Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Medical Acronymony

Have you ever tried to read a doctors handwriting? It's an impossible task. A scrawling jumble of lower case letters often in a flourishing script, and written with fountain pen. Beautiful, flowing, and containing no decipherable information, the doctors note is a centre piece of medical record keeping.
As medical science has become more complex the need to actually convey more information than this traditional medical graffiti is capable of has arisen. The result is the rise of the medical acronym, or medcronym. A string of uppercase letters meant to convey a wealth of information. Doctors have gravitated to medcronyms. They are efficient and easy to write (since your average doctor is able to print in upper case letters in a legible fashion), although at times their meanings are still ellusive...

HTN and DMII are on the rise, and right behind them are epidemics of CAD and CVD. People are still smoking (some as much as 3 PPD) and still getting COPD. RAD is more common than ever before. It all makes sorting out those patients in the ED with CP or SOB very difficult! What's their PEF? Have they even had PFT's? Can you see their JVP? Can we get a CK and an ECG, oh and a BS (people always forget to check that!), and better start an IV.

If you do have CVD you might be at risk for a CVA, and if you have any symptoms of a TIA you should go to the hospital because that can be the first warning. Hope you remembered to take your ECASA! Well, unless you have an SAH, then it might complicate things. If we can't figure out the situation we'll have to arrange an MRI or a CT, and probably do an LP (ow!). If you start to get worse and your LOC declines, don't worry, we're all ready for RSI.

Did we consider all of the possibilities? What about DKA? Does this patient have IDDM? (Hope we checked that BS.) Better to be safe than sorry, let's do an ABG, and put in an IJ.

If your kidneys aren't working well we'll have to check your CRE. Do you take an ACEi or an ARB? It's sometimes hard to sort out ARF from CRF, but if you are looking sick I might assume you have ATN (until we figure it all out). Then again, maybe it's something chronic, like SLE or one of the other CTD's. Were you ever diagnosed with JRA as a child? If you do have ESRD you might have to go on PD (but I'm not saying you have a PD!).

With so many diseases it's no wonder so many people have MDE! It's a known fact that it occurs more frequently in CHF patients. Still, better be careful and take a good history, it's easy to confuse with BAD, GAD or SAD.

Pregnant women are getting PIH and PPH these days. If a new baby is breathing too quickly I always hope it's just TTN and not CHD!

If you come to the hospital with too many of these acronyms attached we'll have to have a discussion about DNR, in case you need CPR, or end up in the ICU.

It's all enough to make your head spin. How is an RN or an MD to keep it all straight? Sigh....It'll be okay, for now I'll just write down NYD.


Couz said...

Damn. My head hurts from reading that. :-)

Way Way Up said...

Too funny! I think I'm going to need CPR too!

jennifer said...

Wow! As a fellow blogger, I give you some serious kudos for all the time and concentration that post took. All those links!!
Well done...and very interesting too!

Anonymous said...