Blood Test Abbreviations

, Staff Writer
Updated June 2, 2020

If you have ever had blood work done, you may have noticed the blood test abbreviations found on many of the lab work forms. These abbreviations are used to identify specific tests that are to be completed on your drawn blood samples.

You have every right to know exactly what tests are being performed on you, and while it will take further research to understand what every test is and how it works, at least you'll have a starting point by deciphering all these abbreviations, acronyms and initialisms.

Doctor holding blood test sample
    Doctor holding blood test sample
    Peter Dazeley / The Image Bank / Getty Images

Common Blood Test Abbreviations

This list of blood test abbreviations isn't exhaustive, but it does cover the letters seen most commonly on laboratory or medical requisition forms. If you're ever confused or concerned, it's best to consult with your family physician or other suitable medical professional. The technicians at the medical lab can help too.

  • ALT - Alanine Transaminase (enzyme found in the liver and kidneys; part of a liver function test)
  • ANA - Antinuclear Antibody (test to confirm or rule out suspected autoimmune disorders)
  • AST - Alanine Aminotransferase (enzyme; use to screen and monitor liver disorders)
  • BAC - Blood Alcohol Concentration/Content (percentage of alcohol in blood; tests for intoxication level)
  • BMP - Basic Metabolic Panel (measures balance of fluids and sugars along with kidney function )
  • BNP - Beta Natriuretic Peptide (testing for congestive heart failure)
  • BUN - Blood Urea Nitrogen (tests function of liver and kidneys)
  • CA - Calcium (measures blood calcium levels)
  • CBC - Complete Blood Count (test red and white blood cells for overall health and to detect abnormalities)
  • CK - Creatine Phosphokinase (test for muscle damage)
  • CR - Creatinine (part of kidney function test; measures waste in blood)
  • ESR - Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (tests for inflammation)
  • Hct - Hematocrit (part of the standard CBC test; abnormals measurements can indicate disease)
  • Hgb - Hemoglobin (measures your hemoglobin levels, used for anemia diagnosis)
  • HDL/LDL - High Density Lipoproteins/High Density Lipoproteins (testing for "good" and "bad" cholesterol)
  • INR - International Normalized Ratio (measures rate of blood clotting; tests for blood disorders or to adjust blood thinning medications)
  • K - Potassium (a test for potassium levels; high or low levels can lead to serious problems)
  • Mg - Magnesium (testing for magnesium levels; certain levels needed body to function properly)
  • Na - Sodium (testing for sodium levels in the blood; necessary for proper nerve and body functions)
  • PSA - Prostate Specific Antigen (prostate cancer test)
  • PT - Prothrombin Time (test blood clotting along with INR or international normalized ratio; to access bleeding problems)
  • RBC - Red Blood Cell Count (part of the CBC test)
  • TPO - Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (test for antibodies to thyroid, which suggests thyroid disease)
  • Trig - Triglycerides (a part of cholesterol test)
  • TSH - Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (measures the amount of thyroid stimulating hormone in blood)
  • WBC - White Blood Cell Count (part of the CBC test)

Blood Test Measurement Abbreviations

When you look at your blood work, you might see some abbreviations like “pg” or “mmol/L”. While confusing, these are abbreviations for the measurements for blood tests. Explore the various blood test measurement abbreviations.

  • CMM - Cells Per Cubic Millimeter
  • Da - Dalton
  • dL - Deciliter
  • fL - Femtoliter (Fraction of One-Millionth of a Liter)
  • g/dL - Grams Per Deciliter
  • IU/L - International Units Per Liter
  • kPa - kilopascal
  • mEq/L - Milliequivalent Per Liter
  • mg/dL - Milligrams Per Deciliter
  • mL - Milliliter
  • mmol/L - Millimoles Per Liter
  • ng/mL - Nanograms Per Milliliter
  • PG - Picograms (one trillionth of a gram)

Using Blood Test Abbreviations

Blood tests are one of a doctor's basic tools to check your health or test for certain conditions, illnesses, and abnormalities. Many specialized tests are available too. For clarification on blood test abbreviations other than those listed above just ask your medical professional. Looking to find out more about medical abbreviations, check out this medical abbreviations list.