Tuesday, May 16, 2017


One of the hard things about going from my pre-clinical years in med school to working on the wards was getting used to all the freaking abbreviations.  I remember my first medicine signout sheet looked like gibberish to me.

These days, I'd like to think I know MOST medical abbreviations.  But sometimes I'll get a discharge summary on a patient that makes me think that whoever dictated it got a little too abbreviation-happy.

These are all from a recent discharge summary:


I literally had no idea what any of these things meant.  Is it just me?


  1. Certain abbreviations are more common among certain types of practitioners
    Best guesses:
    ECD- endocardial cushion defect
    DDKT - Deceased Donor Kidney Transplant
    LTBI - Latent Tuberculosis Infection?

    1. ECD was something else. It was all the same patient, if that helps :-)

    2. external carotid doppler?
      Misspelled ECG?
      I've got nothing

  2. Here in Ireland our national health provider (HSE) has an approved list of abbreviations and shorthand. None of these three feature on our quite extensive list. Use of abbreviations outside this list is officially considered poor clinical practice and doctors can be pulled up on it.

  3. Clearly they are not in the approved abbreviation list!

  4. That's the case in many professions. In the US Army, they like to make a lot of acronyms as well as abbreviations.

  5. I recognize DDKT and LTBI (admittedly they should not be used as they are not "approved" shorthand) but not ECD.

  6. I had a real b***h of a lecturer that used to make up her own abbreviations. Some of her slides looked like a cat had been pouncing on the keyboard. She said that by having to look them up we "broadened and deepened our knowledge and understanding." Except you couldn't look them up, because she'd made them up.

  7. ECD = Extended Criteria Donor. This means they got the kidney from a donor that didn't meet "perfect" criteria.