Common Medical Abbreviations D - J

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Common Medical Abbreviations K - O

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:55 Starting with D
  • 2:45 Starting with E & F
  • 4:19 Starting with G
  • 4:52 Starting with H
  • 6:09 Starting with I
  • 7:03 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed
Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Adrianne Baron

Adrianne has taught high school and college biology and has a master's degree in cancer biology.

This lesson covers the most used medical abbreviations that begin with the letters D - J. We will look at the common ways in which the abbreviations are used.

Medical Abbreviations

Medical terms tend to be very long, and medical phrases to describe what is going on with the body or needs to happen to the body are even longer. The amount of space in a file that would be taken up if full terms were always used is enormous! Luckily, it was decided that abbreviations should be used for some of the most common medical phrases to make communication much quicker and often times easier.

Abbreviations are case sensitive, so it is important to note which letters are capital and which ones are lowercase. There are times when the same letters are used, but the meaning is different depending upon the case of the different letters. We are now going to learn the abbreviations that begin with the letters D - I. Notice there aren't any common abbreviations that begin with the letter J.

Abbreviations Starting with D

d is the letter used to indicate days. It is usually seen in conjunction with other letters to let you know how many times a day or how many days to do something.

D&C is the abbreviation for dilation and curettage. This will normally be found in doctor's orders or notated as a procedure that was done on a female patient.

The abbreviation D.A.W. informs a pharmacist to dispense as written, meaning to not use alternatives or generic forms of a medication. In other words, no changes should be made to a prescription.

The disease diabetes insipidus is abbreviated as DI. You will normally see this in a patient's chart as part of a diagnosis.

Another similar abbreviation is DM, which is short for diabetes mellitus. This will also normally appear in a patient's chart as part of a diagnosis.

DNR lets you know that a person has a do not resuscitate order. This is normally denoted in a chart, especially for a person that is terminally ill.

DOA is short for dead on arrival. This is mostly noted in a patient's chart or ER summary when a person arrives to the hospital and they are dead when they get there.

The abbreviation DOS informs others that something should happen or not happen on the day of surgery.

Dx is used to mean diagnosis. This is seen in a patient's chart where the doctor will put whatever is wrong with the patient.

Abbreviations Starting with E

ECG and EKG are used interchangeably as the abbreviations for electrocardiogram, which is a record of the heart's electrical activity. This will normally appear in doctor's orders or as part of a doctor's report or summary.

The abbreviation for Escherichia coli is E. coli. This is usually seen in a chart as part of a diagnosis for a patient that has an E. coli infection.

EDC is short for estimated date of confinement, which is the calculation of the date a baby is expected to be born.

Emergency medical services is abbreviated as EMS. This is usually seen in a patient's chart to show how they arrived at the hospital if they came by ambulance.

There are times when a medication or other activity should take place every other day. This is denoted with the abbreviation eod. This is normally seen in prescriptions or doctor's orders.

Abbreviations Starting with F

There is only one really commonly used abbreviation that starts with the letter F.

FUO means fever of undetermined origin. This is usually noted in a patient's chart when a patient has a fever, but the reason for the fever wasn't found during examination.

Abbreviations Starting with G

gt is the abbreviation that means drop, while gtt is the abbreviation that means drops. This is normally associated with administering medications in small amounts or to the eyes and/or ears.

The specialized field of gynecology is abbreviated as GYN. This is usually seen in a female patient's chart to show which doctor did certain exams or for referral purposes.

Abbreviations Starting with H

h is short for hour, and it is usually seen with other letters to make an abbreviation, letting you know during which hours something should happen.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account