SX Medical Abbreviation Meaning

If you have ever looked at your medical chart, your doctor’s notes may look like “chicken scratch.” To make noting things faster when you’re talking to your doctor, they use a series of abbreviations for bigger words to make sure all the information gets into your chart. To help you understand better what your doctor has written, we have compiled a list of medical abbreviations and what they mean. You will find the SX medical abbreviation meaning and a few more of the most common ones used in charts. Read on to see what all of this jargon means.

What Is the SX Medical Abbreviation Meaning?

The abbreviation is for the word symptoms. If you see it written “s/sx” it is the shortened term for “signs and symptoms” of a certain condition or disease. Since the first paragraph in a doctor’s examination notes can contain a lot of information, frequently used words like “symptoms” are shortened to make room for the most important words, the actual symptom. You will notice how the letter “x” is used after the first letter of each, which makes charting and documentation even faster for busy medical professionals.

There are many words in medicine that are used over and over, so doctors will use abbreviations to lessen the amount of writing they have to do. More of these include:

Medical Abbreviation








Hx / FHx

History/ Family History








Blood Culture


Bone Marrow Biopsy


Surgical History


Pneumothorax (Trapped gas outside the lung that can lead to lung collapse)


Chest X-Ray


Differential Diagnosis (This term is used when the doctor is unsure between two or three diagnoses. It is usually used during testing phase in the beginning of evaluation. For instance, you may see “DDx: chronic bronchitis vs. asthma” written in your chart.


Graded Exercise Tolerance (This is another name for “Stress Test” and is a test to see how much exercise your heart and blood pressure can tolerate.


Extended Release (Medication Type)

There are many more abbreviations used in the medical field that do not contain the “x.” Some of these that are used often in medical charts include:

  • a.c. – Before meals. You will most often see this as instructions on a prescription. The pharmacist will transcribe it and type out the words “before meals,” to make it easier to understand.
  • b.i.d. – This means twice a day. You will see this on prescriptions or if you need to do something like a dressing change on a wound. The doctor will write it this way in your chart, but spell it out “twice daily” on any written instructions you are given.
  • B/P – You may already know this one, it is the standard abbreviation for blood pressure.
  • C – Used alone or with a line over the top is used instead of the word “with.” An example is, “take two tabs c food at dinner.” Again, this is usually only seen in the actual chart or on a prescription form.
  • C & S – This is a “culture and sensitivity” used when a doctor orders a lab test to see which bacteria or germs grow out and what antibiotics they would be “sensitive” to. This helps the doctor know which antibiotic you need to treat an infection. It is most often seen with a urinalysis for urinary tract infections.
  • C/O – Means the patient complains of….. This is a very common shortcut doctor’s use when writing the symptoms you have. You will see it written like; “c/o shortness of breath, fever, and cough.”
  • FBS – Fasting Blood Sugar. If you are being tested for diabetes or blood sugar issues, the doctor may want you to check your blood sugar fasting or before you have eaten or drank anything.
  • FU – Follow up. The doctor may write this if they want another visit with you to re-evaluate after treatment or when they refer you to another doctor. For example, “follow-up with the cardiologist in three weeks.”
  • HA – The abbreviation for headache.
  • HS – Hour of sleep. The abbreviation for bedtime. May be seen in medication instructions as, “Take two tablets at HS.”
  • H/O – History of. When writing your medical history, the doctor may note what you say as, “Patient has h/o asthma, diabetes, and high blood pressure.”
  • IM – This means intramuscular and a type of injection. You may be given an injectable drug that must go straight into a muscle. This is common with epinephrine or epi pens used for severe allergic reactions.
  • NKA – No known allergies. You might see this at the top of your chart and alerts medical staff that you have no known allergies to food or medications.
  • NPO – Nothing by mouth. If you are having surgery or some type of testing that requires an empty digestive system or your bloodstream with some labs, you may be kept “NPO” for a certain number of hours.

Medical Abbreviation Safety Issues

Many hospitals, doctor’s offices, and medical licensing agencies are advising against using medical abbreviations. This is because many abbreviations can get confused in the process. Some medical abbreviations may have two different meanings such as; Sx medical abbreviation may stand for “symptoms” but can also mean “surgery,” or “suction.” In the hospital environment, there are many different medical personnel taking care of a number of patients with different conditions. Confusion and safety issues can result. When in question, doctors and nurses may choose to spell out the complete word instead of using an abbreviation. Some of the abbreviations that may cause confusion include:

  • BM – This is both “bowel movement” and “bone marrow.”
  • CP – Chest Pain or Cerebral Palsy
  • QID – Four times a day and can easily be confused with “QOD” which is every other day
  • PT – Can either mean “physical therapy” or “patient.”
  • DC – “Discontinue” a medication or treatment, but can also mean “discharge” from care in a hospital or clinic.

It is important to ask your doctor if you are unsure of something they have written. This way you completely understand what the doctor means. If you understand medical terminology better, you will make a better partner in your own healthcare. 

Current time: 07/24/2024 08:48:26 p.m. UTC Memory usage: 65244.0KB