Common abbreviations in medical translation



18 Aug Common abbreviations in medical translation

No matter into which language you are translating from or into, you must always know how to face abbreviations in the source language. And, as English is the most common source translating language, Okomeds is listing some useful abbreviations with their corresponding meaning. If you know what they correspond to, you will translate them much better.


a.c. – before meals. It normally refers to the drug intake.

bld – blood. In clinical test, this is one of the most common abbreviations.

CDE – complete dental evaluation. It is used in the odontology area.

CVA – cerebrovascular accident. Also known as stroke.

DNR – do not resuscitate. This is a specific order for not reviving a patient artificially if succumbs to illness.

EUA – examination under anaesthesia. When an anaesthetist is needed for a medical procedure, we often see this abbreviation.

gtt – drops. This abbreviation is used for intakes.

HTN – hypertension. Some common diseases are also written with abbreviations for a quick communication.

IM – intramuscular. Some abbreviations, like this, are used just for medical notations.

IV – intravenously. This is used by doctors and nurses.

KVP – keep vein open. An indication often given by doctors.

LBP – low back pain. One of the most common medical complaints.

NAS – no added salt. Very used in hospital menus and nutritional recommendations.

N/V – nausea or vomiting. This a medical note for explaining some patient’s symptoms.

p.o. – by mouth. It comes from Latin: per os.

PMI – point of maximum impulse (of the heart when felt during examination).

q2h – every 2 hours. It refers to the medicine intake. “Q” means “every”, but there are some other similar abbreviations, as q3h (every 3 hours), qAM (each morning), and so on.

SQ – subcutaneous or subcutaneously. This a notation related to the skin or injections.

VSS – vital signs are stable. Doctors love seeing abbreviations like this one.

Wt – weight. Generally seen in physical examinations.


When translating abbreviations, this list may help you a lot. It can be really useful for medical or pharmaceutical texts. By getting the meaning, you will offer a better quality in your translation job. Would you like to add any other to the present list?

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