emt acronyms

100+ Common EMT Acronyms You Need To Know

Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel are frequently the first responders to someone in a life-threatening situation. As a result, they must be able to communicate a large amount of information to doctors in a short period of time. In this article, we’ve compiled a lot of EMT acronyms for you to check and learn.

Updated at May 6, 2022

Many EMT acronyms are used in emergency medical services to make procedures easier to remember for medical professionals. In this blog, we’ll show you the most frequently used acronyms. 

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Basic EMT acronyms

emt acronyms


Airway/ Breathing/ Circulation/ Disability/ Exposure

After determining that the scene is safe, the first step in the physical evaluation will be to verify your ABCDEs. This is an acronym that lists everything you should verify and maintain first.


Body – Substance – Isolation

This is used as a precaution for EMS professionals to shield and isolate themselves from bodily fluids such as blood, urine, and feces when administering medical care. BSI should be worn before every call, and depending on the nature of the call, may involve gloves, eye protection, a facemask, and a gown.

SAMPLE EMS acronym (History)

Symptoms/ Allergies/ Medications/ Past medical history/ Last oral intake/ Events

SAMPLE history is an abbreviation that helps you remember what questions to ask during your patient assessment. This sample medical acronym is the best standard for a patient’s subjective history, and it’s included in the state exam’s medical and trauma checklist. It’s designed to walk you through a thorough interview with the patient so you can learn more about what caused the patient’s illness.


Onset: When did the pain begin? Was it gradual or abrupt?

Provocation: Is there anything that makes the pain seem better or worse?

Quality: Can you explain the pain?

Radiate: Where is your anguish, Radiate? Is it able to travel to other parts of your body?

Severity: On a scale of one to ten, how severe is your pain?

Time: How long have you been suffering from the pain?

During an acute illness, this acronym is frequently used in conjunction with the SAMPLE acronym medical as a guide for asking questions about a patient’s symptoms, particularly pain. It’s an excellent acronym for learning about a person’s subjective history of the chest or abdominal pain. Each inquiry should be asked in order to gain a better knowledge of the symptoms of the patient.


AEIOU: Alcohol- Epilepsy – Infection – Opiates – Uremia

TIPS: Trauma – Insulin – Poisoning – Strokes

This is an abbreviation for the various reasons why someone could be unconscious or have a different state of consciousness. It’s critical to remember this list so you can start ruling them out as you conduct your assessment until you locate the source of the problem and can cure it.


Alert – Voice – Pain – Unresponsive

This acronym is a method for recording and documenting a patient’s response in order to determine their state of consciousness.


Salivation/ Lacrimation (tears)/ Urination/ Defecation/ Gastrointestinal disease/ Emesis

This is an abbreviation for the symptoms of a parasympathetic nervous system discharge, which can occur as a result of a chemical overdose or the intake of certain poisons.


Deformities – Contusions – Abrasions – Punctures/penetrations    

This is an abbreviation used during a trauma patient’s fast head-to-toe evaluation. Starting with the head, you’ll inspect each portion of the body for any of these symptoms, pausing only to address them if they’re life-threatening.


Burns – Tenderness – Lacerations – Swelling


Subjective – Objective – Assessment – Plan

The report’s format for your prehospital care is explained by this acronym.

Read more: What Jobs Can You Get With EMT Basic?

What is the acronym we use for medical patient assessment?

emt acronyms

  • A&O x 3: Alert and oriented to place, time, and person.
  • A&O x 4: Alert and oriented to person, place, time, and event
  • ABC: Airway – breathing – circulation
  • NAD: No apparent distress
  • BS: Breath sounds
  • C/O: Complaint of
  • DT: Delirium tremens
  • FB: Foreign body
  • CEPH: Cephalic
  • CP: Chest pain
  • Fx: Fracture
  • NSR: Normal – Sinus – Rhythm
  • PAC: Premature – Atrial – Contraction
  • MS: Mental Status
  • N/V: Nausea/vomiting
  • PRB: Partial rebreather
  • NKDA: No Known Drug Allergies
  • PVC: Premature ventricular contraction
  • RXN: Reaction
  • AMS: Altered mental status
  • BG: Blood glucose
  • NRB: Non-rebreather
  • BP: Blood pressure
  • GI: Gastrointestinal
  • GSW: Gunshot wound
  • H/A: Headache
  • HEENT: Head, eyes, ears, nose, throat
  • HR: Heart rate or hour
  • Hx: History
  • JVD: Jugular vein distension
  • LOC: Level of consciousness/ loss of consciousness
  • N/V/D: Nausea/vomiting/diarrhea
  • MS: Mental status change
  • SOB: Shortness of breath
  • MVC: Motor vehicle crash
  • SQ: Subcutaneous
  • T: Temperature

What is the abbreviation for a patient’s diagnosis?

  • AKA: Above the knee amputation
  • CNS:  Central nervous system
  • CABG:  Coronary artery bypass graft
  • DKA:  Diabetic ketoacidosis
  • A-FIB:  Atrial fibrillation
  • SVT:  Supraventricular tachycardia
  • T-SPINE:  Thoracic spine
  • AAA:  Abdominal aortic aneurysm
  • BKA:  Below the knee amputation
  • C-SPINE:  Cervical spine
  • CA:  Cancer
  • Dx:  Diagnosis
  • GYN:  Gynecology or gynecological
  • CAD:  Coronary artery disease
  • HTN:  Hypertension
  • ICP:  Intracranial pressure
  • SZ:  Seizure
  • MI:  Myocardial infarction (heart attack)
  • PE:  Pulmonary embolus
  • CHF:  Congestive heart failure
  • C-SECTION:  Cesarean section
  • COPD:  Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • ST:  Sinus tachycardia
  • TIA:  Transient ischemic attack
  • VT:  Ventricular tachycardia
  • WAP:  Wandering atrial pacemaker

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What are common EMT measurement abbreviations?

  • AMT: amount
  • g: Gram
  • gtts: Drops
  • APPROX: Approximately
  • kg: Kilogram
  • mcg: Microgram
  • ASSOC: Associated
  • mg: Milligram
  • min: Minimum/ minute

What is the basic medical terminology?

emt acronyms

The use of medical terminology to discuss body parts and locations is common.

  • ABD – Abdomen (abdominal)
  • LMP – Last menstrual period
  • M – Male
  • AMA – Against medical advice
  • VS – Vital signs
  • DOA – Dead on arrival
  • WNL – Within normal limits
  • YO (YOA) – years of age
  • BILAT – Bilateral
  • CSF – Cerebrospinal fluid
  • DNR – Do not resuscitate
  • PT – Patient
  • ETOH – Ethanol 
  • ASA – Aspirin
  • UOA – Upon our arrival
  • EXT – External or extension
  • F – Female
  • ICU – Intensive care unit
  • IM – Intramuscular
  • IV – Intravenous
  • KVO – Keep vein open
  • L-SPINE – Lumbar spine
  • PRN – As needed
  • L/S-SPINE – Lumbarsacral spine
  • LAT – Lateral
  • lb – Pound
  • LLQ – Left lower quadrant
  • MED – Medicine
  • NS – Normal saline
  • PMH – Past medical history
  • PO – Orally
  • RLQ – Right lower quadrant
  • LUQ – Left upper quadrant
  • RUQ – Right upper quadrant
  • Rx – Medicine or prescription
  • Sx – Symptom
  • S/P – Status post
  • TKO – To keep open (refers to IVs – same as KVO)

Read more: How To Become An EMT?

What are EMT common treatment abbreviations?

  • ET – Endotracheal
  • EEG – Electroencephalogram
  • ETT – Endotracheal tube
  • L&D – Labor and delivery
  • ACLS – Advanced cardiac life support
  • CPR – Cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • NEB – Nebulizer
  • CT – Cat scan
  • CVA – Cerebrovascular accident (stroke)
  • ECG – Electrocardiogram
  • MSO4 – Morphine
  • BVM – Bag-valve-mask
  • NC – Nasal cannula
  • PALP – Palpation
  • Tx – Treatment
  • ALS – Advanced life support
  • BLS – Basic life support
  • CATH – Catheter

That’s the list of EMT acronyms. There are a lot of terms to remember, right? Don’t worry, you can be familiar with many of them after working as an EMT for a certain time.  We hope that our article can help you learn all the acronyms faster and easier.