A commonly used suffix is -itis, which means “.” National EMS Standard When this suffix is paired with the prefix arthro-, meaning Competencies , the resulting word is , an inflammation of the . Sometimes it is necessary to change the last let- Medical Terminology ter or letters of the word or prefix when a suffix is Uses foundational anatomical and medical terms and abbreviations in added to make pronunciation easier. lists common written and oral with colleagues and other care suffixes. professionals.

Root Words Medical Terminology 6 6 The main part or stem of a word is called a root word. A root It is critical that you have a strong working knowledge of medical word conveys the essential meaning of the word and frequently terminology. The of is primarily derived from indicates a part. With a combining form, the root word Greek and . Medical terminology is used in international and a combining vowel such as i, e, o, or a may be combined language, and it is also necessary for communicating with other with another root word, a prefi x, or a suffi x to describe a medical personnel. The wider your vocabulary , the more particular or condition. competent you seem to the rest of the medical and A frequently used term in EMS is CPR, which stands for the better the care you will be able to provide. Under- cardiopulmonary . When we break it down, cardio standing terminology involves words down into their is a root word meaning “,” and pulmonary is a root word separate components of prefi x, suffi x, and root word and having meaning “.” By performing CPR we introduce air into the a good working knowledge of those parts. lungs and circulate by compressing the heart to resusci- tate the patient. Some root words may also be used as prefi xes or suffi xes; those already appear in the earlier tables. lists Prefi xes 6 common root words. A prefi x appears at the beginning of a word and generally describes location and intensity. Prefi xes are frequently found in Abbreviations general language (ie, autopilot, submarine, tricycle), as as in 6 medical and scientifi c terminology. When a medical word (ven- Abbreviations take the place of words to shorten notes or doc- tilation) contains a prefi x (hyper), the meaning of the word is umentation. When you are using abbreviations in patient care altered (). Not all medical terms have prefi xes. reports, remember to use only standard, accepted abbreviations By to recognize a few of the more commonly used to avoid and errors. lists commonly used medical prefi xes, you can fi gure out the meanings of terms that abbreviations. This list is intended to help you decipher docu- may not be immediately familiar to you. lists common ments written by other professionals. Before using prefi xes. any abbreviations in your own reports, you should be familiar with accepted use of abbreviations in your local jurisdiction or service area. 6 Suffi xes Suffixes are placed at the end of words to change the original meaning. In medical terminology, a suffix usually indi- cates a procedure, condition, , or part of .

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Table A-1 Common Prefi xes

Prefi x Meaning Prefi x Meaning Prefi x Meaning a- without, lack of (o)- pertaining to the bladder or inter- between any fl uid-containing sac ab- away from cyt(o)- pertaining to a intra- within abdomi(n)- de- down from iso- equal acr(o)- pertaining to an extremity dermat(o)- pertaining to the latero- side ad- to, toward di- twice, double leuk(o)- pertaining to anything white or to leukocytes (white blood cells) aden(o)- pertaining to a dia- through, completely lith(o)- pertaining to a stone an- without, lack of dys- diffi cult, painful, abnormal macro- large ana- up, , again ect(o)- out from mal- bad or abnormal angio- vessel electro- pertaining to medi- middle ante- before, forward end(o)- within mega- large anti- against, opposed to enter(o)- pertaining to the intestines melan- black arteri(o)- epi- upon, on mening(o)- pertaining to a membrane, particularly the arthro- pertaining to a joint erythr(o)- pertaining to anything red micro- small or to erythrocytes (red blood cells) auto- self eu- easy, good, normal mono- one bi- two ex(o)- outside myel(o)- pertaining to the , the marrow, or bi(o)- pertaining to extra- outside, in addition my(o)- pertaining to muscle blast(o)- germ or cell gastr(o)- pertaining to the nas(o)- pertaining to the blephar(o)- pertaining to an glyc(o)- ne(o)- new brady- slow gynec(o)- pertaining to females or the nephr(o)- pertaining to the female reproductive organs calc- stone; also hemat(o)- pertaining to blood neur(o)- pertaining to a or the cardi(o)- pertaining to the heart hemi- half noct- night cephal(o)- pertaining to the hem(o)- pertaining to blood olig(o)- little, defi cient cerebr(o)- pertaining to the , hepat(o)- pertaining to the oophor(o)- pertaining to the a part of the cervic(o)- pertaining to the or heter- other, different ophthalm(o)- pertaining to the the uterine chole- pertaining to hom- same or like orchid(o)- pertaining to the chondr(o)- pertaining to hydr(o)- orchi(o)- pertaining to the testicles circum- around, about hyper- over, excessive oro- pertaining to the contra- against, opposite hypo- under, defi cient ortho- straight or normal cost(o)- pertaining to a hyster(o)- pertaining to the oste(o)- pertaining to bone cyan(o)- blue infra- below ot(o)- pertaining to the continues

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Table A-1 Common Prefi xes, continued Prefi x Meaning Prefi x Meaning Prefi x Meaning para- by the side of pseud(o)- false semi- half or partial

path(o)- pertaining to disease psych(o)- pertaining to the sub- under, moderately per- through pulm(o)- pertaining to the super- above, excessive, or more than normal peri- around pur- pertaining to supra- above phag(o)- pertaining to , pyel(o)- pertaining to the kidney tachy- fast ingesting, or engulfi ng or pharyng(o)- pertaining to the , py(o)- pertaining to pus therm- pertaining to or phleb(o)- pertaining to a quadr(i)- four thorac(o)- pertaining to the chest pneum(o)- pertaining to , quar- four trans- across the lungs, or air poly- many quat- four tri- three post- after, behind retr(o)- backward or behind uni- one pre- before rhin(o)- pertaining to the nose vas(o)- vessel pro- before, in front of salping(o)- pertaining to a tube proct(o)- pertaining to the scler(o)- hard; also means pertaining to the

Table A-2 Common Suffi xes

Suffi x Meaning Suffi x Meaning Suffi x Meaning -algia pertaining to -emia pertaining to the presence -ology of of a substance in the blood -asthen(o) -genic causing -oma tumor -blast immature cell -gram record -osis pertaining to a disease (see also -sis) -cele pertaining to a tumor -graph a record or the instrument -ostomy surgical creation of an opening, or swelling used to create the record or hole -centesis pertaining to a -itis infl ammation -otomy procedure in which an or is punctured, often to excess fl uid or obtain a sample for analysis -cyte cell - decline, disintegration, or -pathy disease or a system for treating destruction disease -ectomy surgical removal of -megaly enlargement of -phagia pertaining to eating or continues

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Table A-2 Common Suffi xes, continued Suffi x Meaning Suffi x Meaning Suffi x Meaning -phasia pertaining to speech -rrhage abnormal or excessive -sis a process, action, or condition fl ow or discharge - pertaining to an -rrhagia abnormal or excessive -taxis order, arrangement of irrational fl ow or discharge -plasty -rrhaphy of; repair of -trophic pertaining to -plegia -rrhea fl ow or discharge -uria pertaining to a substance in the or the condition so indicated -pnea pertaining to -scope instrument for examination - drooping -scopy examination with an instrument

Table A-3 Common Root Words

Root Word Meaning Root Word Meaning Root Word Meaning acou- hear carotid great of the neck gest- carry, produce, congestion adip- carpus gno- know alb- white cent- a fraction in the metric -gram something written or recorded system; one hundredth or 100 alges- pain cente- to puncture (a body graph- write, record cavity) andr- male cili- eyelid the bone in the upper large artery exiting from cleid(o)- idi- separate, distinct the left of the heart aqua- water cubitus iod(o)- lack of or excess cycl- circle or cycle lact- milk of dioxide in the body that results in unconsciousness asthen- weak fi nger or lingu- audi- to hear ede- swelling men- month bronch- windpipe -esthesi(o)- pertaining to sensation ocul- eye or bucc- febr- ov- bursa or sac fl ex bend palpate to examine by touch hard, thick skin; also a opening ped- child or meshwork of connective that forms during the process after a fracture carcin- fract- break percuss to examine by striking continues

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Table A-3 Common Root Words, continued Root Word Meaning Root Word Meaning Root Word Meaning phot- the presence of tom- cut or their in the blood; also the toxic condition caused by such presence pleur- rib, side sept- wall, divider; also seven toxic poisonous pod- foot the clear portion of body fl uids, trich- including blood pto- fall cavity, channel, or hollow space ur- urine ptyal- som(a)- body varic- varicose vein pyr- fi re spir- coil a disordered sensation in which one’s own body or the surroundings are perceived as moving the bone on the stasis slowing or stopping of the normal viscer- internal organs side; also a line fl ow of a fl uid, such as blood from the center of a circle or sphere to the edge ren- kidney stature height viscous sticky inner nerve-containing stern(o)- (breastbone) xen- foreign (material) layer of the eye sangui(n)- blood any small opening on the surface of xer- dry the body, such as a pore; also, the opening created in the for the passage of urine or sebum a fatty of the tact- touch sebaceous sect- cut tetra- four

Table A-4 Common Abbreviations*

*Sometimes abbreviations are written with periods (for example, abd. and a.c.), and sometimes different capitalization might be used and might convey a different meaning. Not all possible meanings for the abbreviations in this table are given here. Unless you are certain about the meaning, ask the person who used the abbreviation.

Abbreviation Meaning Abbreviation Meaning Abbreviation Meaning A&P anatomy and ACLS advanced cardiac AK above the a– before ad lib as much as desired AKA above the knee aa–– of each (used ADL activity of daily living A-line in writing prescriptions) abd abdomen AED automated external defi brillator AMA against medical advice ABG gas AF atrial fi brillation amb ambulatory ac before meals AIDS acquired immunodefi ciency AMI myocardial continues

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Table A-4 Common Abbreviations, continued Abbreviation Meaning Abbreviation Meaning Abbreviation Meaning AMS altered mental status CABG coronary artery bypass CVP central venous anterior CAD CXR chest x-ray AO × 4 alert and oriented to person, CBC D&C place, , and self AP anteroposterior, front-to- cc cubic centimeter D/C discontinue back, , pectoris, , arterial pressure APC atrial premature complex, CC or C/C diff differential activated C, - phenacetin- Aq water CCU dig ARDS adult respiratory distress CHF congestive DM mellitus syndrome ASA aspirin (acetylsalicylic ) Cl— chloride DOA dead on arrival ASAP as soon as possible cm centimeter DOE dyspnea on exertion ASHD arteriosclerotic or cm3 cubic centimeter DON director of atherosclerotic heart disease AV, A-V atrioventricular, arteriovenous CNS DOS dead on scene BBB bundle branch block c/o complaining of DPT , pertussis, and bid twice daily CO , carbon DSD dry sterile monoxide

BKA below the knee amputation CO2 DtaP diphtheria, tetanus toxoids, and acellular BM bowel movement chronic obstructive DTP diphtheria, tetanus lung disease toxoids, and pertussis vaccine BP COPD chronic obstructive DTs tremens pulmonary disease BS blood sugar, breath , CP , chemically DVT deep venous bowel sounds, bachelor of pure, science (degree)

BSA CPR cardiopulmonary D5W dextrose 5% in water resuscitation bx CRNA certifi ed registered Dx diagnosis c– with CRT refi ll time, ECG electrocardiogram cathode-ray tube °C degrees Celsius (centigrade) CSF cerebrospinal fl uid ED Ca CSM carotid sinus , EDC estimated date of cerebrospinal confi nement CA cancer, , CVA cerebrovascular EEG electroencephalogram chronologic age, coronary accident artery, cold agglutinin continues

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Table A-4 Common Abbreviations, continued Abbreviation Meaning Abbreviation Meaning Abbreviation Meaning eg for example h hour JVD jugular venous distention EKG electrocardiogram (H) hypodermic K+ ENT , nose, and throat H hypodermic KCl ER emergency room H&H and kg kilogram hematocrit ET endotracheal tube, H&P and physical KUB kidneys, , and bladder endotracheal ETA estimated time of arrival H/A KVO keep vein open ETOH ethyl Hb hemoglobin L liter ETT endotracheal tube Hct hematocrit LAC laceration, laparoscopic- assisted °F degrees Fahrenheit Hg mercury lb pound

IO F 2 fraction of inspired Hgb hemoglobin LE lower extremity, left eye, oxygen erythematosus FBS blood sugar HH hiatal LLL left lower of the lung Fe HIV LLQ left lower quadrant of the immunodefi ciency abdomen

FHR fetal H2O water L/M liters per minute

FHT fetal heart tones H2O2 LMP last menstrual FHx family history HPI history of present LOC level of , loss of illness consciousness fL femtoliter hr hour LPM liters per minute fl fl uid hs at bedtime LPN fl dfl uid HTN LR lactated Ringer’s FSH follicle-stimulating Hx history LSD lysergic acid diethylamide fx fracture Hz LUL left upper lobe of the lung g gram I&O intake and output LUQ left upper quadrant of the abdomen GB IC intracardiac, LVN licensed vocational nurse inspiratory capacity, irritable colon GI gastrointestinal ICP m meter gm gram ICU MAE moves all extremities gr grain IDDM -dependent MAEW moves all extremities well diabetes mellitus GSW gunshot IM intramuscular MAP gtt drop(s) IO intraosseous mcg microgram GTT tolerance IPPB intermittent positive MCL midclavicular line, modifi ed pressure breathing chest lead GU genitourinary IUD intrauterine mEq milliequivalent (contraceptive) device gyn gynecology IV intravenous mg milligram (mgm is a former symbol) continues

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Table A-4 Common Abbreviations, continued Abbreviation Meaning Abbreviation Meaning Abbreviation Meaning MI NKDA no known PE pulmonary , MICU mobile intensive care unit; NPA PEA pulseless electrical activity medical intensive care unit min minute NPO nil per os (nothing by PEARL equal and reactive mouth) to light mL milliliter NS normal ped(s) pediatric

mm millimeter NSR normal PEEP positive end-expiratory pressure mm Hg millimeters of mercury NTG PERL pupils equal and reactive to light MRI magnetic resonance N/V and PERRL pupils equal, round, and imaging reactive to light MS sulfate, multiple N/V/D nausea, vomiting, and pH hydrogen sclerosis concentration

MSO4 morphine sulfate NVD neck vein distention PID pelvic infl ammatory disease

MVA motor accident O2 oxygen PND paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea MVC motor vehicle crash OB po per os (by mouth) MVP OBS PO postoperative, “post op”

O N normal OD overdose, right eye, P 2 partial pressure of oxygen optical density, outside diameter, of optometry Na OP outpatient PRN pro re nata (as needed) NA, N/A not applicable OPA psi pounds per square inch NaCl sodium chloride OR operating room PSVT paroxysmal supraventricular NAD no apparent distress, no OS left eye pt patient appreciable disease

CO NaH 3 sodium OU both PT physical NC nasal oz ounce PTA prior to admission, plasma thromboplastin antecedent NG nasogastric p– after PTT partial thromboplastin time NICU neonatal intensive care unit pc after meals PVC premature ventricular complex, polyvinyl chloride

CO NIDDM non–insulin-dependent P 2 partial pressure of PVD peripheral diabetes mellitus carbon dioxide NKA no known allergies PDR ' Desk q every Reference continues

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Table A-4 Common Abbreviations, continued Abbreviation Meaning Abbreviation Meaning Abbreviation Meaning qd every day stat immediately WBC white qh every hour STD sexually transmitted WNL within normal limits disease qid four a day Sub Q subcutaneous w/o without qod every other day SVT supraventricular wt tachycardia RA , Sx symptoms yo year old right RAD , sym symptoms x– except right deviation RBC tab 1° fi rst, fi rst degree, primary Rh Rhesus blood factor, TB 2° secondary, second degree rhodium RHD rheumatic heart disease TBA to be admitted, to be ↑ increase(d) announced RL Ringer’s lactate tbsp tablespoon ↓ decrease(d) RLL right lower lobe of the tech technician, Ø no, not, none lung technologist RLQ right lower quadrant of TIA transient ischemic ® right the abdomen attack

RN registered nurse tid three times a day L left R/O rule out TKO to keep open ␮ micro ROM range of , rupture TPR temperature, , ␣ alpha of membranes respiration RUL right upper lobe of the tsp teaspoon ␤ beta lung RUQ right upper quadrant of Tx treatment ∼ approximately the abdomen Rx prescription U unit ϫ2 times two s– without UA urinalysis / per SC subcutaneous, secretory UE upper extremity  not equal component SICU surgical intensive care URI upper respiratory Ͼ greater than unit SIDS sudden USP Ͻ less than syndrome Pharmacopeia SL sublingual UTI ? questionable, possible SOB VD venereal disease ⌬ change SQ subcutaneous vol volume Ϫ negative ss half VS vital Θ female S/S w/ with Η male

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