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Acronyms;  Abbreviations;  And A few Definitions Used In Lung Disease

When you're newly diagnosed, seeking info on the net, or listening to the medical professionals use certain terms or abbreviations,  or even checking out COPD forums, some of the terms  used/discussed can be confusing.  The list below, though certainly not all inclusive, will help you to put a "name" to the medical abbreviations used.  Beneath these you will find the meanings to a few words you will/or have, heard over time.

At the very bottom of the page several links are supplied to medical dictionaries where you can check the meanings of many more.

What Does It Stand For?



A1AD -  Alpha1 Antitrypsin Deficiency Emphysema

ABG -   Arterial Blood Gas

AO -     Airway or Airflow Obstruction

ARDS - Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (or Adult)

ATRA - All-Trans Retinoic Acid



BiPAP - Bi Level Positive Airway Pressure

BP - Blood Pressure

BPD - Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia

Bx - Biopsy



CF- Cystic Fibrosis

CB - Chronic Bronchitis

CCS - Cortisteroids

CHF - Congestive Heart Failure

CLRD - Chronic Lung Disease

CO - Carbon Monoxide

CO2 - Carbon Dioxide

COAD - Chronic Obstructive Airway Disease

COLD - Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease

COPD - Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

CORD - Chronic Obstructive Respiratory Disease

CPAP - Continuous Positive Airway Pressure

CPR - Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation

CT - Computerized Tomography

CXR - Chest X Ray



DAD - Diffuse Alveolar Damage

DLCO - Diffusing Capacity of Carbon Monoxide

DNI - Do Not Intubate

DNR - Do Not Resuscitate

DOE - Dyspnea on Exertion

DPI - Dry Powder Inhaler

Dx - Diagnosis



ECG or EKG - Electrocardiogram

ECHO - Echocardiogram

ERV - Expiratory Reserve Volume

ET - Endottracheal Tube



FEF - Forced Expiratory Flow

FEFMAX - Maximum Forced Expiratory Flow

FEV - Forced Expiratory Volume

FEV1 - Forced Expiratory Volume in 1 Second

FIF - Forced Inspiratory Flow

FVC - Forced Vital Capacity



GERD - Gastro esophagal Reflux Disease

GI - Gastrointestinal



HAPE - High Altitude Pulmonary Edema

HR - Heart Rate

HRCT - High Resolution CT Scan

HSP - Hypersensitivity Pneumonia



IC - Inspiratory Capacity

ICU - Intensive Care Unit

IMT - Inspiratory Muscle Trainer

ILD - Interstitial Lung Disease

IPF - Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

IRV - Inspiratory Reserve Volume

IVC - Inspired Vital Capacity



LOX - Liquid Oxygen

LPM - Litres Per Minute

LRI - Lower Respiratory Tract Infection

LVRS - Lung Volume Reduction Surgery



MCS - Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

MEP - Maximal Expiratory Pressure

MDI - Metered Dose Inhaler

MIP - Maximal Inspiratory Pressure

MRI - Magnetic Resonance Imaging

MRV - Maximal Voluntary Ventilation



NC - Nasal Cannula

NETT - National Emphysema Treatment Trial

NPPV - Noninvasive Positive Pressure Ventilation

NSAID - Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drug



O2 - Oxygen

OLB - Open Lung Biopsy

OLD - Obstructive or Occupational Lung Disease

OSA - Obstructive Sleep Apnea

OTC - Over the Counter



PAP - Positive Airway Pressure

PCO2 - Partial Pressure of Carbon Dioxide

PDI - Powdered Dose Inhaler

PE - Pulmonary Edema or Physical Exam or Pulmonary Embolism

PEP - Positive Expiratory Pressure

PEEP - Positive End Expiratory Pressure

PEF - Peak Expiratory Flow

PEP - Positive Expiratory Pressure

PF - Pulmonary Fibrosis

PFM - Peak Flow Meter

PH - Pulmonary Hypertension

PFT - Pulmonary Function Test

pH - Measurement of Blood Alkalinity or Acidity

PI - Pulmonary Insufficiency

PLB - Pursed Lip Breathing

PaO2 - Oxygen Tension in Arterial Blood

PPH - Primary Pulmonary Hypertension

PPV - Positive Pressure Ventilation

PR - Pulmonary Rehabilitation

PSV - Pressure Support Ventilation

PTX - Pneumothorax



QOL - Quality of Life



RAD - Reactive Airway Disease

RDS - Respiratory Distress Syndrome

RT- Respiratory Therapist (or Therapy)

RRT - Registered Respiratory Therapist

RV - Residual Volume

Rx - Prescription, Therapy or Treatment



SAD - Small Airways Disease

SaO2 - Arterial Blood Saturation

SATS - Refers to Oxygen Saturation

SOB - Short of Breath

SvO2 - Venus Blood Oxygen Saturation

Sx - Symptoms



TLC - Total Lung Capacity

TTO - Transtracheal Oxygen

TV -   Tidal Volume

TX -  Transplant (also XP)



URI - Upper Respiratory Infection



VC - Vital Capacity

VQ - Ventilation Perfusion Scan 


   WHAT IS?   (in simple speak)                                                       



Aveloi - Tiny air sacs found at the end of the smallest airways where oxygen and carbon dioxide is exchanged.

Anti Inflammatory - A medicine or drug used to help fight inflammation

Arterial Blood Gas (ABG):  A blood test that measures the level of oxygen, and carbon dioxide in the blood.



Bi Level Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP):  A small non-invasive breathing machine, using two pressure levels, inspiration and expiration, to help with breathing. It's  connected to tubing and a facemask which is worn by the patient.


Body Box (another name for Plethysmograph) - A clear, airtight  chamber (resembling a telephone booth or helicopter) which you sit in and perform breathing tests (PFT's)


Bronchodilator Medicines that are  used to help relax the muscle areas of the airways thus helping to increase the flow of air. 


BronchospasmThe tightening of the areas of muscles surrounding the airways which in turn causes these same airways to become narrower. Shortness of breath and/or wheezing may ensue.



Carbon  Dioxide:  An odorless and colorless gas, naturally produced in the body's tissues,  which is exchanged in the lungs with oxygen and removed.


Chronic Bronchitis - There must be a productive cough for most days over 3 months for at least 2 years in a row.


Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP):  A machine that assists with breathing by using pressure to keep the airways open.


Cor pulmonale:  When the right side of the heart is weakened and enlarges  thus causing more shortness of breath and leg and foot swelling.  This can happen with low oxygen levels.



Diaphragm and Diaphragmatic Breathing :  The diaphragm is located just under the lungs and can be very effective for breathing.  It uses less effort and energy than the upper body.


 (DLCO):  A measurement which shows how much oxygen is carried or transferred into your blood stream.


Diuretic: A type of medicine used to help increase the output of water from the body.


Dry Powdered Inhaler:   A device that uses "dry powder" in an inhaler.


Dyspnea:  Being short of breath



Edema:  Swelling/fluid retention


Electrocardiogram (EKG aka ECG): A printout from an ECG machine that follows/charts the electrical activity of the heart.


Exacerbation A flare up and/or worsening of a disease or condition



Forced Vital Capacity (FVC):

The maximum amount of air you can exhale


FEV1 -  

the maximum amount you can exhale in 1 second



GERDGastroesophageal Reflux Disease.  A condition whereby the stomach "backs up" or "regurgitates" into the esophagus.



Hypoxemia - Low blood oxygen level




Unknown Origin




A procedure whereby part of the lung (a lobe) is removed



Lung Volume Reduction Surgery (LVRS):

A procedure whereby diseased portions of the lung is removed to make way, or provide room for, parts of the lung(s) that are still healthy.



Normal Saline :A solution made of salt and water



Pulmonary Function Test (PFT): A breathing test (more thorough than Spirometry)  which shows the lungs functionability.


Pulse Ox A device  that measures your heart rate and the amount of oxygen in your blood


Pursed Lip Breathing: A method to assist in breathing and reduce shortness of breath (SOB)



Residual Volume:  The amount of air trapped or unable to expel.



Sleep Apnea A sleep disorder whereby a person's breathing stops for a short period of time.  This "non breathing period" usually lasts between 10 and 20 seconds and can occur 20 - 30 in an hour.


Spirometry: A non invasive test which measures lung function.


Stenosis:  Narrowing



Transtracheal Oxygen Therapy (TTO):

 A method to deliver oxygen by a small tube which is surgically inserted into the lower neck.  (Some people prefer this over the nose tube)



Ventilator:   (also known as a respirator) A ventilator is an automatic  machine which mechanically assists patients to breathe when they cannot breathe on their own.


For additional meanings and information, please visit....


Cleveland Clinic Health System Glossary of COPD Terms



This page was last  last updated August 7th, 2013



































































































































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