Common Medical Abbreviations K - O

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  • 0:31 Abbreviations Starting With K
  • 1:31 Abbreviations Starting With L
  • 3:50 Abbreviations Starting With M
  • 6:02 Abbreviations Starting With N
  • 7:38 Abbreviations Starting With O
  • 9:19 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Adrianne Baron

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

This lesson will cover some of the most commonly used medical abbreviations that begin with the letters K-O. We will look at some explanations for how the abbreviations are used as well.

Medical Abbreviations

Medical abbreviations are used regularly in medical terminology. This is due to the fact that the majority of medical terms and phrases are rather long.

The abbreviations provide a quicker and often easier way to communicate medical information to another person. The abbreviations may look strange to you until you study them and learn what they mean. Soon, you'll be able to understand what your prescriptions and other doctor's orders mean for yourself. Keep in mind that all abbreviations are case sensitive in order to distinguish one abbreviation from a similar one.

Abbreviations Starting with K

There are only a few abbreviations that start with the letter 'K'. Let's go ahead and knock those out real quick.

K is the abbreviation for potassium. If you recall from learning about chemicals on the periodic table, this is the same symbol that is used in chemistry for potassium. This abbreviation is likely to appear on a lab report after a patient had their blood drawn to check the levels of different substances in the blood.

A similar abbreviation is KCl, meaning potassium chloride. This will show up in prescriptions or orders to help elevate potassium levels in the blood.

KUB means kidneys, ureters, and bladder. This is normally found in a doctor's orders for what they want to have done on a patient. This indicates that a patient needs an X-ray of the kidneys, ureters, and bladder.

Abbreviations Starting with L

Now that we've knocked 'K' out, let's take a look at terms that use the letter 'L' for abbreviations.

The letter L is used as an abbreviation for 'left'. This can be followed by other letters to specify the left of what structure. We'll see this in some of the other abbreviations for this letter.

LBP is short for lower back pain. This is usually seen in the area of the patient chart where the healthcare worker writes down the chief complaints or reasons for a doctor's visit. It is useful because it tells what part of the back the pain is located in.

The disease commonly referred to as lupus is abbreviated as LE, which is short for lupus erythematosus. This will appear as part of a diagnosis in the patient chart or as part of the patient's medical history.

When you see LLL, this lets you know something is happening with the left lower lobe of the lungs. This can be a part of a diagnosis or doctor's orders.

LLQ is the abbreviation for left lower quadrant. This refers to the lower left quarter of the abdominal region. LLQ normally appears to describe where a patient feels pain or for doctor's orders for things like X-rays.

If you are a female of reproductive age, then you probably recall the nurse asking you when was your last menstrual period, which is abbreviated as LMP. This will appear in a patient history section of the patient chart.

LOC is used to express a person's level of consciousness. This is most commonly seen in the patient chart in the area for the doctor's observations.

One level of nursing is the LPN. This abbreviation means licensed practical nurse. The LPN is the nurse below the RN or head nurse.

The left upper lobe of the lungs is abbreviated as LUL. This will appear in the same ways as the LLL.

LUQ indicates the left upper quadrant of the abdominal region and is used just like LLQ.

Lytes is short for the electrolytes, which are potassium, sodium, calcium, and bicarbonate. These are chemicals that are found in your blood that must be maintained within a certain balance for proper body functioning.

Abbreviations Starting with M

There are an enormous amount of abbreviations that begin with the letter 'M', so we are only going to hit the most commonly used ones.

MBT is short for maternal blood type. This is noted when a woman is pregnant in order to check for any possible blood mismatch interactions between the mom and fetus.

An MI is a myocardial infarction, which most people refer to as a heart attack. This would appear as part of the diagnosis or patient history in the patient chart.

mL means the same thing in medical abbreviations as it does normally. It means milliliters. mL is seen as part of a prescription or other doctor's order.

A very common vaccine is abbreviated as MMR, which means measles, mumps, and rubella. It is a combo vaccine that protects against all three of these diseases. It is normally seen on the vaccine schedule or notated in a patient's history.

There are times when doctors will want to get a more detailed view of some internal part of the body and to do this, they order an MRI. MRI is short for magnetic resonance imaging.

A lot of concern has been raised in recent years about a specific strain of bacteria that is referred to as MRSA, meaning methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. The abbreviation for this may be part of the diagnosis, patient history, or notated on a patient's door if they are hospitalized with the disease.

MS is the abbreviation for the condition multiple sclerosis. Since it is a condition, it would also appear as part of a diagnosis or in the patient history area of the patient chart.

MVA is short for motor vehicle accident, which is normally seen in the notes when a patient is brought into the ER due to being in an accident.

MVP stands for mitral valve prolapse, which is a fairly commonly diagnosed heart condition. It will appear in the diagnosis or patient history.

Abbreviations Starting with N

Just like the 'M' abbreviations, there are a ton of 'N' abbreviations. Let's take a look at a few of the most commonly used.

The medical abbreviation for sodium is the same as it is in chemistry, which is Na. Once again, this is one of the electrolytes of the blood.

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