< Become a Doctor
75 Must-Know Medical Terms, Abbreviations, and Acronyms
Check out this guide to the top 75 must-know medical terms from UAG School of Medicine.
What Every Medical Professional Should Know
There are a lot of medical terms, abbreviations, and acronyms out there. While some of them may seem confusing at first, they can be quite helpful in providing quick and concise information about a wide variety of topics. Here are 75 must-know medical terms, abbreviations, and acronyms that every medical professional should know from UAG School of Medicine.

  • Abrasion: A typically non-serious scrape or cut.
  • Abscess:  A pocket of pus that forms due to an infection.
  • Acute: Of short duration and/or severe intensity.
  • Benign: Will not cause cancer; not cancerous.
  • Biopsy: A tiny tissue sample used for testing purposes.
  • Chronic: An enduring, long-term illness.
  • Contusion: A bruise.
  • Defibrillator: A device that restores a normal heart rhythm.
  • Edema: Excessive fluid in the body tissues.
  • Embolism: An arterial blockage of blood flow.
  • Epidermis: The skin's outer layer.
  • Fracture: Broken cartilage or bone tissue.
  • Gland: A tissue or organ which produces a fluid for a certain purpose.
  • Hypertension: High blood pressure.
  • Inpatient: A patient admitted to a hospital.
  • Intravenous: Fluid or medication delivered through a vein.
  • Malignant: Cancerous.
  • Outpatient: A patient that is treated without a hospital admission.
  • Prognosis: The predicted result of a disease's progression.
  • Relapse: Reappearance of a disease or symptoms after a patient has recovered.
  • Sutures: Stitches.
  • Transplant: The process of removing an organ from one individual and placing it in another.
  • Vaccine: A substance that promotes antibody production to boost immunity against disease.
  • Zoonotic disease: A sickness that is transmissible from animals to humans.

Suffixes and Prefixes
  • A-, an-: Without, lack of.
  • -ation: A process.
  • Dys-: Painful or abnormal.
  • -ectomy: Surgical removal.
  • -ismus: The presence of a spasm or contraction.
  • -itis: Inflammation.
  • -lysis: Decomposition.
  • Macro-: Large.
  • Melan/o-: Dark in color.
  • Micro-: Small.
  • -ology: The study of a certain field.
  • -osis: Indicates the presence of an abnormality.
  • -otomy: To cut.
  • -pathy: Disease or disease process.
  • -plasty: Surgical repair.
  • Poly-: Many.
  • Pseudo-: False or deceptive.
  • Retro-: Behind or backward.
  • Cardi/o: Related to the heart.
  • Derm/a/o, dermat/o: Relating to the skin.
  • Encephal/o: Related to the brain.
  • Gastr/o: Related to the stomach.
  • Hemat/o: Pertaining to blood.
  • My/o: Related to muscle.
  • Oste/o: Related to bone.
  • Pulmon/o: Refers to the lungs.
  • Rhin/o: Related to the nose.
  • Sclerosis: Hard or hardening.
  • Stasis: Slowing or stopping the flow of a bodily fluid.
  • Therm/o: Indicates heat.
Abbreviations and Acronyms
  • ALS: Advanced life support.
  • Bl wk: Blood work.
  • BMI: Body mass index.
  • BP: Blood pressure.
  • CPR: Cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
  • C-spine: Cervical spine.
  • DNR: Do not resuscitate.
  • ED/ER: Emergency department/emergency room.
  • EKG: Electrocardiogram.
  • HDL-C: High-density lipoprotein cholesterol, a.k.a “good” cholesterol.
  • HR: Heart rate, written in beats per minute (bpm).
  • LDL-C: Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, a.k.a “bad” cholesterol.
  • Lytes: Electrolytes.
  • NICU: Neonatal intensive care unit.
  • OR: Operating room for surgeries.
  • Pre-op: Preoperative.
  • Psych: Refers to psychiatry.
  • PT: Physical therapy.
  • Rx: Prescription.
  • Stat: Immediately.

The Importance of Medical Terminology
Medical terminology is important for a variety of reasons. It allows medical professionals to more accurately and precisely communicate with one another about a patient's condition. It also provides a common language that can be used in medical documentation, such as charts and records. Furthermore, understanding medical terminology can help patients be more informed about their own health and better advocate for themselves. Finally, medical terminology can help students in the medical field better understand and retain the large volume of information they must learn.

Contact UAG School of Medicine Today
At UAG School of Medicine, we provide our students with a well-rounded medical education that includes extensive training in medical terminology. With our accredited programs, you can receive the education and skills you need to begin your career in medicine. Contact us today to learn more about our programs and how we can help you achieve your professional goals


Compártenos tus intereses y en breve un asesor educativo se pondrá en contacto contigo.



654 Muñoz Rivera Ave.

Suite 1124

San Juan, PR 00918-4133

Tel. (787) 763-2457

Fax. (787) 753-0760

Toll Free: 1-800-981-9925


UAG School of Medicine gives students an immersive experience that prepares them for what's next on their medical journey by exposing them to various health care settings from start to finish.

© Copyright 2024 Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara