Are All the Abbreviations Really Necessary?

Arthur U. Rivin, MD
Arch Intern Med. 1986;146(8):1636. doi:10.1001/archinte.1986.00360200216045.
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To the Editor.  —When did we begin to abbreviate in medical journal articles? And why?I have just finished reading the January 1986 issue of the Archives, an issue full of informative and useful articles. I was moving along well beginning with the first editorial until I came to "Barrett's Esophagus" (BE). Okay, BE means barium enema to most of us, but I could accommodate. Then I kept reading about GER and SCE and looking back for the antecedent reference phrases. (For the rest of you general internists, they mean gastroesophageal reflux and specialized columnar epithelium.)I then went on to the other articles. There are at least 40 more abbreviations, most of which I would bet the majority of your readers could not identify out of context and probably could not remember while reading the articles. Try these: MABP, PMC, MVAMC, CCFA, SAT, STT, RAIU, CoNS, MPGN, FLD, BAL,


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