Common Medical Abbreviations

What should I engrave on my Medical ID? 

If you’re in an accident or have a medical emergency, then it’s imperative that your MedicAlert ID is engraved with your most critical medical information. First responders are trained to look for medical IDs. Therefore, your medical ID engraving should reflect the vital information that will help you get fast and accurate care in an emergency.

Deciding on what information to engrave can be challenging – especially if you if have more than one  medical condition, allergy, or medication. The American College of Emergency Physicians advises that you should list your information in the following order:

  • Allergies – but only those likely to cause anaphylaxis or severe reaction
  • Medications – any that will affect how you are treated in an emergency, such as blood thinners or immunosuppressants
  • Medical Conditions – your primary condition(s) – for example: heart disease, diabetes, epilepsy, dementia
  • Implanted Medical Devices – including pacemaker, ICD, LVAD, GCM
  • Other special instructions – i.e. no MRI, carries EPIPEN

Remember that only the most critical information goes on your ID. The rest of your medical history – including your current medications, past surgeries, vaccinations and more – is stored in your MedicAlert health profile. That’s the information that is communicated to first responders by our 24/7 emergency support team.

If you’re unsure what to engrave, talk to your physician. Also, our Member Care team is available Monday – Friday from 6am – 4:30 PM ET to help – call us on 800.432.5378.

What Is a medical abbreviation? 

When engraving your MedicAlert ID, it’s extremely important that you maximize the space on the emblem to communicate your most vital medical information. Also, it’s equally important to utilize the most common abbreviations used in the medical community. For instance, the condition ‘High Blood Pressure’ — also known as Hypertension — is very long, and would take up a lot of space on an ID if you need to include other information. Basically, by using the medical abbreviation of “HBP” or “HTN,” you communicate to emergency personnel that you have high blood pressure.  

Do first responders understand medical abbreviations? 

Yes – first responders, doctors, nurses, and other emergency response professionals use these abbreviations in their day-to-day work, so using them on your ID actually makes their job easier. Therefore when you use an accepted abbreviation, then EMTs don’t have to guess what your engraving means.

What are common medical abbreviations for medical alert bracelets?  

At MedicAlert, we’re continually adding new medical abbreviations to our vast database. As a result, our medical response team collaborates with partners in the medical community to understand, compile and diligently maintain a list of the most frequently used and recognized abbreviations. Of course, we want to ensure that you make best use of the space on your ID. But more importantly, we want to maximize the effectiveness of your engraving, so first responders have the information needed for a quick diagnosis. 

Here are some commonly used medical abbreviations: 

COMMON ABBREVIATIONS

 
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm AAA
Allergy ALGY
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome AIDS
Aortic Valve Replacement AVR
Aspirin ASA
As Needed PRN
Attention Deficit Disorder ADD
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder ADHD
Autologous Bone Marrow Transplant ABMT
Atrial Fibrillation A-Fib
Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure BIPAP
Blood Pressure BP
Bone Marrow Transplant BMT
Cerebrovascular Accident CVA
Cervical Spine C-Spine
Chronic Kidney Disease CKD
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease COPD
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy CTE
Ciprofloxacin CIPRO
Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia CAH
Congestive Heart Failure CHF
Coronary Artery Disease CAD
Coronary Artery Bypass Graft CABG
Continuous Glucose Monitoring Sensor CGMS
Deep Vein Thrombosis DVT
Diabetes Mellitus DM
Diabetic Ketoacidosis DKA
Do Not Resuscitate DNR
Epinephrine EPI
Epinephrine Pen (auto-injector) EPIPEN
Erythromycin Ethylsuccinate EES
Fibromyalgia Syndrome FMS
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease GERD
Gastrostomy Tube G-Tube
Generalized Anxiety Disorder GAD
High Blood Pressure HBP
History of HX
Hydrochlorothiazide HCTZ
Hydrochloride HCL
Hypertension HTN
Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura ITP
Idiopathic Hypertrophic Subaortic Stenosis IHSS
Implanted Cardioverter Defibrillator ICD
In Case of Emergency ICE
Inflammatory Bowel Disease IBD
Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus IDDM
Intravenous IV
Intravenous Immune Globulin IVIG
Irritable Bowel Syndrome IBS
Jejunostomy Tube J-Tube
Klippel-Trenaunay Syndrome KTS
Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber Syndrome KTW
Left LT
Left Bundle Branch Block LBBB
Malignant Hyperthermia Susceptible MH Susceptible
Medication(s)/Prescription(s) MED/MEDS/RX/RXS
Mitral Valve Prolapse MVP
Multiple Chemical Sensitivities MCS
Multiple Sclerosis MS
Myocardial Infarction MI
Muscular Dystrophy MD
Nasogastric Feeding Tube NG
Nitroglycerin NTG
No Known Allergies NKA
No Known Drug Allergies NKDA
Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs NSAIDs
Nothing by Mouth NPO
Oxygen O2
Parkinson’s Disease PD
Penicillin PCN
Peripheral Vascular Disease PVD
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder PTSD
Pulmonary Embolism PE
Rheumatoid Arthritis RA
Right RT
Right Bundle Branch Block RBBB
Subacute Bacterial Endocarditis SBE
Supraventricular Tachycardia SVT
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus SLE
Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome TMJ
Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis Vaccine TDaP
Tetracycline TCN
Tracheostomy/Tracheotomy TRACH
Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement TAVR
Transplant or Treatment TX
Transurethral Resection of Prostate TURP
Traumatic Brain Injury TBI
Tuberculosis TB
Venipuncture VP
Ventricular Fibrillation V-FIB
Ventricular Tachycardia V-TACH
Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt VP Shunt
Von Willebrand’s Disease VWD
   

Medications you should put on your ID

Some medications have a big impact on emergency treatment. For example, more than 50 million people in the U.S. take blood thinners to prevent blood clots from forming. As a result, an injury can result in much more bleeding than normal. If an emergency medical provider is aware you’re on blood thinners, then they’ll know to check for internal bleeding. If you take immunosuppressants, that’s also key info for those treating you. For example, here are several types of medications you should include on a medical id:

MEDICATIONS

Blood Thinners / Anticoagulants

Warfarin
Coumadin
Apixaban (Eliquis)
Dabigatran (Pradaxa)
Edoxaban (Savaysa)
Rivaroxaban (Xarelto)
 

Immunosuppressants

Calcineurin Inhibitors: Tacrolimus and Cyclosporine
Antiproliferative agents: Mycophenolate Mofetil, Mycophenolate Sodium and Azathioprine
mTOR inhibitor: Sirolimus, Torisel
 
 

Corticosteroids

Bethamethasone (Celestone)
Prednisone (Prednisone Intensol)
Prednisolone (Orapred, Prelone)
Triamcinolone (Aristospan Intra-Articular, Aristospan Intralesional, Kenalog)
Methylprednisolone((Medrol, Depo-Medrol, Solu-Medrol)
Dexamethasone
Stethoscope on Medical Dictionary