This article, "Cicero Teaches Dictation: Lessons From Ancient Rome", is intended for physicians, residents, interns, medical students, nurses, and physician assistants.

Soundalikes and Ambiguities

DO YOU MEAN ... ? OR DO YOU MEAN ... ?
adduction - movement of a body part toward the median plane abduction - movement of a body part away from the median plane
AV - arteriovenous AV - atrioventricular (sometimes difficult to tell from context)
ascitic - containing ascites, serous fluid in the abdominal cavity ascetic - one who believes in minimal comforts; acidic - containing acid
Avacor - OTC hair restorer Advicor - niacin/lovastatin
Avelox - moxifloxacin hydrochloride, quinolone antibiotic Aveloz - unproven cancer drug
Bright Eyes eyedrops for cataracts Brite Eyes III lubricant
cardia - portion of stomach Cartia - diltiazem (U.S.), aspirin (Australia)
carotid - artery parotid - gland
cecal - of the cecum thecal, fecal
Ceftin Cefotan or other "cef" drugs
Celebrex - NSAID Cerebyx - anticonvulsant
cirrhosis - replacement of normal tissue with fibrotic tissue xerosis - dry skin. Also see sclerosis/sclerosus, below.
CNS - central nervous system C&S - culture and sensitivity
CVA - cerebrovascular accident CVA - costovertebral angle
cystotome - used in cutting the urinary bladder, gallbladder, or lens cystitome - some people prefer this spelling for cases involving the eye
Desyrel - antidepressant Desferal - for iron toxicity
disk, disc - some people prefer "disk" for the spine, "disc" for the eye ... disk, disc - a matter of personal preference
Ditropan - GU smooth muscle relaxant Diprivan - propofol
Durasal - salicylic acid 26% for wart removal, not FDA approved Durezol - difluprednate ophthalmic emulsion;
Durasul - wear-resistant polyethylene material used in knee implants
dysphagia - inability to eat dysphasia - inability to speak
ebonation - to remove bone fragments from a wound eburnation - conversion of bone to an ivory-like mass
enterocleisis - occlusion of the lumen of the alimentary canal enteroclysis - high enema
enterostomy - abdominal wall fistula antrostomy - formation of permanent opening into a bony cavity
Estrace - hormone replacement therapy esterase - class of enzyme
Fastin - phentermine; discontinued Fastin - OTC appetite suppressant product manufactured by Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals
Feldene - NSAID Seldane - now discontinued
H&P - history and physical HNP - herniated nucleus pulposus
hyper- too much hypo- too little
I&D - incision and drainage I&D - irrigation and debridement
ilium - iliac bone in the hip ileum - third portion of the small intestine
in-stent - within a stent instant - immediate
LASIK - laser in-situ keratomileusis LASEK - laser-assisted subepithelial keratectomy;
Lasix - furosemide, a diuretic
Lexxel - antihypertensive Leksell - rongeur
mets - metastases Metzenbaum scissors; metabolic equivalents
Murelax - tranquilizer MiraLax - laxative
Nitrostat - nitroglycerin nystatin - antifungal
OrthoTec - pedicle screw Arthrotec - non-narcotic analgesic
osteal - pertaining to bone ostial - pertaining to an opening
pacemaker codes Lots of soundalikes here. DDIR can sound like DVIR.
For the meanings behind the codes, see the
pacemaker code page.
para - near; involvement of two like parts or a pair; a departure from the norm peri - near (the only meaning)
perfusion - to force blood or other fluid through tissue profusion - a great amount
perineal - pertaining to the perineum peritoneal - peritoneal (abdomen); peroneal (leg)
Protonix - for GI bleeding Protonics - orthopedic instruments
Rasberi-K - raspberry ketones, dietary supplement rasburicase - Elitek or Fasturtec, for leukemia, lymphoma, and solid tumors in children
sclerosis - hardening sclerosus - i.e., lichen sclerosus. Also see cirrhosis/xerosis, above.
sitotoxin - foodborne pathogen cytotoxin - inhibits cells from growing
subcu - subcutaneous subcuticular
tinea - fungal infection tenia - bandlike structure
TURP - transurethral resection of prostate TERP - totally endoscopic radical prostatectomy.
I sincerely hope this abbreviation doesn't catch on.
ureteral - pertaining to the ureters urethral - pertaining to the urethra
Valium - tranquilizer thallium - used in cardiac stress testing
Xanax - tranquilizer Zantac - ranitidine, for gastric ulcers

About the author: Elizabeth Dearborn is a medical transcriptionist and webmaster.
Image of Marcus Tullius Cicero courtesy of the .
This article was posted on June 27, 2002. This page was most recently updated on September 5, 2014.

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