Editorials

Acronymophilia

BMJ 1994; 309 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.309.6956.683 (Published 17 September 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;309:683
  1. T O Cheng

    The exponential growth of the use of acronyms should be resisted

    Eponyms such as Barlow, Carvallo, Master, and Wolff- Parkinson-White were until recently part of the sport of ward rounds. Times have changed. Now acronyms are in fashion. GUSTO, GISSI, ISIS, MRFIT, and TIMI are heard in hospital corridors and convention halls everywhere.

    In cardiology acronyms for research trials have grown almost exponentially. In 1992 I compiled a list of acronyms of 244 major cardiological trials.1 An updated version two years later saw the total nearly quadrupled to over 900.2 As acronyms continue to be born almost every day they need to be made easily understandable by, and readily accessible to, clinicians, investigators, and editors of medical journals while their currency is at a peak.

    Acronyms are useful because they simplify, facilitate, and accelerate communication. They have become the shorthand of medicine. Physicians, especially cardiologists, like to use or invent these medical timesavers - and are good at the task.

    Acronyms of cardiological …

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