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AA: amino acid.

a simple organic
compound containing both a carboxyl
(COOH) and an amino (NH2) group
AAA: abdominal aortic aneurysm. an
enlarged area in the lower part of the
aorta, the major blood vessel that
supplies blood to the body
AAD: antibiotic-associated diarrhea.
describes frequent, watery bowel
movements that occur in response to
medications used to treat bacterial
AAFB: acid-alcohol fast bacilli. acid
fast mycobacterium
AAO: alert, awake, and oriented. if the
patient knows who they are, where they
are, what date or time it is and recent
AAS: acute abdominal series. a
serious condition within the abdomen
characterized by sudden onset, pain,
tenderness, and muscular rigidity, and
usually requiring emergency surgery
AAS: atomic absorbance
spectrophotometry. a spectroanalytical
procedure for the quantitative
determination of chemical elements
using the absorption of optical radiation
(light) by free atoms in the gaseous
Ab: antibody. a blood protein produced
in response to and counteracting a
specific antigen
ABC: abacavir. a nonnucleoside
reverse transcriptase inhibitor used as
the sulfate salt as an antiretroviral in the
treatment of human immunodeficiency
virus infection
ABD: abdomen. the part of the body of
a vertebrate containing the digestive
ABG: arterial blood gas. a collective
term applied to three separate
measurementspH, Pco2, and Po2
generally made together to evaluate
acidbase status, ventilation, and
arterial oxygenation
ABR: auditory brainstem response.
an electrophysiological test used to
measure hearing sensitivity and
evaluate the integrity of ear structures

from the auditory nerve through the

ABPI: ankle brachial pressure index.
the ratio of the blood pressure in the
lower legs to the blood pressure in the
AC: ante cibum (Latin). before eating;
taking medicine before meals
ACE: angiotensin-converting
enzyme. indirectly increases blood
pressure by converting angiotensin I to
angiotensin II which constricts blood
ACEI: angiotensin-converting
enzyme inhibitor. a pharmaceutical
drug used primarily for the treatment of
hypertension and congestive heart
aCL: anticardiolipin. an antibody that
is directed against phospholipids and
especially cardiolipin and is associated
with increased risk for recurring arterial
and venous thromboses
ACL: anterior cruciate ligament. one
of a pair of cruciate ligaments (the other
being the posterior cruciate ligament) in
the human knee
ACLS: advanced cardiac life support.
emergency medical procedures in which
basic life support efforts of
cardiopulmonary resuscitation are
ACR: albumin creatinine ratio. used to
screen people with chronic conditions
ACT: artemisinin-based combination
therapy. fast acting artemisinin-based
compounds are combined with a drug
from a different class for the treatment of
P. falciparum malaria
ACTH: adrenocorticotrophic
hormone. a hormone secreted by the
pituitary gland and stimulating the
adrenal cortex
AD: autonomic dysreflexia. a
syndrome affecting people with a spinal
cord lesion above the midthoracic level
ADH: anti-diuretic hormone. a
neurohypophysial hormone found in
most mammals whose primary functions
are to retain water in the body and to
constrict blood vessels

ADL: activities of daily living. routine

activities that people tend do everyday
without needing assistance
ADM: admission/admitted. a patient
accepted for inpatient service in a
ADR: adverse drug reaction. a
response to a medicinal product which
is noxious and unintended
ADR: acute dystonic reaction.
reversible extrapyramidal effects that
can occur after administration of a
neuroleptic drug
AECG: ambulatory
electrocardiography. a portable device
for continuously monitoring various
electrical activity of the cardiovascular
system for at least 24 hours
AED: antiepileptic drug. a diverse
group of pharmacological agents used
in the treatment of epileptic seizures
AED: automated external
defibrillators. a portable apparatus
used to restart a heart that has stopped
AF: atrial fibrillation. an irregular and
often rapid heart rate that commonly
causes poor blood flow to the body
AFB: acid-fast bacilli. of or relating to
bacteria that are not decolorized by an
acidic alcohol solution after they have
been stained
AFE: amniotic fluid embolism. a
pregnancy complication that causes lifethreatening conditions, such as heart
AFP: alpha-fetoprotein. a protein
produced by a fetus that is present in
amniotic fluid and the bloodstream of
the mother
AFO: ankle foot orthosis. orthotic
device (made to a cast of the foot and
ankle) to maintain ankle joint neutral
A /G: albumin/globulin ratio. the ratio
of albumin to globulin in the serum or in
the urine in kidney disease
AGXT: alanine-glyoxylate
aminotransferase. an enzyme that
reversibly catalyzes the transfer of an
amino group of L-alanine to glyoxylate,
thus producing pyruvate and glycine

AI: aortic insufficiency. the reflow of

blood back from the aorta into the left
ventricle due to incompetency of the
aortic valve
AIDS: acquired immune deficiency
syndrome. a disease in which there is a
severe loss of the body's cellular
immunity, greatly lowering the resistance
to infection and malignancy
AJ: ankle jerk. occurs when the
Achilles tendon is tapped while the foot
is dorsi-flexed
AKA: above the knee amputation. the
removal of a limb or other appendage or
outgrowth of the body
ALD: alcoholic liver disease. a term
that encompasses the hepatic
manifestations of alcohol
overconsumption, including fatty liver,
alcoholic hepatitis, and chronic hepatitis
with hepatic fibrosis or cirrhosis
ALF: acute liver failure. a condition
characterized by an abrupt onset of the
signs and symptoms due to
hypoalbuminaemia of a liver incapable
of maintaining its normal activity and
metabolic functions, which indicates
severe damage to 8090% of native
ALL: acute lymphocytic leukemia. a
type of cancer of the blood and bone
ALS: advanced life support. a set of
life-saving protocols and skills that
extend Basic Life Support to further
support the circulation and provide an
open airway and adequate ventilation
ALS: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. a
neurodegenerative disease of unknown
cause that affects the nerves
responsible for movement
AMAs: anti-mitochondrial antibodies.
autoantibodies, consisting of
immunoglobulins formed against
mitochondria, primarily the mitochondria
in cells of the liver
amb: ambulate. walk; move about
AMH: anti-Mllerian hormone. the
factor secreted by the Sertoli cells of the
embryonic, developing testis that
causes regression of the Mllerian

ducts, the primordia for the accessory

sex glands of the female
AML: acute myelogenous leukemia. a
cancer of the myeloid line of blood cells,
characterized by the rapid growth of
abnormal white blood cells that
accumulate in the bone marrow and
interfere with the production of normal
blood cells
ANA: antinuclear antibody. any of a
number of circulating antibodies directed
against various antigens in the nucleus
ANCA: antineutrophil cytoplasmic
antibody. autoantibodies produced by a
person's immune system that mistakenly
target and attack proteins within the
person's neutrophils
ANS: autonomic nervous system. the
part of the nervous system responsible
for control of the bodily functions not
consciously directed
Anti-GBM: antiglomerular basement
membrane antibody. an antibody that
is usually high in patients with
Goodpasture syndrome
AOB: alcohol on breath. causing of
the air inhaled and exhaled during ventil
ation smell like alchohol
AODM: adult onset diabetes mellitus.
a metabolic disorder that is
characterized by hyperglycemia in the
context of insulin resistance and relative
lack of insulin
AP: anteroposterior. relating to or
directed toward both front and back
aPL: antiphospholipid. relating to,
being, or associated with antibodies that
act against phospholipids and increase
the risk of venous and arterial
thromboses and thrombocytopenia
aPPT: activated partial
thromboplastin time. partial
thromboplastin time test that uses
activators to shorten the clotting time,
making it more useful for heparin
AR: ankle reflex. an abrupt plantar jerk
of the ankle, evoked by tapping the
Achilles tendon with an unrestricted

ARB: angiotensin receptor blocker.

medications that block the action of
angiotensin II by preventing angiotensin
II from binding to angiotensin II
receptors on blood vessels
ARDS: acute/adult respiratory
distress syndrome. a type of
pulmonary failure that may result from
any disease that causes large amounts
of fluid to collect in the lungs
ARF: acute renal failure. the abrupt
loss of kidney function
ARR: absolute risk reduction. a way
of measuring the size of a difference
between two treatments
ART: assisted reproduction
technique. the manipulation of egg and
sperm in treating infertility
ARVC: arrhythmogenic right
ventricular cardiomyopathy. caused
by genetic defects of the parts of heart
muscle (also called myocardium or
cardiac muscle) known as
desmosomes, areas on the surface of
heart muscle cells which link the cells
AS: aortic stenosis. occurs when the
heart's aortic valve narrows
ASAP: as soon as possible. at the
earliest possible moment
ASD: atrial septal defect. a congenital
heart defect in which blood flows
between the atria (upper chambers) of
the heart
ASD: autistic spectrum disorder. a
nonspecific diagnosis of any
developmental disorder characterized
by poor social abilities and impaired
ASHD: atherosclerotic heart disease.
a specific form of arteriosclerosis in
which an artery wall thickens as a result
of invasion and accumulation of white
blood cells
ASTRAL: angioplasty and stent for
renal artery lesions. designed to
address the issue of whether renal
arterial revascularisation with balloon
angioplasty and/or endovascular
stenting can safely prevent progressive
renal failure

ATC: around the clock. all day and all

ATRA: all-trans retinoic acid. made in
the laboratory to put on the skin to treat
conditions such as acne and is taken by
mouth to treat acute promyelocytic
AV: atrioventricular. relating to the
atrial and ventricular chambers of the
heart, or the connection or coordination
between them
AVJRT: atrioventricular junctional reentry tachycardia. a condition in which
there is an additional abnormal pathway
between the atrium and ventricle
completing the circuit
AVNRT: atrioventricular nodal reentry tachycardia. a reentrant
tachycardia with an anatomically defined
circuit that consists of two distinct

AVNT: atrioventricular nodal

tachycardia. a type of tachycardia of
the heart
A-V: arteriovenous. both arterial and
venous; pertaining to or affecting an
artery and a vein
A-VO2: arteriovenous oxygen. the
difference of the oxygen constant in
millimeters per 100 milliliter between
arterial and venous blood
A&W: alive and well. a charting
notation made, as appropriate, with
respect to the health status of blood
relatives in the family history
AZOOR: acute zonal occult outer
retinopathy. an often bilateral condition
affecting young white women, typically
presenting with central photopsia,
progressive scotomata and blurring of