray


D - diopter; dose
D5/0.9 NaCl - 5% dextrose and normal saline solution (0.9% NaCl)
D5/½ /NS - 5% dextrose and half-normal saline solution (0.45% NaCl)
D5W - 5% dextrose in water
d - density; right
/d - per day
D and C - dilatation and curettage
– diet as tolerated
DAW – dispense as written
dB - decibel
DBP - diastolic blood pressure
DC - direct current; doctor of chiropractic
DC – discontinue or discharge
D&C – dilation and curettage
DDx – differential diagnosis
D5W – 5% dextrose in water
Derm - dermatology
det. - let it be given
DEXA - dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry
DFV - Doppler flow velocimetry
DHT - dihydrotestosterone
DI – diabetes insipidus
DIC – disseminated intravascular coagulopathy
dieb. alt. - every other day
dieb. tert. - every third day
dil. - dilute; diluted
dim. - halved
DIP – distal interphalangeal joint
DISIDA - (scan) diisopropyl iminodiacetic acid (cholescintigraphy)
DJD – degenerative joint disease
DKA – diabetic ketoacidosis
dL – deciliter
DM – diabetes mellitus
DMARD - disease-modulating antirheumatic drug
DNA – deoxyribonucleic acid
DNH - do not hospitalize
DNR – do not resuscitate
DOA – dead on arrival
DOB - date of birth
DOE – dyspnea on exertion
DPat - diphtheria-acellular pertussis tetanus (vaccine)
DPL – diagnostic peritoneal lavage
DPT – diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus
dr. - dram
DRE - digital rectal examination
DRG - diagnosis-related group
DSM-IV-TR - Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition, Text Revision
DTR – deep tendon reflexes
DTs - delirium tremens
dur. - dolor while pain lasts
D5W - dextrose 5% in water
DVT – deep venous thrombosis
DWI - driving while intoxicated
DX – diagnosis


E eye ; Escherichia
– essential amino acids
EBL – estimated blood loss
EBV - Epstein-Barr virus
ECD – external continence device
ECG – electrocardiogram
ECF - extended care facility; extracellular fluid
ECHO - echocardiography
ECMO - extracorporeal membrane oxygenation
ECT – electroconvulsive therapy
ED – erectile dysfunction
EDD - estimated date of delivery (formerly EDC: estimated date of confinement)
EEG - electroencephalogram
EENT - eye, ear, nose, and throat
EF - ejection fraction
EFAD – essential fatty acid deficiency
EGD - esophagogastroduodenoscopy
EIA - enzyme immunosorbent assay
EKG - electrocardiogram; electrocardiograph
ELISA - enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay
elix. - elixir
Em - emmetropia
EMA-IgA - immunoglobulin A antiendomysial
EMG – Electromyogram
EMS - emergency medical service
Endo - endocrine
EMV – eyes, motor, verbal response (Glasgow coma scale)
ENT – ears, nose, and throat
EOM – extraocular muscles
EP - extrapyramidal
EPS - extrapyramidal symptoms
ER - Emergency Room, extended-release
ERCP - endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography
ESR – erythrocyte sedimentation rate
EST - electroshock therapy
ESWL - extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy
ET – endotracheal
ET-1 - endothelin-1
ETT – endotracheal tube
ERCP – endoscopic retrograde cholangio -pancreatography
ETOH – ethanol
EUA – examination under anesthesia
ext. - extensor; external


F - Fahrenheit
f - female
FA - fatty acid
F and E - fluid and electrolyte
FAP - familial adenomatous polyposis
– fasting blood sugar
FD - fatal dose; focal distance
FDA - (U.S.) Food and Drug Administration
Fe - iron
FES – functional electrical stimulation
FEV – forced expiratory volume
FFP – fresh frozen plasma
FHT - fetal heart tone
FISH - fluorescence in situ hybridization
fl. - flexor
Fld - fluid
FP - family practice; family practitioner
FRC – functional residual capacity
FSH - follicle-stimulating hormone
FTT – failure to thrive
FU – follow-up
FUO – fever of unknown origin
FVC – forced vital capacity
Fx – fracture


G, g, gm - gram
GABA - gamma-aminobutyric acid
GABAB - gamma-aminobutyric acid type B
GABRB3 GABAA - receptor gene
garg - gargle
GB - gallbladder; Guillain-Barré
– gonorrhea
GDM - gestational diabetes mellitus
GDS - Geriatric Depression Scale
GERD - gastroesophageal reflux disease
GETT – general by endotracheal tube
GFR – glomerular filtration rate
GGT - gamma-glutamyl transferase
GH - growth hormone
GI – gastrointestinal
GnRH - gonadotropin-releasing hormone
GP - general practitioner
G6PD - glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase
gr – grain; 1 grain = 65mg
grad - by degrees
GRAS - generally recognized as safe
GSW – gun shot wound
gt or gtt – drops
GTT – glucose tolerance test
GU – genitourinary
guttat. - drop by drop
GVHD - graft-versus-host disease
GXT – graded exercise tolerance (Stress test)
GYN - gynecology


H - hydrogen
H+ - hydrogen ion
h, hr - hour
H&H - hematocrit and hemoglobin
H1N1 - hemagglutinin type 1 and neuraminidase type 1
H2 - histamine 2
– headache
HAA – hepatitis B surface antigen
HAART - highly active antiretroviral therapy
HAV – hepatitis A virus
HBP – high blood pressure
HBV - hepatitis B virus
HCG – human chorionic gonadotropin
HCP - health care professional
HCT – hematocrit
HCV - hepatitis C virus
HD - hearing distance
HDL – high density lipoprotein
HDV - hepatitis D
HEENT – head, eyes, ears, nose, throat
HELLP - hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, low platelets
HEPA - high-efficiency particulate air
HER2 - human EGF (epidermal growth factor) receptor 2
HEV - hepatitis E
HF - heart failure
Hg - mercury
Hgb – hemoglobin
HGSIL - high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion
H/H – Henderson-Hasselbach equation or hemoglobin/ hematocrit
Hib - Haemophilus influenzae type B
HIDA - hepatobiliary iminodiacetic acid (cholescintigraphy)
HIV – human immunodeficiency virus
H2O - water
H2O2 - hydrogen peroxide
HLA – histocompatibility locus antigen
HJR – hepatojugular reflex
HO – history of
HOB – head of bed
hor. decub. - bedtime
hor. som, h.s. - bedtime
HPF – high power field
HPI – history of present illness
HPV - human papillomavirus
HR – heart rate
HRT - hormone replacement therapy
HS – at bedtime
HSIL - high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion
HSM – hepatosplenomegaly
HTLV-III – human lymphotropic virus, type III (AIDS agent, HIV)
HSV – herpes simplex virus
HTN – hypertension
Hx – history
Hy - hyperopia
Hz - hertz (cycles per second)


I - iodine
131I - radioactive isotope of iodine (atomic weight 131)
132I - radioactive isotope of iodine (atomic weight 132)
– incision and drainage
I&O – intake and output
IBW - ideal body weight
IC - inspiratory capacity
ICD - implantable cardioverter defibrillator
ICP - intracranial pressure
ICS – intercostal space
ICSH - interstitial cell-stimulating hormone
ICU – intensive care unit
ID – infectious disease or identification
Id. - the same
IDDM – insulin dependent diabetes mellitus
IDM - infants of diabetic mothers
IED - improvised explosive device
IG – immunoglobulin
IgE - immunoglobulin E
IgG - immunoglobulin G
IHSS – idiopathic hypertropic subaortic stenosis
IL-1 - interleukin 1
IL-8 - interleukin 8
IM – intramuscular
IMV – intermittent mandatory ventilation
in d. - daily
INF - interferon
INF – intravenous nutritional fluid
inj. - injection
INR - international normalized ratio
instill. - instillation
int. - internal
IOP - intraocular pressure
IPPB – intermittent positive pressure breathing
IQ - intelligence quotient
IRBBB – incomplete right bundle branch block
IRDM – insulin resistant diabetes mellitus
IRV - inspiratory reserve volume
IT – interthecal
ITP – idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura
I.U. - a international unit
IUCD - intrauterine contraceptive device
IUD - intrauterine device
IUFD - intrauterine fetal death
IV – intravenous
IVC – intravenous cholangiogram or inferior vena cava
IVP – intravenous pyelogram


J - joule
7 The Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure
– juvenile onset diabetes mellitus
JRA - juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
jt. - joint
JVD – jugular venous distention


– knee ankle foot orthosis
kg - kilogram
KI - potassium iodine
KOH - potassium hydroxide
KOR – keep open rate
KS - Kaposi sarcoma
KT – kinesio therapy or kinesiotherapist
KUB – kidneys, ureters, bladder
kv - kilovolt
KVO – keep vein open


L – left
L - liter
L&D - labor and delivery
lab - laboratory
LAD – left axis deviation or left anterior descending
LAE – left atrial enlargement
LAHB – left anterior hemiblock
LAP – left atrial pressure or leukocyte alkaline phosphatase
lat - lateral
lb - pound
LBBB – left bundle branch block
LBW - low birth weight
LDH – lactate dehydrogenase
LDL – low density lipoprotein
LD50 - lethal dose, median
LE – lupus erythematosus
LEEP - loop electrosurgical excision procedure
LFT - liver function test
LGA - large for gestational age
LH - luteinizing hormone
Li - lithium
lig - ligament
LIH – left inguinal hernia
liq. - liquid; fluid
LLL – left lower lobe
LLE - left lower extremity
LLQ - left lower quadrant
LMP – last menstrual period
LNMP – last normal menstrual period
LOC – loss of consciousness or level of consciousness
LP – lumbar puncture
LPN – licensed practical nurse
LR - lactated Ringer (solution)
LSIL - low-grade squamous epithelial lesion
LTD - lowest tolerated dose
LUE - left upper extremity
LUL – left upper quadrant
LUQ - left upper quadrant
LV – left ventricle
LVAD - left ventricular assist device
LVEDP – left ventricular end diastolic pressure
LVH – left ventricular hypertrophy


M - master; medicine; molar; thousand; muscle
m - male; meter; minim; mole; meta; muscle
MA - mental age
MAO – monoamine oxidase
MAO-B - monoamine oxidase-B
man. prim. - first thing in the morning
MAP – mean arterial pressure
MAST – medical antishock trousers
MAT - Miller Analogies Test
MBD - minimal brain dysfunction
MBT – maternal blood type
mc; mCi - millicurie
mcg - microgram
MCH – mean cell hemoglobin
MCHC – mean cell hemoglobin concentration
MCV – mean cell volume
MD - muscular dystrophy
MDI - metered-dose inhaler
MED - minimum effective dose
med - medial
MELD - Model for End-Stage Liver Disease
µEq - microequivalent
mEq - milliequivalent
mEq/L - milliequivalent per liter
ME ratio - myeloid/erythroid ratio
MG - myasthenia gravis
Mg - magnesium
MgSO4 - magnesium sulfate
µg - microgram
mg - milligram
MI – myocardial infarction or mitral insufficiency
MID - minimum infective dose
mist. - a mixture
mL – milliliter
MLD - minimum lethal dose
MLE – midline episiotomy
MLF - medial longitudinal fasciculus
MM - mucous membrane; multiple myeloma
mm - millimeter
mm - Hg millimeters of mercury
MMEF – maximal mid expiratory flow
mmol – millimole
MMR – measles, mumps, rubella
MMSE - Mini-Mental Status Examination
MMSE - Mini-Mental Status Examination
Mn - manganese
mol wt - molecular weight
mor. dict. - as directed
mor. sol. - as accustomed
MPC - maximum permitted concentration
MPN - most probable number
mr - milliroentgen
MRA - magnetic resonance angiography
MRgFUS - MR-guided focused ultrasound surgery
MRI – magnetic resonance imaging
MRSA – methicillin resistant staph aureus
MS – multiple sclerosis or mitral stenosis, or morphine sulfate
MSSA – methicillin-sensitive staph aureus
MUSE – medicated urethral system erection
MV - mitral valve
mV - millivolt
MVA – motor vehicle accident
MVI – multivitamin injection
MVV – maximum voluntary ventilation
MW - molecular weight


N - nitrogen
n - nerve
N/A - not applicable
Na - sodium
NAA - nucleic acid amplification
NAD - no acute distress
– no active disease
n.b. - note well
nCi - nanocurie
NAS – no added salt
NCV – nerve conduction velocity
NDC - National Drug Code
NED – no evidence of recurrent disease
ng – nanogram
NG – nasogastric
NGT - nasogastric tube
NH3 - ammonia
Ni - nickel
NICU - neonatal intensive care unit
NIDDM – non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus
NIH - National Institutes of Health
NK - natural killer
NKA – no known allergies
NKDA – no known drug allergies
NMDA - N-methyl D-aspartate
NMJ - neuromuscular junction
NMR – nuclear magnetic resonance
NMS - neuroleptic malignant syndrome
nn - nerves
noct. - in the night
noct. maneq. - night and morning
non rep; n.r. - do not repeat
NPN - nonprotein nitrogen
NPO – nothing by mouth
NRC - normal retinal correspondence
NRM – no regular medications
NS - normal saline
NSAID – non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
NSR – normal sinus rhythm
NT – nasotracheal
N&V, N/V - nausea and vomiting


O - pint
O2 - oxygen
– obstetrics
OC - oral contraceptive
OCD - obsessive-compulsive disorder
OCG – oral cholecystogram
OD – overdose or right eye
ol. - oil
OM – otitis media
om. mane vel noc. - every morning or night
omn. hor. - every hour
omn. noct. - every night
OmPC - outer membrane porin C
OOB – out of bed
OPD - outpatient department
OPV – oral polio vaccine
OR – operating room
ORIF - open reduction with/and internal fixation
OS – left eye
OSHA - Occupational Safety and Health Administration
OT – occupational therapy or occupational therapist
OTC - over-the-counter
OU – both eyes
oz - ounce


P – para
P, p - melting point
p - after
P2 - pulmonic second sound
PA – posteroanterior
PABA - para-aminobenzoic acid (vitamin B10)
PAC – premature atrial contraction
Paco2 - partial pressure of carbon dioxide in alveolar gas
PACU - postanesthesia care unit
PAD - peripheral arterial disease
PALS - pediatric advanced life support
P-ANCA - perinuclear antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody
PAO2 – alveolar oxygen
PaO2 – peripheral arterial oxygen content
PAP – pulmonary artery pressure
Pap, Pap test - Papanicolaou smear
part. vic - in divided doses
PAT – paroxysymal atrial tachycardia
P&PD – percussion and postural drainage
Pb - lead
PBI - protein-bound iodine
PC – after eating
PCA - patient-controlled analgesia
Pco 2 - carbon dioxide pressure
PCOS - polycystic ovarian syndrome
PCP - Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia; primary care physician; primary care provider
PCR - polymerase chain reaction
PCWP – pulmonary capillary wedge pressure
PD - interpupillary distance; Parkinson disease; peritoneal dialysis
pd - prism diopter; pupillary distance
PDA – patent ductus arteriosus
PDR – physicians desk reference
PE – pulmonary embolus, or physical exam or pleural effusion
PEEP – positive end expiratory pressure
PEFR - peak expiratory flow rate
PEG - percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy
per - through or by
PERRLA - pupils equal, regular, react to light and accommodation
PET - positron emission tomography
PFP, P4P - pay for performance
PFT – pulmonary function tests
pg – picogram
pH - hydrogen ion concentration
Pharm; Phar. - pharmacy
PI - present illness; previous illness
PI – pulmonic insufficiency disease
PICC - peripherally inserted central catheter
PID - pelvic inflammatory disease
PIH - pregnancy-induced hypertension
pil. - pill
PIP - proximal interphalangeal
PIPDA (scan) - 99mTc-para-isopropylacetanilido-iminodiaacetic acid (cholescintigraphy)
PKU – phenylketonuria
PM - afternoon/evening
PMH – previous medical history
PMI – point of maximal impulse
PMN – polymorphonuclear leukocyte (neutrophil)
PMS - premenstrual syndrome
PND – paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea
PNH - paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria
PNS - peripheral nervous system
PO – by mouth
POD – post-op day
POLST - physician orders for life-sustaining therapy
post. - posterior
PP - placenta previa
PP – postprandial or pulsus paradoxus
PPD – purified protein derivative
ppm - parts per million
PPMS – primary progressive multiple sclerosis
PPS – post-polio syndrome
PR – by rectum
PRBC – packed red blood cells
PRN – as needed
pro time/PT - prothrombin time
PS – pulmonic stenosis
PSA – prostate-specific antigen
PSV - prostate-specific antigen
PT – prothrombin time, or physical therapy
Pt – patient
pt - pint
PTCA – percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty
PTH – parathyroid hormone
PTHC – percutanous transhepatic cholangiogram
PTSD – post-traumatic stress disorder
PTT – partial thromboplastin time
Pu - plutonium
PUBS - percutaneous umbilical blood sampling
PUD – peptic ulcer disease
PUVA - psoralen ultraviolet A
p.v. - through the vagina
PVC – premature ventricular contraction
PVD – peripheral vascular disease
PVR - peripheral vascular resistance
PVR – post voiding residual


q – every
qd – every day
QFT-G - QuantiFERON-TB Gold
qh – every hour
q.2h. - every 2 hours
q.3h. - every 3 hours
q4h, q6h.... – every 4 hours, every 6 hours etc.
qid – four times a day
q.l. - as much as wanted
QNS – quantity not sufficient
qod – every other day
q.p. - as much as desired
q.s. - as much as needed
Qs/Qt – shunt fraction
Qt – total cardiac output
qt - quart
q.v. - as much as you please


R – right
RA – rheumatoid arthritis or right atrium
Ra - radium
rad - radiation absorbed dose
RAD – right atrial axis deviation
RAE – right atrial enlargement
RAI - radioactive iodine
RAIU - radioactive iodine uptake
RAP – right atrial pressure
RBBB – right bundle branch block
RBC – red blood cell
RBP – retinol-binding protein
RD - Raynaud disease
RDA – recommended daily allowance
RDS - respiratory distress syndrome
RDW – red cell distribution width
RE - right eye
Re - rhenium
REM - rapid eye movement
RF - rheumatoid factor
RFT - renal function test
Rh - rhesus factor; rhodium
RHD - rheumatic heart disease
RIA – radioimmunoassay
RIH – right inguinal hernia
RLE - right lower extremity
RLL – right lower lobe
RLQ – right lower quadrant
RML – right middle lobe
Rn - radon
RNA – ribonucleic acid
R/O – rule out
ROM – range of motion
ROS – review of systems
RPG – retrograde pyelogram
RPM - revolutions per minute
RPMS – relapsing-progressive multiple sclerosis
RQ - respiratory quotient
RR - recovery room; respiratory rate
RRMS – relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis
RRR – regular rate and rhyth
RSV - respiratory syncytial virus
RT – respiratory or radiation therapy
R/T - related to
RTA – renal tubular acidosis
RTC – return to clinic
RU – resin uptake
RUE - right upper extremity
RUG – retrograde urethogram
RUL – right upper lobe
RUQ – right upper quadrant
RV – residual volume
RVH – right ventricular hyperthrophy
Rx – treatment


S - mark
S. - sacral
s – without
SA – sinoatrial
SAA – synthetic amino acid
SAD - seasonal affective disorder
SARS - severe acute respiratory syndrome
SB - small bowel
Sb - antimony
S&E – sugar and acetone
SBE – subacute bacterial endocarditis
SBFT – small bowel follow through
SBP - systolic blood pressure
SBS – short bowel syndrome
SC, sc, s.c. - subcutaneous(ly)
SCr – serum creatinine
SCI – spinal cord injury
SCI/D – spinal cord injury and disorder
S.D. - standard deviation
SDAT - senile dementia of the Alzheimer type
S.E. - standard error
Se - selenium
Sed rate - sedimentation rate
SEM – systolic ejection murmur
semih. -half an hour
SERM - selective estrogen receptor modulator
SG – Swan-Ganz
SGA – small for gestational age
SGGT – serum gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase
SGOT – serum glutamic-oxaloacetic transaminase
SGPT – serum glutamic-pyruvic transaminase
SI - international system of units
Si - silicon
SIADH – syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone
SIDS - sudden infant death syndrome
sig – write on label
SIMV – synchronous intermittent mandatory ventilation
SJS - Stevens-Johnson syndrome
sl – sublingual
SLE – systemic lupus erythematous
SLP - speech-language pathology
SMO – slips made out
Sn - tin
SNF - skilled nursing facility
SNRI - serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor
SNS - sympathetic nervous system
SOAP – Subjective, Objective, Assessment, Plan
SOB – shortness of breath
sol - solution, dissolved
s.o.s. - if necessary
S/P - no change after
SPECT - single-photon emission computed tomography
sp gr - specific gravity
SPF - skin protection factor
sph - spherical
SPMS – secondary preogressive multiple sclerosis
spt. - spirit
SQ – subcutaneous
Sr - strontium
ss – one-half
SSRI - selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor
SSS - sick sinus syndrome
st. - let it/them stand
Staph - Staphylococcus
STAT – immediately
STD - sexually transmitted disease
Strep - Streptococcus
STS - serologic test for syphilis
STU - skin test unit
sup. - superior
supf. - superficial
SV - stroke volume; supraventricular
SVC - superior vena cava
SVD – spontaneous vaginal delivery
SW – social worker
Sx – symptoms
syr. - syrup


T - temperature
T3 - triiodothyronine
T4 - tetraiodothyronine; thyroxine
T6 - thoracic nerve pair 6
TA - toxin-antitoxin
Ta - tantalum
T&A - tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy
– type and cross
TAH – total abdominal hysterectomy
T&H – type and hold
TAT - thematic apperception test
T.A.T. - toxin-antitoxin
TB – tuberculosis
Tb - terbium
TBG – total binding globulin
Td – tetanus-diphtheria toxoid
t.d.s. - to be taken three times daily
Te - tellurium; tetanus
TEE - transesophageal echocardiogram
TEN - toxic epidermal necrolysis
TENS - transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation
TG - thyroglobulin
Th - thorium
THR - total hip replacement
TIA – transient ischemic attack
TIBC – total iron binding capacity
tid – three times a day
TIG – tetanus immune globulin
t.i.n. - three times a night
tinct., tr - tincture
TKO – to keep open
TKR - total knee replacement
Tl - thallium
TLC – total lung capacity
TM - tympanic membrane
TMJ – temporo mandibular joint
TN - trigeminal nerve
TNF - tumor necrosis factor
TNF-I - tumor necrosis factor inhibitor
TNF-α - tumor necrosis factor alpha
TNM - tumor-node-metastasis
TNT - trinitrotoluene
TNTC – too numerous to count
TNTM - too numerous to mention
TO – telephone order
top. - topically
TOPV – trivalent oral polio vaccine
TORB - telephone order read back
TPI - Treponema pallidum immobilization test for syphilis
TPN – total parenteral nutrition
TPO - thyroid peroxidase
TPR - temperature, pulse, and respiration
tr, tinct. - tincture
TRAP - criteria tremor, rigidity, akinesia or postural instablity bradykinesia, and postural instability
Treg - regulatory T cell
trit. - triturate, grind
TSD - time since death
TSE - testicular self-examination
TSH – thyroid stimulating hormone
TT – thrombin time
tTG - antitransglutaminase
TTP – thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura
TU – tuberculin units
TUMA - transurethral microwave antenna
TUR – transurethral resection
TURBT – TUR bladder tumors
TURP – transurethral resection of prostate
TV – tidal volume
TVH – total vaginal hysterectomy
tw – twice a week
Tx – treatment, transplant


U a - uranium; unit a
– urinalysis
UAC – uric acid
UC - ulcerative colitis
ud – use as directed
UE - upper extremity
UGI – upper gastrointestinal
UHF - ultrahigh frequency
ult. praes. - the last ordered
Umb; umb - umbilicus
ung. - ointment
URI – upper respiratory infection
US – ultrasound
USAN - United States Adopted Name
USP - United States Pharmacopeia
ut. dict. - as directed
UTI – urinary tract infection
UUN – urinary urea nitrogen
UV ultraviolet


v - vein
VA - visual acuity
– vital capacity
VCUG – voiding cystourethrogram
VD - venereal disease
VDRL - Venereal Disease Research Laboratories
VF - ventricular fibrillation
Vf - field of vision
VLBW - very low birth weight
VLDL - very low density lipoprotein
VMA – vanillymadelic acid
VO – verbal or voice order
VOE - VistA-Office Electronic Health Record
vol. - volume
vol % - volume percent
VORB - verbal order read back
V/Q – ventilation – perfusion
VS - volumetric solution; vesicular sound; vital signs
VSD - ventricular septal defect
VSS – vital signs stable
VT - ventricular tachycardia
vv - veins
VZIG - varicella zoster immune globulin


W - tungsten
w - watt
WAIS - Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale
WAP - written action plan
– whole blood
WBC – white blood cell or count
WD – well developed
WDWN - well-developed, well-nourished
WF – white female
WF/BF - white female/black female
WH - well-hydrated
WM – white male
WM/BM - white male/black male
WN – well nourished
WNL – within normal limits
WPW – Wolf-Parkinson-White
wt. - weight
w/v. - weight in volume


x - multiplied by
– X-ray therapy


y - yocto-
– years old
yr - year


Z - atomic number
– Zollinger-Ellison
Zn - zinc

1.2. Medical Terms and Definitions

The Spinal Cord Disabilities Lexicon is focused on medical words and terms related to Spinal Cord Injury and Disorders.

Abdominal Binder (Abdominal support, binder, corset)
Wide elastic (or other material) binders that are worn to help prevent a drop in blood pressure or to help empty the bladder in some patients. They can also be used to improve posture and balance while seated in a wheelchair.

Abductor muscle
A muscle used to pull a body part away from the midline of the body (e.g., the abductor leg muscles are used to spread the legs).

Having rapid onset, usually with recovery; not chronic or long-lasting.

Acute Stage
The early stage of an injury (as opposed to chronic, which is long term), in SCI, early management of acute trauma, including better roadside emergency care, has reduced the number of complete injuries.

Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)
ADL's include activities necessary for everyday living. These include such activities as eating, bathing, grooming, dressing, and using the toilet. Smaller parts of a larger activity can also be considered ADL's. Opening a can, writing, driving, and just the act of moving or having mobility can all be considered ADL's that contribute to a larger or an end activity. Activities of daily living need not be accomplished independently. Many people with disabilities require assistance with some or all ADL's. Whether accomplished independently or with help, it still constitutes performing an ADL. Healthcare professionals such as therapists and rehabilitation specialists train people how to best perform activities of daily living by maximizing the persons potential either through therapy programs or by using adaptive and assistive devices and technology.

Adductor muscle
A muscle that pulls inward toward the midline of the body (e.g., the adductor leg muscles are used to pull the legs together).

Advance (medical) directive
Advance directives preserve the person's right to accept or reject a course of medical treatment even after the person becomes mentally or physically incapacitated to the point of being unable to communicate those wishes. Advance directives come in two basic forms: (1) a living will, in which the person outlines specific treatment guidelines that are to be followed by health care providers; (2) a health care proxy (also called a power of attorney for health care decision-making), in which the person designates a trusted individual to make medical decisions in the event that he or she becomes too incapacitated to make such decisions. Advance directive requirements vary greatly from one state to another and should therefore be drawn up in consultation with an attorney who is familiar with the laws of the particular state.

Walking with or without aids, such as braces and crutches.

Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)
The ADA is a federal civil rights law designed to prevent discrimination and enable individuals with disabilities to participate fully in all aspects of society.

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's Disease, ALS)
A rapidly progressive, invariably fatal neurological disease that attacks the nerve cells (neurons) responsible for controlling muscles.

Ankle-foot orthosis (AFO)
An ankle-foot orthosis is a brace, usually plastic, that is worn on the lower leg and foot to support the ankle and correct foot drop. By holding the foot and ankle in the correct position, the AFO promotes correct heel-toe walking.

Ankylosing Spondylitis
Arthritis of the spine which may progress to bony ankylosis (fusion) with ossification of the anterior and posterior longitudinal ligaments; the disease is more common in males.

Fixation (fusion) of a joint leading to immobility, due to ossification or bony deposits of calcium at joints.

Anterior Cord Syndrome
An incomplete spinal injury in which all functions are absent below the level of injury except proprioception and sensation.

Anterior Spinal Artery Syndrome (Anterior Cord Syndrome)
Anterior spinal artery syndrome refers to the anterior spinal artery that originates from the vertebral arteries and basal artery at the base of the brain and supplies the anterior two-thirds of the spinal cord to the upper thoracic (chest) region. The lesion produces variable loss of motor function and of sensitivity to pinprick and temperature, while preserving proprioception (position sense).

The action of certain medications commonly used in the management of neurogenic bladder dysfunction. These medications inhibit the transmission of parasympathetic nerve impulses and thereby reduce spasms of smooth muscle in the bladder.

Arachnoid Membrane
The middle of three membranes protecting the brain and spinal cord.

Inflammation and scarring of the arachnoid membrane covering the spinal cord.

ASIA Impairment Scale
A measure of function after spinal cord injury, used by physicians, physical therapists and occupational therapists.

  • ASIA A - Complete: No motor or sensory function is preserved in the sacral segments S4-S5.
  • ASIA B - Incomplete: Sensory but not motor function is preserved below the neurological level and includes the sacral segments S4-S5.
  • ASIA C – Incomplete: Motor function is preserved below the neurological level, and more than half of key muscles below the neurological level have a muscle grade less than 3.
  • ASIA D – Incomplete: Motor function is preserved below the neurological level, and at least half of key muscles below the neurological level have a muscle grade of 3 or more.
  • ASIA E – Normal: motor and sensory function are normal.

Assisted Cough
A technique in which the patient is assisted by another individual to produce a more forceful and productive cough.

Assistive Technology (AT)
Any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. Individuals with disabilities use AT to accommodate limitations due to their disabilities.

Star-shaped glial cells which provide the necessary chemical and physical environment for nerve regeneration.

The lack of coordination and unsteadiness that result from the brain's failure to regulate the body's posture and the strength and direction of limb movements.

A wasting away or decrease in size of a cell, tissue, organ, or part of the body due to lack of nourishment, or use.

Autonomic Dysreflexia (Hyperreflexia or Crisis)
A potentially dangerous complication which occurs in people with spinal cord injuries at the level of T6 and above causing high blood pressure, sweating, chills and headaches. Typical causes include an overfull bladder, impacted bowel or ingrown toenail. It is treated by removing the offending stimulus and giving the patient medication.

Autonomic Nervous System (ANS)
The part of the nervous system that controls involuntary activities, including heart muscle, glands, and smooth muscle tissue. The autonomic nervous system is subdivided into the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems.

The nerve fiber that carries an impulse from the nerve cell to a target, and also carries materials from the nerve terminals back to the nerve cell. A long, slender part of a neuron that carries the electrochemical signal to another neuron. It's the main or core nerve fiber which generally conducts impulses away from the cell body.


Bed Sore – See Decubitus Ulcer

Bell's palsy
A paralysis of the facial nerve (usually on one side of the face), which can occur as a consequence of MS, viral infection, or other infections. It has acute onset and can be transient or permanent.

A process that provides sight or sound information about body functions, such as blood pressure and muscle tension, and enables patients to control these functions.

Bladder Training Program
Method by which the bladder is trained to empty (micturition) without the use of an indwelling catheter. Involves drinking measured amounts of fluid, and allowing the bladder to fill and empty at timed intervals. See intermittent catheterization.

Bowel Training Program
The establishment of a "habit program" or a specific time to empty the bowel – also known as a "dil" – so that regularity can be achieved. Stool softeners might be recommended, as might common laxatives. The main side effect of both softeners and laxative is diarrhea. Suppositories useful to initiate elimination however; an ideal management program does not rely on suppositories. Enemas relieve fecal impaction but should not be used as a routine method.

Breakdown - See Decubitus Ulcer

Brown-Sequard Syndrome
An incomplete spinal cord injury where half of the cord has been damaged. The Brown-Sequard syndrome is caused by a functional section of half of the spinal cord. This results in motor loss on the same side as the lesion and sensory loss on the opposite side. This syndrome is very often associated with fairly normal bowel and bladder function and does not prevent the person from being able to walk, although some functional bracing or ambulatory device such as a cane or crutch may be necessary.


Stones that may form in either kidney or bladder.

Catheter (includes Urinary catheter, intermittent catheter, Foley catheter, external catheter, Texas catheter, condom catheter, suprapubic catheter)
Internal catheters are a hollow, flexible tube, most often made of plastic or rubber, that is inserted through the urinary opening into the bladder to drain urine. These tubes are connected to an external bag that collects the urine. Intermittent catheters are used periodically throughout the day. They are inserted routinely for purposes of emptying the bladder and are removed once the process is finished. External catheters can be used by men. They resemble a condom that is placed over the penis. The external catheter is connected to a collection bag (customarily strapped to the users leg) by way of tubing.

Cauda Equina
The collection of spinal roots descending from the lower part of the spinal cord at the L1 level.

Cauda Equina Syndrome
Injury to the nerves still within the spinal cord as they form a "horse's tail" to exit the lumbar and spinal regions. This usually occurs with fractures below the L2 level and results in flaccid-type paralysis. The type of bladder and bowel impairment that results from such an injury depends on the level of the injury and can be problematic, particularly for women, who may have difficulty with urinary drainage and incontinence.

Central Cord Syndrome
A lesion, occurring almost exclusively in the cervical region, that produces sacral sensory sparing and greater weakness in the upper limbs than in the lower limbs. A central cord syndrome indicates there is an injury to the central structures of the spinal cord. This is most commonly seen in older patients with cervical arthritis and may occur in the absence of spinal fracture.

Central Nervous System (CNS)
The CNS includes the brain and spinal cord.

Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF)
A colorless solution similar to plasma protecting the brain and spinal cord from shock. A lumbar puncture (spinal tap) is used to draw CSF.

The upper spine (neck) area of the vertebral column. Cervical injuries often result in quadriplegia (tetraplegia).

Cervical Spine
The seven bones or vertebrae of the spine in the region of the neck.

Of long duration, not acute; a term often used to describe a disease or injury that shows gradual worsening.

Clinical Trial
Rigorously controlled studies designed to provide extensive data that will allow for statistically valid evaluation of the safety and efficacy of a particular treatment.

A sign of spasticity in which involuntary shaking or jerking of the leg occurs when the toe is placed on the floor with the knee slightly bent. The shaking is caused by repeated, rhythmic, reflex muscle contractions.

High level functions carried out by the human brain, including comprehension and use of speech, visual perception and construction, calculation ability, attention (information processing), memory, and executive functions such as planning, problem-solving, and self-monitoring.

Cognitive impairment
Changes in cognitive function caused by trauma or disease process. Some degree of cognitive impairment occurs in approximately 50-60 percent of people with MS, with memory, information processing, and executive functions being the most commonly affected functions.

Complete Spinal Cord Injury or Lesion
Severing of the spinal cord that causes total paralysis (loss of movement) and loss of sensation (feeling) below the level of injury. Below the level of injury the spinal cord is no longer able to send sensory and motor nerve impulses resulting in permanent loss of function. This results in complete paraplegia or tetraplegia.  How complete an injury is may not be known for several months after injury. 

Condom Catheter
External urine collecting device used by males. A condom catheter is an external incontinence device consisting of a flexible sheath that fits over the penis similar to a condom. The condom part is attached to a tube that drains the urine into a urinary storage bag.

Contracture is a pathologic, involuntary, irreversible shortening of a muscle. The affected joint can no longer be moved through its normal range. A muscle contracture is a permanent shortening of a muscle or joint. It is usually in response to prolonged hypertonic spasticity in a concentrated muscle area, such as is seen in the tightest muscles of people with conditions like spastic cerebral palsy and spinal cord injury. Contractures are essentially muscles or tendons that have gotten too tight for too long, thus becoming shorter. Once they occur they cannot be stretched or exercised away; they must be released by surgical or other methods. Physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other exercise regimens targeted towards people with spasticity focuses on trying to prevent contractures from happening in the first place.

Conus Medullaris Syndrome
Injury of the sacral cord (conus) and lumbar nerve roots within the neural canal, which usually results in an areflexic bladder, bowel and lower limbs. Sacral segments may occasionally show preserved reflexes with higher lesions.

A technique of pressing down and inward over the bladder to facilitate voiding.

Crisis – See Autonomic Dysreflexia

A diagnostic procedure in which a special viewing device called a cystoscope is inserted into the urethra (a tubular structure that drains urine from the bladder) to examine the inside of the urinary bladder.

A surgically created opening through the lower abdomen into the urinary bladder. A plastic tube inserted into the opening drains urine from the bladder into a plastic collection bag. This relatively simple procedure is done when a person requires an indwelling catheter to drain excess urine from the bladder but cannot, for some reason, have it pass through the urethral opening.


Decubitus Ulcer (Pressure Sores, Bed Sores, Breakdown)
Decubitus ulcers are ulcerated areas of skin over bony areas. When parts of the body are under continuous pressure, blood supply to that area is hindered and a decubitus ulcer may develop. Decubitii (multiple deculitus ulcers) occur whenever and wherever there is too much pressure on soft tissue. They can develop where there is a small amount of pressure applied for a long time, or a great deal of pressure for a short period of time. Other factors such as poor diet, poor personal hygiene, and incontinence can increase the risk for developing pressure sores.

The loss of nerve fiber "insulation" due to trauma or disease, which reduces the ability of nerves to conduct impulses.

Double vision, or the simultaneous awareness of two images of the same object that results from a failure of the two eyes to work in a coordinated fashion. Covering one eye will erase one of the images.

Difficulty in swallowing.


Swelling; most commonly present in legs and feet. Edema occurs when the body tissues contain an excessive amount of watery fluids, increasing skin sensitivity and risk of pressure sores.

A means of extracting sperm from men with erectile dysfunction by electrical stimulation.

Endotreacheal Tube
A tube inserted into the mouth or nose that serves as an artificial airway. It passes through the vocal cords, and therefore speech is not possible with this tube in place. It is the tube that connects a respirator to the patient.

External Continence Device (ECD)
Male external urine control device that attaches to tip of penis.


A form of paralysis in which muscles are soft and limp. Sometimes considered to be the opposite of spasticity.

Foley Catheter
A Foley catheter is a flexible tube that is passed through the urethra and into the bladder. The tube has two separated channels, or lumens, running down its length. One lumen is open at both ends, and allows urine to drain out into a collection bag. The other lumen has a valve on the outside end and connects to a balloon at the tip; the balloon is inflated with sterile water when it lies inside the bladder, in order to stop it from slipping out.

Functional Ability
How well an individual can perform activities of daily living without assistance from another person. Functional ability can be improved through therapy or training in techniques specific to the acitivity as in performing transfers. Assistive technology devices such as wheelchairs, walking aids and other devices help to improve function and can be an important component of the activity.

Functional Electric Stimulation (FES)
The application of low-level, computer-controlled electric current to the neuromuscular system, including paralyzed muscle. FES is a method of producing contractions in muscles, paralysed due to central nervous system lesions, by means of electrical stimulation. The electrical stimulation is applied either by skin surface electrodes or by implanted electrodes for purposes of restoring movement for functional use of the extremeties.


Glial Cells
Supportive cells associated with neurons. Astrocytes and oligodendrocytes are central nervous system glial cells. In the peripheral nervous system the main glial cells are called Schwann cells.


Halo Traction
The process of immobilizing the upper body and cervical spine with a traction device. The device consists of a metal ring around the head, held in place with pins into the skull. A supporting frame is attached to the ring and to a body jacket or vest to provide immobilization.

Health care proxy – See Advance (medical) directive.

Weakness on one side of one's body, including one arm and one leg.

Paralysis on one side of one's body, including one arm and one leg.

Heterotopic Ossification (HO)
The formation of new bone deposits in the connective tissue surrounding the major joints, primarily the hip and knee. A disorder characterized by the deposition of large quantities of calcium at the site of a bone injury. Often the result of prolonged immobilization. [heterotopic bone].

Hyperreflexia – See Autonomic Dysreflexia

An extreme lowering of the body temperature. A technique used to cool the spinal cord after injury.


A blockage of the bowel with stool that results in severe constipation. Persons at risk for chronic constipation and fecal impaction include those who do not move around much and spend most of their time in a chair or bed and those that have diseases of the brain or nervous system that damage the nerves that go to the muscles of the intestines. Fecal impaction can cause pain and vomiting, and a person with fecal impaction may require emergency treatment or hospitalization.

Incomplete Injury or Lesion
Some movement and/or feeling remains below the level of injury, movement and feeling may improve over time. Depending on where the spinal cord and nerve roots are damaged, the symptoms can vary widely, from pain to paralysis to incontinence. Spinal cord injuries that are described as "incomplete", can vary from having no effect on the patient to a "complete" injury which means a total loss of function.

Incontinence (Bladder incontinence, bowel incontinence)
Incontinence can relate to the bladder or the bowels. It means that there is no control over the process of emptying the bladder or having a bowel movement. For many people with spinal cord involvement this means using a catheter to help with urinating and using a planned program of bowel training and care to help with bowel movements.

Indwelling Catheter
A flexible tube, retained in the bladder, and used for continuous urinary drainage to a leg bag/urinary drainage bag or other device.

Informed Consent
A patient's right to know the risks and benefits of a medical procedure.

Intermittent Catheterization (ICP)
Using a catheter for emptying the bladder on a regular schedule. See self-catheterization. The process is performed on a regular timed basis. Procedure intervals are closer together at first, often 4 to 6 times daily. As the person improves and the bladder voids more efficiently, the procedure interval time is extended and may result in 10 and 12 hour intervals between procedures.

Intrathecal Baclofen
Administration of the anti-spasm drug Baclofen directly to the spinal cord by way of a surgically implanted pump. Baclofen (brand names Kemstro, Lioresal, and Gablofen) is a derivative of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). It is primarily used to treat spasticity

Insertion of a tube through the nose or mouth into the windpipe to keep the airways open, prevent fluids from entering the lungs, and remove fluids from the lung.


Joint Extension
A movement of a joint that results in increased angle between two bones. Extension usually results in straightening of the bones or body surfaces involved. For example, extension is produced by extending the flexed (bent) elbow. Straightening of the arm would require extension at the elbow joint. Tilting the head all the way back places the neck in extension. Standing up requires extending both the knee and hip joints. Fingers point out straight when the joints of the fingers are all extended. Depending on the level and completeness of spinal cord injury, muscle function may be insufficient for extending joints (paralysis). This makes performing even small tasks and activities difficult or even impossible independently.

Joint Flexion
Bending of a joint that results in a decreased angle between two bones. It is the opposite of extension. It occurs at the knee when bending down or sitting. Bending down or leaning forward when picking something up requires flexion of the hips and knees. Making a fist or grasping requires joints of the fingers to flex inward. Depending on the level and completeness of spinal cord injury, muscle function may be insufficient for flexing joints (paralysis). This makes performing even small tasks and activities difficult or even impossible independently.


The complete or partial surgical removal of the arch of bony sections of the spinal vertebra.

Leg Bag
External bag which is strapped to the leg for collection of urine.

An injury or wound.

A non-invasive treatment for kidney stones. Shock waves, generated under water by a spark plug, crumble stones into pieces that will pass with urine.

Pertaining to that area immediately below the thoracic spine; the lumbar spine is the strongest part of the spine, the lower back.


Motoneuron (motor neuron)
A nerve cell whose cell body is located in the brain and spinal cord and whose axons leave the central nervous system by way of cranial nerves or spinal roots. Motoneurons supply information to muscle. A motor unit is the combination of the motoneuron and the set of muscle fibers it innervates.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
An autoimmune disease, or disease that affects the system of the body that fights illness and disease, affects twice as many women as men. In Multiple Sclerosis, the body's immune system attacks the central nervous system, destroying myelin (the fatty sheath which surrounds and insulates the nerve fibers). As a result, nerve impulses that send signals to and from the brain are slowed or halted.

A white, fatty insulating material for axons which is produced in the peripheral nervous system by Schwann cells, and in the central nervous system by oligodendrocytes. Myelin is necessary for rapid signal transmission along nerve fibers, ten to one hundred times faster than in bare fibers lacking its insulation properties. It insulates axons giving the "white matter" of the central nervous system its characteristic color.


Neurogenic Bladder
Any bladder disturbance due to an injury of the nervous system.

Neurological Level
Refers to the lowest segment of the spinal cord with normal sensory and motor function on both sides of the body. In fact, the segments at which normal function is found often differ by side of body and in terms of sensory vs. motor testing. Thus, up to four different segments may be identified in determining the neurological level. In cases such as this, generally each of these segments is separately recorded and a single "level".

A nerve cell that can receive and send information by way of synaptic connections consisting of the cell body and extensions of the nerve called axons and dendrites.

Neuropathic/Spinal Cord Pain
Neuropathic (nerve-generated) pain is a problem experienced by SCI patients. A sharp, almost electrical shock, type of pain will be felt to the left of the injury and is the result of damage to the spine and soft tissue surrounding the spine. Phantom limb pain or radiating pain from the level of the lesion is related to the injury or dysfunction at the nerve root or spinal cord.

A chemical released from a neuron ending, at a synapse, to either excite or inhibit the adjacent neuron or muscle cell. A chemical synthesized within the nerve cell body, characteristic for this type of nerve, and stored at the nerves in pods as granules. Release of these chemicals into the synaptic cleft between axons facilitates nerve transmissions.


A central nervous system glial cell. Oligodendrocytes are the site of myelin manufacture for central nervous system neurons (the job of Schwann cells in the peripheral nervous system).

Loss of bone density or atrophy of skeletal tissue, common in immobile bones after spinal cord injury. This loss of bone density increases the potential for fractures and breaks. Persons with spinal cord injury or disease need to be cautious. Depending on the degree of osteoporosis, it need not take a fall or hard impact to fracture a bone. Fractures can occur after mild impacts or even by twisting an extremity while performing any number of activities of daily living.

An opening in the skin to allow for a suprapubic catheter (for elimination of intestinal contents) or for the passage of air (a tracheostomy).


Paraplegia, Paraplegic, Para
Loss of use of the lower half of the body (paralysis) including both legs, certain bodily functions, and loss of sensation to the involved area. Usually caused by spinal cord damage, disease, or congenital malformation (as in Spina Bifida). A paraplegic or para is a person who experiences paraplegia.

Weakness in muscle; partial or incomplete paralysis.

Peripheral Nervous System (PNS)
Nerves outside the spinal cord and brain (not part of the central nervous system). Peripheral nerves have the ability to regenerate.

Long-term adaptive mechanism by which the nervous system restores or modifies itself toward normal levels of function.

Poliomyelitis (Polio)
Polio is an acute infectious disease affecting the motor nerves (lower motor neurones) in the central nervous system responsible for muscle contraction. If nerve cells are damaged the corresponding muscles are affected, resulting in muscular weakness or paralysis with varying degrees of severity and distribution. Polio can cause death by paralyzing the muscles that help in breathing.

Pressure Release (Pressure Relief, Weight Shift)
Relieving pressure from the ischial turberosities (bones on which we sit) every 15 min. in order to prevent pressure sores when in a wheelchair or a seated position. This can be accomplished in a number of ways depending upon the upper extremity strength of the individual. If able, a person can lift himself up off of the wheelchair seat for 15-30 seconds. If unable to lift up, pressure relief can be accomplished by cautious leaning to one side for 15-30 seconds, then to the other side for a similar period of time. For those indiviudals who are unable to lean to one side or the other, a wheelchair with a tilting or reclining seat may be necessary. Tilting the seating system back will lower pressure to some extent as will laying back. When in bed, pressure is greatly reduced when the hips are kept at no more than 30 degrees of flexion (bending forward at the hip).

Pressure Sore - See Decubitus Ulcer

The internal sense that allows a person to know the position of parts of the body, relative to other parts of the body.

Prosthesis (Prosthetic, Prosthetics)
Replacement device for a body part, for example an artificial limb.

Pertaining to the psychological, social and environmental aspects of human functioning.

Post Void Residual (PVR)
The volume of urine left in bladder after the patient voids (urinates).


Quad Cough
A method of helping a patient with tetraplegia (quadriplegia) cough by applying external pressure to the diaphragm, thus increasing the force and clearing the respiratory tract. This is very often necessary for those with new spinal cord injuries to prevent pneumonia. In some cases a lightweight elastic binder that exerts some inward pressure can be worn to assist in coughing and exhaling.

Partial loss of function in all four (4) extremities of the body.

Quadriplegia Quadirplegic, Quad
Loss of function affecting all four limbs caused by an injury to or disease affecting the cervical spinal cord. A high quad is usually defined as someone with an injury at the C1, C2, C3 or even C4 level. Mid-level quads are those persons injured at C5. Low level quads those persons injured at C6 and C7. Outside of the U.S., the term tetraplegia is used (which is etymologically more accurate, combining tetra-plegia, both from the Greek, rather than quardri-plegia, a Latin/Greek amalgam). A quadriplegic or quad is person who has quadriplegia.


Range of Motion (ROM)
The range of movement of a joint. Joint excursion or how far in degrees a joint can move in any given direction. Range of Motion also refers to exercises designed to maintain a normal joint range and prevent contractures.

An involuntary response to a stimulus involving nerves not under the control of the brain. In some types of paralysis, reflexes become exaggerated and may cause spasms.

The backflow of urine from the bladder into the ureters and kidney.

The re-growth or repair of nerve fiber tissue, which can permit the return of function.

Residual Urine
Urine that remains in the bladder after voiding. Too much left can lead to a bladder infection.

The cutting, or interruption, of spinal nerve roots.


Refers to the fused segments of the lower vertebrae or lowest spinal cord segments below the lumbar level.

The lowest part of the spine. The bones or vertebrae in this section of the spine end with the "tailbone" and join the pelvis (hip).

Schwann Cells
Responsible in the peripheral nervous system for myelinating axons they also provide trophic (nutrition) support in injury situation.

Secondary Injury
The biochemical and physiological changes that occur in the injured spinal cord after the initial trauma has done its damage.

Sensory Level and Motor Level
When the term "sensory level" is used, it refers to the lowest segment of the spinal cord with normal sensory function on both sides of the body; the motor level is similarly defined with respect to motor function. These "levels" are determined by neurological examination of (1) a key sensory point with in each of 28 dermatomes (section of skin innervated by a single sensory axon) on the right and 28 dermatomes on the left side of the body, and (2) a key muscle within each of 10 myotomes (section of muscle innervated by a single motor axon) on the right and 10 myotomes on the left side of the body.

Spasm, Spasticity
Hyperactive muscles that move or jerk involuntarily. Spasms may be caused by bladder infections, skin ulcers, and any other sensory stimulus. Such uncontrolled muscle activity is caused by excessive reflex activity below the level of lesion. Some spasticity can be beneficial in that they serve as a warning mechanism to identify pain or problems, they improve circulation and maintain muscle tone. If severe, through, spasms can interfere with normal activities, and can hasten contractions as muscles shorten. Spasticity is typically treated with the following medications: baclofen, clonidine, dantrium, tizanidine or valium.

The cutting of the bladder sphincter muscle to eliminate spasticity and related voiding problems.

Spina Bifida
Spina Bifida occurs when the spine of an infant does not form properly. An opening in the spine causes damage to the lining of the spinal column, the spinal nerves, and frequently to the spinal cord itself. The damage that occurs may lead to muscle weakness, paralysis, and loss of bowel and bladder control. Most of these infants grow into adulthood with different degrees of disabilities.

Spinal Cord
The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves and fibers, about the thickness of a little finger, that transmits messages to and from the brain. It extends from the brain to the lower back and is protected by the 33 vertebrae. These nerves can be either motor, sensory, or autonomic nerves.

The spinal cord transmits messages between the peripheral nerves and the brain. For example if a person puts his hand near a flame, a sensory nerve, which is part of the peripheral system, transmits the "message" that the hand is very hot to the spinal cord. The spinal cord then transmits the message to the brain, where it is interpreted. The brain then sends a message down the spinal cord to the motor nerves at the place of the sensation so that the motor nerves can instruct the muscles to pull the hand away from the flame.

Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)
Spinal cord injury occurs when there is damage to the spinal cord, the major bundle of nerves that carry nerve impulses to and from the brain to the rest of the body. It can also be associated with congenital or degenerative disease. SCI results in a loss of mobility, feeling, or other bodily function. Frequent causes of SCI are trauma (such as a car accident, an act of violence, or falls), disease (such as polio or multiple sclerosis) or congenital defects (such as spina bifida).

A complete injury results in no function below the injury, no sensation, and no voluntary movement. An incomplete injury allows some function, sensation, and movement below the primary site of the injury. People with SCI may also have many other problems including bowel and bladder that do not function right, pressure sores, kidney involvement, respiratory problems, severe and chronic pain, osteoporosis (brittle bones), sexual dysfunction, involuntary spasms, impaired vision, inability to chew or swallow, and joint contractures (fixed joint deformities).

A muscle that encircles a duct, tube, or orifice.

Spinal Shock
The body's initial response to SCI, which lasts 3-4 weeks and causes immediate flaccid paralysis, in which the muscles are soft or weak. Similar to a concussion in the brain, spinal shock causes the system to shut down.

Spinal Stenosis
Spinal stenosis is an abnormal narrowing (stenosis) of the spinal column that may occur in any of the regions of the spine. The most common forms are cervical spinal stenosis, at the level of the neck, and lumbar spinal stenosis, at the level of the lower back. Thoracic spinal stenosis, at the level of the mid-back, is much less common. Spinal cord stenosis can lead to compression of the spinal cord that can result in serious symptoms, including major body weakness or even paralysis.

A narrowing of a canal.

The upper airway warms, cleans and moistens the air we breathe. The trach tube bypasses these mechanisms, so that the air moving through the tube is cooler, dryer and not as clean.  In response to these changes, the body produces more mucus.  Suctioning clears mucus from the tracheostomy tube and is essential for proper breathing. Also, secretions left in the tube could become contaminated and a chest infection could develop.  Avoid suctioning too frequently as this could lead to more secretion buildup.
Johns Hopkins Medicine

Suprapubic Catheter
This is a small surgical incision that is made just above the pubic bone and into the bladder. A catheter (SP-tube) is inserted for purposes of draining urine. This is sometimes a temporary procedure after surgery or while treating a medical problem that does not allow for the persons regular method of urine drainage. People who have had problems with other methods or can not manage other types of catheters are often advised to have a suprapubic procedure done. The catheter that is inserted must be changed on a regular basis. Patients with suprapubic catheters and other inswelling catheters should be mindful that there is an increased risk of bladder tumors associated with these devices.

Suprapubic Cystostomy
A small opening made in the bladder and through the abdomen, sometimes to remove large stones, more commonly to establish a catheter urinary drain.

The specialized junction between a neuron and another neuron or muscle cell for transfer of information such as brain signals, sensory inputs, etc., along the nervous system. These are the junctions between the "sending" fibers of one nerve cell, to the "receiving" fibers of other nerve cells. The axon (sending fiber) ends in multiple branches, each of which has a button-like enlargement that nearly touches the "receiving" fibers of the other nerve cell bodies. Nerve cells "talk" to each other via synapses. Basically the connection between the end of a nerve and the adjacent structure, such as a muscle cell or another nerve ending. Various transmitter chemicals liberated into the synapse make nerve transmissions possible.

The formation of a fluid-filled cavity (a syrinx) in an injured area of the spinal cord, which is a result of nerve fiber degradation and necrosis. It sometimes extends upward, extending also the neurological deficit. As a syrinx gets larger with in the spinal cord, the surrounding nerve fibers are compressed and blood flow is restricted. The fluid buildup seen in syringomyelia may be a result of spinal cord trauma, tumors of the spinal cord, or birth defects (specifically, "chiari malformation," in which part of the brain pushes down onto the spinal cord at the base of the skull). The fluid-filled cavity usually begins in the neck area. It expands slowly, putting pressure on the spinal cord and slowly causing damage.


Tetraplegia – See Quadriplegia

Pertaining to the chest, vertebrae or spinal cord segments between the cervical and lumbar areas.

A clot in a vein due to diminished blood flow which can occur in a paralyzed leg. Symptoms include swelling and redness.

Tracheostomy or Tracheotomy
Opening in the trachea, or windpipe, to insert a tube that protects the airway and allows secretions to be removed from the lungs.

Transverse Myelitis
ransverse myelitis is a neurological disorder caused by inflammation across both sides of one level, or segment, of the spinal cord. The term myelitis refers to inflammation of the spinal cord; transverse simply describes the position of the inflammation, that is, across the width of the spinal cord. Attacks of inflammation can damage or destroy myelin, the fatty insulating substance that covers nerve cell fibers. This damage causes nervous system scars that interrupt communications between the nerves in the spinal cord and the rest of the body.


Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
Bacterial invasion of the urinary tract, which includes the bladder, bladder neck, and urethra. Symptoms of UTI may include urine that is cloudy, contains sediment, and has a foul smell. A fever may also be present.


Mechanical device to facilitate breathing in persons with impaired diaphragm function.

The bones that form the spinal column. In humans there are 33 vertebrae: 7 cervical, 12 thoracic, 5 lumbar, 5 sacral (fused into one), 4 cocygeal (fused into one). Vertebra (singular). Vertebrae (plural).

Vital Signs
Include blood pressure, pulse, respiration, and temperature.

1.3. Medical Prescription Abbreviations

Medical prescription abbreviations can be confusing and difficult to understand. This alphabetical list of mecial prescription abbreviations can help you to interpret medical notes and prescriptions. Please do not relie on this list as a definitive guide to your personal prescriptions. Please contact your prescribing physician with any questions regarding your medical prescriptions.


aa, __, __ of each
AAA apply to affected area
a.c. before meals
a.c.h.s., ac&hs before meals and at bedtime
a.d. right ear
ad., add. add
  let there be added
ad lib. Latin, "at one's pleasure"; as much as one desires; freely
admov. apply [or] add
  add; let there be added
ad us. according to custom
aeq. equal
agit. agitateÊ(stir or shake)
alt. d., alt. dieb. every other day; on alternate days
alt. h., alt. hor. every other hour; at alternate hours
a.m. morning, before noon
amp. ampuleÊ(ampul, ampoule)
amt amount
aq. water
aq. bull. boilingÊwater
aq. com. common water
aq. dest. distilled water
aq. ferv. hot water
a.l., a.s. left ear
ATC around the clock
a.u. both ears
BDS, b.d.s. twice daily
bib. drink
bis twice
b.i.d., b.d. twice daily
bis ind. twice a day
bis in 7 d. twice a week
BM bowel movement
BNF British National Formulary
bol. as a large single dose (usuallyÊintravenously)
BP, Ph.Br. British Pharmacopoeia
BS blood sugar
BSA body surface area
b.t. bedtime
bucc. buccalÊ(insideÊcheek)
cap., caps. capsule
cap. let him take (let the patient take)
c.m. tomorrow morning
c.m.s. to be taken tomorrow morning
c, c. with (usually written with a bar on top of the "c")
cib. food
c.c. with food [or]
  cubic centimetre
cf. compare
c.n. tomorrow night
cochl. spoonful
cochl. ampl. an ample spoonful (aÊtablespoonful)
cochl. infant. a small spoonful (aÊteaspoonful)
cochl. mag. a large spoonful (aÊtablespoonful)
cochl. mod. a modest spoonful (aÊdessert-spoonful)
cochl. parv. a scant spoonful (aÊteaspoonful)
colet. let it beÊstrained
comp. compound
contin. let it be continued
cpt. let him take (let the patient take)
cr., crm cream
CST continue same treatment
cuj. of which
c.v. tomorrow evening
cyath. aÊglassful
cyath. vinos. aÊwine-glassful
D, d. daysÊ[or]
D5LR dextroseÊ5% inÊlactated Ringer's solutionÊ(intravenous sugar solution)
D5NS dextroseÊ5% inÊnormal salineÊ(0.9%) (intravenous sugar solution)
D5W, D5W dextroseÊ5% inÊwaterÊ(intravenous sugar solution)
D10W, D10W dextroseÊ10% inÊwaterÊ(intravenous sugar solution)
da give
DAW dispense as written (i.e., noÊgeneric substitution)
DC, dc, D/C, disc discontinue [or]
decoct. decoction
det. let it be given
dieb. alt. every other day; on alternate days
dil. dilute
dim. one-half
d. in p. ¾. divide into equal parts
disp. dispersible [or]
div. divide
dL deciliter
DS double strength
d.t.d. give of such doses
DTO deodorized tincture of opium
DW distilled waterÊ[or]
  dextroseÊinÊwaterÊ(intravenous sugar solution)
elix. elixir
e.m.p. as directed (in the manner prescribed)
emuls. emulsion
et and
EOD every other day
ex aq. in water
exhib. let it be given
f. make; let it be made
f.h. make a draught
fl., fld. fluidÊ(usually meaning specificallyÊliquidin health care)
f.m. make a mixture
f. pil. make aÊpill
f.s.a. make according to art
ft. make; let it be made
g, gm gramÊ(modernÊSIÊsymbol is g, not gm)
garg. gargle
gr. grain
gtt(s) drop(s)
gutt. drop(s)
H hypodermic
h, hr, hor. hour
habt. let him have
hor. alt. every other hour (every second hour; at alternate hours)
hor. decub. at bedtime
hor. intermed. at intermediate hours
hor. tert. every third hour
h.s. at bedtime [or]
IBW ideal body weightÊ(for dosing based onÊclearanceÊestimation)
ID intradermal
IJ, inj. injection
i.m., IM intramuscular
IN intranasal
ind. daily
inf. infusion (extraction)Ê/Êintravenous infusion
i oneÊtablet
ii twoÊtablets
iii threeÊtablets
IP intraperitoneal
IT intrathecal
IU international unit
i.v., IV intravenous
i.v.p., IVP intravenous push
IVPB intravenous piggyback
kg kilogram
LAS label as such
lat. dol. to the painful side
lb. pound
l.c.d. coal tar solution
lin liniment
liq. solution
lot. lotion
M., m. mix
mane in the morning
max. maximum
mcg microgram
m.d.u. to be used as directed
mEq milliequivalent
mg milligram
mg/dL milligrams per deciliter
MgSO4 magnesium sulfate
min. minimumÊ[or]
mist. mixture
mit., mitt. send
mL millilitre
mod. pr¾script. in the manner directed
MS morphine sulfateÊorÊmagnesium sulfate
MSO4 morphine sulfate
nebul, neb. aÊsprayÊ(such as forÊinsufflation)- nebulizer
NMT not more than
noct. at night
non rep. no repeats (no refills)
NPO, n.p.o. nothing by mouth
NS normal saline (0.9%)
1/2NS half-normal saline (0.45%)
NTE not to exceed
oÊ2, o2 both eyes
o.d. every day (once daily) (preferred to "qd" in the UK[8])
o.d. right eye
o.m. every morning
omn. bih. every 2 hours
omn. hor. every hour
o.n. every night
OPD once per day
o.s. left eye
o.u. both eyes
oz ounce
p. continue
part. ¾q. equal parts
per by or through
p.c. after meals
p.c.h.s., pc&hs after meals and at bedtime
Ph.Br., BP British Pharmacopoeia
Ph.Eur. European Pharmacopoeia
Ph.Int. International Pharmacopoeia
pig./pigm. paint
p.m. evening or afternoon
p.o. by mouthÊorÊorally
ppt. prepared
p.r., PR rectally
p.r.n., PRN as needed
pt. continue
pulv. powder
p.v., PV vaginally
q every, per
q.1 h, q.1¡ every 1 hour (can replace "1" with other numbers)
q4PM at 4 pm (can replace "4" with other numbers)
q.a.d. every other day
q.a.m. every morning (every day before noon)
q.d./q.1.d. every day
q.d.a.m. once daily in the morning
q.d.p.m. once daily in the evening
q.d.s. 4 times a day
q.p.m. every evening (every day after noon)
q.h. every hour
q.h.s. every night at bedtime
q.i.d. 4 times a day
q.l. as much as is requisite
q.n. every night
q.o.d. every other day
q.q. every;[9]Êeach
q.q.h. every 4 hours
q.s. as much asÊsuffices; a sufficient quantity
q.v. at will [or]
  which see
QWK every week
rep., rept. repeats
RL, R/L Ringer's lactate
Rx, Rx, RX,Ê,Ê_ take (often effectively a noun meaning "prescription"Ñmedical prescriptionÊorÊprescription drug)
rep. let it be repeated
s. write (write on the label)
s.a. according to the art (accepted practice orÊbest practice)
SC subcutaneous
sem. seed
s.i.d. once a day
sig. write (write on the label)
s without (usually written with a bar on top of the "s")
sing. of each
SL, s.l. sublingually, under theÊtongue
SOB shortness of breath
sol. solution
s.o.s., si op. sit if there is a need
s.s., SS one-half [or]
  sliding scale
SSI sliding scaleÊinsulinÊor sliding scale regularÊinsulin
SQ subcutaneously
SSRI selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor[or]
  sliding scale regular insulin
st. let it stand (for example, forÊsettling)
stat immediately
SubQ subcutaneously
sum. let him take [or]
  let it be taken
supp. suppository
susp. suspension
syr. syrup
tab. tablet
tal., t. such
tbsp tablespoon
t.d.s., TDS 3 times a day
t.i.d., t.d. 3 times a day
tinct. tincture
t.i.w. 3 times a week
top. topical
TPN total parenteral nutrition
tr, tinc., tinct. tincture
trit. grindÊto aÊpowder
troch. lozenge
tsp teaspoon
U unit
u.d., ut. dict. as directed
ung. ointment
USP United States Pharmacopeia
vag. vaginally
w with
w/a while awake
w/f with food (with meals)
w/o without
X, x times
YO, y.o. years old