Do You Know These 50 Important Medical Assistant Abbreviations?

You'll be required to know a range of medical abbreviations as a medical assistant.


Medical Assistants are important members of the healthcare team who make a real difference in the lives of their patients. They often spend more time with patients than doctors and nurses!

 And they don’t just perform clinical care; many work in the front office and deal with lots of administrative and billing tasks. It’s serious responsibility. If you’re ready to become a Medical Assistant, you’ll have a lot to learn. You’ll need to know about rules and procedures. You’ll also need to know the language, which often seems to be written in code.


Here are 50 of the most important Medical Assistant abbreviations you’ll need to know:


  1. AD – right ear
  2. AS – left ear
  3. AU – both ears
  4. BP – blood pressure
  5. CBC – complete blood count
  6. CPE – complete physical exam
  7. DOB – date of birth
  8. Hx – history
  9. L1,L2, etc. – lumbar vertebrae
  10. LLQ – left lower quadrant
  11. LMP – last menstrua period
  12. LUQ – left upper quadrant
  13. NKDA/ NKA – non-known drug allergies
  14. NTP – normal temperature
  15. OD – right eye
  16. OOB – out of bed
  17. OS – left eye
  18. OU – both eyes
  19. ROM – range of motion
  20. SMA – student medical assistant
  21. Strep – streptococcus
  22. T1, T2, etc. – thoracic vertebrae
  23. TMT – relating to the tarsal and metatarsal bones
  24. TPR – temperature, pulse, respiration
  25. a.c. – before meals
  26. ad lib – as desired
  27. c – with
  28. cc – chief complains
  29. chol - cholesterol
  30. cp – chest pain
  31. d/c – discontinue
  32. dx – diagnosis
  33. f/u – follow up
  34. h.s. – hour of sleep
  35. ht – height
  36. otc – over the counter
  37. p – after
  38. p.c. – after meals
  39. prn – whenever possible
  40. pt. – patient
  41.  q – every
  42.  q2 – every 2 hours
  43. qam – every morning
  44. qd – everyday
  45. qh – every hour
  46.  qhs – every night
  47. qid – four times a day
  48. qod – every other day
  49. v/s – vital signs
  50. wt – weight


Wow! That’s a lot to learn. But don’t worry, you won’t have to learn them all at once. If you’re interested in a career as a medical assistant or in another healthcare position, check out the  healthcare programs at Career Quest Learning Centers. We have campuses in Lansing, Jackson, Mt. Pleasant, and Bay City, and we really care about the success of our students. We teach you patient treatment and healthcare administration. We also help you highlight your skills so you’ll be work-ready when it’s time for your externship and a job after graduation. Fill out the form to find out more now.



“This program is good because it’s daily, it doesn’t give you time for slack. There is also lots of hands-on help, you’re not just left to do it all on your own. I was in college before and it just didn’t work out. Career Quest worked for me.”


“When the Career Quest interns come to my office, they are very well prepared clinically for the technical work that we want them to do."