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Medical Devices, Abbreviations, Acronyms, and Eponyms: A Pocket Guide

Frederick R. Olson, MD
JAMA. 1995;273(15):1231-1232. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520390093041.
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Radiologic Guide to Medical Devices and Foreign Bodies, edited by Tim B. Hunter and David G. Bragg, 624 pp, with illus, $180, ISBN 0-8016-6574-4, St Louis, Mo, Mosby, 1994.

Written as a ready reference of medical miscellany, Medical Devices, Abbreviations, Acronyms, and Eponyms (MDAAE) attempts to provide a smallformat reference to the obscurities of medical language encountered in daily practice. This leads to one of the major drawbacks, that is, a bias toward radiological usage and practice. For instance, organizations such as ACR, AAWR, ABR, and AHRA are in the glossary, but not ACOG, ACS, AAOM, and others. Central venous pressure catheter placement is illustrated, but other devices, such as cardiac pacemakers and Ilizarov devices, are not.

Acronyms are a linguistic nightmare, transient in meaning, narrow in usage, and the most specific form of jargon. Their seductive economy of expression leads to a code of sorts, understood only within a


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