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Nursing Mnemonics and Acronyms (Cardiovascular System)

Mnemonics and acronyms help us retain information more
efficiently. These can be helpful especially if you have an
upcoming exam or if you are reviewing for NCLEX-RN. Always
remember that its not always about how hard you study, but
how smart you use your time to absorb as much information
as you can.
Here are 50 Nursing mnemonics and acronyms every nurse
should know now:

Angina is not a disease, but a symptom of an underlying

heart condition. Angina is commonly associated with
discomfort or tightness across the front of the chest.
Symptoms are usually caused by precipitating factors such
as exertion, eating a large meal , emotional distress or
extreme temperatures. The pain may also be felt in the arms,
neck, jaw or stomach.

2. Circulatory Checks 5 Ps.

Nursing Mnemonics and Acronyms (Cardiovascular System)
1. Angina Precipitating Factors 4 Es.

o Pulses are assessed to check the circulatory flow. Absence

of pulses may indicate blockage or decreased blood flow.
o Pallor is assessed by checking the temperature and color
of the patients affected limb. A cool or pale limb is indicative
of insufficient circulation, while a bluish color is a sign of
venous stasis.

3. Hypertension Nursing Care DIURETIC.

The circulatory systems role is to transport oxygen and

nutrients throughout the body. When a person is in a critical
state, one of the most important things to do is to assess the
persons nerve function and blood flow.
o Pain is assessed using the pain scale and by asking the
patient about the characteristics of the pain.
o Paresthesia can be assessed by applying stimulation near
and distant to the affected area. Ask the patient to report
tingling sensation and a decrease or loss of sensation.
o Paralysis is assessed by asking the patient to flex and
extend each ankle, wrist, toe and finger. Take note of pain
upon movement or rest.

Hypertension occurs when a persons blood pressure remains

elevated. Aside from being the most common health problem

among adults, hypertension is also the leading risk factor for

cardiovascular disorders.
Nurses may care for patients with hypertension by taking
their daily weight to be able to take note of any unnecessary
weight gain or loss, checking their daily intake and output,
taking note of their urine output (amount and color), their
electrolytes level, their pulses and if there are any ischemic

Hypertension is the most common risk factor for

cardiovascular disorders. These disorders are pretty simple to
memorize, as all of them start with the letter C: Coronary
Artery Disease (CAD), Coronary Rheumatic Fever (CRF),
Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) and Cardiovascular Accident

5. Causes of Heart Murmur SPAMS.

4. Complications of Hypertension 4 Cs.

Heart murmurs are abnormal heart sounds that are loud

enough to be heard through auscultation, and are produced
when blood flows through defective valves.

Common causes include stenosis or the narrowing of a valve,

a partial obstruction or aneurysm (a bulging in an artery).
Another cause is mitral regurgitation which is a disorder in
which valves do not close properly. Septal defects, which are
usually acquired by birth, may also cause murmurs.

point at the 3rd left intercostal space; the tricuspid at the 4th
left intercostal space; and the apex or the mitral at the 5th
left intercostal space.

7. Myocardial Infarction Nursing Management BOOMAR.

6. Heart Sounds APETM All People Enjoy The Mall.

Heart sounds may be heard through auscultation. You can

assess the heart sounds through different auscultatory sites.
The aortic heart sound is located at the 2nd right intercostal
space; the pulmonic at the 2nd left intercostal space; Erbs

Cardiac ischemia occurs when a portion of the heart is

starved of oxygen. If ischemia lasts too long, the starved
tissue dies, causing myocardial infarction.

8. Myocardial Infarction Treatment ON AM.

Initial therapy for acute myocardial infarction must be

directed towards restoration of perfusion. Further treatment,
however, is based on pain relief, restoration of balance
between oxygen supply and demand, and prevention or
control of any developing complications.
*The correct order of MONA interventions is oxygen,
nitroglycerin, aspirin, and then morphine. This can be
remembered by the mnemonic: ON AM (I am ON fire in the
AM as I am a morning person).

9. Causes of Shortness of Breath AAAAPPPP.

Shortness of breath (SOB) or difficulty of breathing (DOB) is

usually caused by many factors such as heart and lung
conditions. Problems involving the transport of oxygen to
tissues may affect breathing.

10. Signs of Stroke FAST.

A stroke is a medical emergency that occurs due to

obstruction of blood flow in the brain or the rupture of a
blood vessel. The three kinds of stroke are ischemic,
hemorrhagic, and transient ischemic attack (TIA).

Compartment Syndrome is a painful and life-threatening

condition that occurs when too much pressure builds up
inside an enclosed space in the body. It usually results from
bleeding or swelling after an injury.

11. Compartment Syndrome Signs and Symptoms 5 Ps.

12. Emergent Syncope CRAPS.

Syncope (fainting) is the partial or complete loss of

consciousness, and is usually related to insufficient blood
flow to the brain.

Shock is a life-threatening condition that occurs when there is

lack of blood circulation in the body. It may lead to serious
complications such as heart failure or even multiple organ

13. Shock Signs and Symptoms CHORD ITEM.

14. Trauma Complications TRAUMATIC.

Trauma may put patients at risk of so many complications

such as malnutrition. Periods of recuperation from severe
trauma may interrupt work, social interactions and wellbeing, among many others.
Problems associated with trauma include anxiety, unstable
clotting factors, malnutrition, altered body image,
thromboembolism, infection, Crush syndrome and coping
problems. These complications may be remembered easily
with the acronym TRAUMATIC.

15. Cyanotic Defects 4 Ts.

Cyanotic defects are a group of different heart conditions

that are present at birth (congenital) and result in a low blood
oxygen level. These defects affect blood flow through the
heart and lungs, causing non-oxygenated blood to be
pumped out to the body. Common signs and symptoms
include clubbing, crying, tachycardia, tachypnea, unusually
large toes and fingernails and delayed development.
There are four common cyanotic defects (4 Ts):
Tetralogy of Fallot is a combination of four heart defects
which cause oxygen-poor blood to flow out of the heart and
into the rest of the body. Children with Tetralogy of Fallot are
usually cyanotic or have blue-tinged skin.

Truncus Arteriosus is a heart defect characterized by one

large blood vessel branching out of the heart, instead of two.
Also, the two lower chambers of the heart are missing a
portion of the wall that divides them. This results to the
mixing together of oxygen-righ and oxygen-poor blood.
Transposition of the great arteries is a rare congenital heart
defect in which the two main arteries leaving the heart are
reversed. It leads to a shortage of oxygen in the blood that
flows from the heart to the rest of the body.
Tricuspid atresia is a congenital defect wherein one of the
valves between two of the hearts chambers is not formed.
This means the blood cannot flow through the heart and into
the lungs to pick up oxygen as it normally would.



Nurses need a systematic approach to pain assessment and

evaluation in order to improve the well-being of their
When assessing pain, nurses need to ask what provokes the
pain, its quality, whether it radiates or not, its severity, as
well as its timing.

2. Pain Management ABCDE.

1. Pain Assessment PQRST.

Pain management always starts with patient assessment. You

can then provide the patients with options for pain relief,
deliver the possible interventions and enable the patient to
have pain control. These steps may be remembered through
the acronym ABCDE.

Hypersensitivity means there is a heightened response in a

body tissue to an antigen or a foreign body. Normally, the
body responds to an antigen by producing certain antibodies.
The resulting immune response may lead to cell damage.
Substances released from damaged cells called histamines
cause dilation of small blood vessels, tissue inflammation,
and constriction of the bronchi of the lungs.

3. Hypersensitivity Reaction Types ACID.

4. Right Lower Quadrant Pain Possibilities APPENDICITIS.

Any masses upon palpation in the left lower quadrant may

indicate uterine fibroids or ovarian tumors, while the spleen
may be palpated over the left upper quadrant only if it is

5. Post-operative Fever Etiologies 5 Ws.

The right lower quadrant contains the large and small

intestines, as well as the appendix and the ovaries (in female
patients). The right upper quadrant, on the other hand,
contains the liver, gallbladder, tail of the pancreas, the right
kidney and its adrenal gland.
Pain or tenderness in the right upper quadrant may reveal
kidney disease, while pain when palpating the right lower
quadrant may indicate appendicitis.
In the left upper quadrant, you will find the stomach, spleen,
head of the pancreas and the left kidney with adrenal gland.
The left lower quadrant contains the left ovary and the uterus
in female patients.

Post-operative fever is a condition wherein there is an

abnormally high temperature following a surgical procedure.
Factors that may cause post-operative fever are the
following: Wind (pneumonia and atelectasis), Wound (surgical
incision infections), Water (urinary tract infection), Walking

(deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolus) and Wonderdrugs (especially anesthesia).

6. Causes of Dementia and Delirium DEMENTIA.

Delirium, on the other hand, is defined as an acute change in

cognition and a disturbance of consciousness. Patients
suffering from delirium may fall in and out of consciousness
and there may be problems with awareness, attention,
emotions, muscle control, sleeping and waking.
Remember: Delirium has a rapid onset and is temporary
while dementia is progressive and often secondary to chronic
neurological disorders such as Alzheimers disease.

7. Depression Assessment Signs CAPS.

Dementia is defined as the loss of mental functions such as

thinking, memory, and reasoning, which is severe enough to
interfere with a patients daily functioning. It is not a disease,
rather a group of symptoms that are caused by several
conditions. There may also be changes in personality, mood
and behavior.

Depression refers to a very low mood which can be severe

enough to interfere with daily life activities. Signs of
depression can be remembered with the acronym C-A-P-S
(Concentration impaired or decreased, Appetite changes,
Psychomotor functions decreased and Suicidal ideations and
sleep disturbances).
Other symptoms include tiredness or fatigue, feelings of
worthlessness, agitation, and slowing of movements.

An intrauterine device is a small device that fits inside a

womans uterus, and works by preventing fertilization of the
egg. It is one of the most effective contraceptive methods
and contains no hormones, which means it can be used even
while breastfeeding.
However, complications may still arise when using an
intrauterine device. These complications are best
remembered using the acronym P-A-I-N-S (Period
irregularities, abdominal pain and dyspareunia, infection,
fever or chills and a missing string).

8. Intrauterine Device Complications PAINS.

9. Inflammation Assessment HIPER.

Inflammation is a localized reaction producing redness,

warmth, swelling, and pain. It is a reaction produced when
the white blood cells protect the body from foreign
substances. You can assess inflammation using the acronym
HIPER: Check for the sites heat, its induration, pain, edema
and redness.

11. Severe Pre-Eclampsia Signs HELLP.

10. Sprains and Strains Nursing Care RICE.

Pre-eclampsia is a pregnancy complication characterized by

high blood pressure and signs of damage to organ systems. If
left untreated, it may lead to even more serious
complications for both the mother and the baby.

A sprain is an injury that usually involves small tears of the

ligaments and joint capsule. A strain, however, is an injury
that affects tendons or muscles. Symptoms include pain,
swelling, stiffness and reduced functioning.

Pre-eclampsia usually starts after 20 weeks of pregnancy in a

woman whose blood pressure had usually been normal. Even
a slight rise in the blood pressure may indicate preeclampsia.

12. Hematology 3 Rules.

These rules can be used to check if the Complete Blood

Count on your patients results are valid. Though these rules
may not be completely flawless, they can still be tools used
to further investigate sample integrity and/or instrument
operation. Some institutions require a review of the indicates
using the Rules of Three. For instance, the Hct must match
the Hb x 3 +/-3, or further investigation may be required.

An episiotomy is a minor surgery which is done to widen the

opening of the vagina during childbirth. It is a cut to the skin
and muscles between the vaginal opening and the anus. The
cut is then repaired with stitches (sutures).
Immediate care should be given when you see any redness,
edema, ecchymosis, discharge, or approximation (R-E-E-D-A)
on the episiotomy site.

14. Hematuria Causes HEMATURIAS.

13. Episiotomy Healing Evaluation REEDA.

1. Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) Treatment KING UFC.

Hematuria is the presence of red blood cells in the urine.

Sometimes, the urine can become pink, red, or cola-colored,
but there are some cases when there is not enough blood in
the urine to cause a color change.
Possible causes of hematuria may be summarized using the
acronym H-E-M-A-T-U-R-I-A-S: Hemorrhagic diseases,
Endocarditis, Malignant Hypertension, Acute
Glomerulonephritis, Renal Tuberculosis or Tumor in the
bladder, Urinary Tract Infection, Renal Infarct, Idiopathic
causes, Anti-coagulants and Stones in the Urinary Tract.

Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) is a life-threatening emergency

condition that often occurs in patients with type I Diabetes. It
may also occur in patients with type II Diabetes, particularly
obese black patients.

Hypoglycemia is a common emergency condition, especially

in people with diabetes mellitus. It occurs when the sugar
(glucose) in your body is not enough to be used as fuel for

Also Read: 5 Misconceptions About Diabetes

3. Hypoglycemia Signs and Symptoms TIRED.
2. Hypoglycemia Causes and Characteristics REEXPLAIN.

The signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia can be easily

remembered using the acronym T-I-R-E-D (Tachycardia,
Irritability, Restlessness, Excessive hunger, Depression and

4. Early Warning Signs of Cancer CAUTION UP.

The early stages of cancer may be asymptomatic, but a

malignant tumor will eventually growlarge enough to be
detected. The more it grows, the more it presses on nerves,
producing pain and interfering with bodily functions.
The acronym CAUTION-UP will help you remember the early
signs of cancer: Change in bowel or bladder habits; Unusual
bleeding or discharge; Thickening or lump in the breasts,
testicles or elsewhere; Indigestion or difficulty swallowing;
Obvious change in the size, color, shape or thickness of a
wart, mole or mouth sore; Nagging cough or hoarseness;
Unexplained loss of weigh or loss of appetite, and; Pernicious

Also Read: 5 Cancer Symptoms You Should Never Ignore

Other symptoms include persistent headaches, chronic pain
in bones and various areas of the body, persistent fatigue,
persistent low-grade fever and repeated infection.

Priorities of care include provision of information about the

disease, prevention of complications, promotion of comfort
and preservation of optimal physiological functioning.
Interventions (CANCER) should be focused on patients
comfort, altered body image, nutrition, chemotherapy,
response to medications and respite for caretakers.

5. Cancer Interventions CANCER.



1. Acid-Base Balance ROME.

Nurses are encouraged to provide as much care and comfort

as possible to patients with cancer.
Also Read: 10 Cancer-Causing Foods to Avoid

Lets move on to the PCO2 and the HCO3-. If the PCO2 is

higher than normal (>45), it is considered acidotic, but if it is
below normal (<35), it is on the alkaline side. However, if the
HCO3- is below normal (<22), it is acidotic, but if it is higher
than normal (>26), it is on the alkaline side.
Respiratory Alkalosis indicates that the pH level is higher
than normal (>7.45) and that the PCO2 is lower than normal
(<35mmHg). Respiratory Acidosis, on the other hand,
indicates that the pH is lower than normal (<7.35) and the
PCO2 is higher than normal (>45mmHg). The pH and PCO2
have an inverse relationship, which is why Respiratory is
On the other hand, Metabolic Acidosis indicates that both the
pH and HCO3 levels are below normal (<7.35 in pH and
<22mEq/L in HCO3), while in Metabolic Alkalosis, both are
higher than normal (>7.45 in pH and <35mEq/L in HCO3).
When the pH and HCO3- are both increased or decreased, it
is metabolic, which is why Metabolic is EQUAL.

2. Hypernatremia Signs and Symptoms FRIED SALT.

The body will be able to maintain the right acid-base balance

in the blood as long as the person maintains a healthy
Disruption in the acid-base balance could lead to acidosis,
wherein the blood pH level is more acidic (pH level less than
7.35), or alkalosis, which means the pH level of the blood has
too little acid (pH level greater than 7.45). Either one of the
two imbalances may result in serious disorders.
Remember that the acronym ROME means Respiratory
Opposite, Metabolic Equal. If the pH level falls within the
normal range of 7.35 7.45, it is compensated. Otherwise, it
is uncompensated.

Hypernatremia refers to a condition wherein the serum or

plasma sodium is greater than 145 mEq/L. It is often due to
water that is excessively lost through the gastrointestinal
tract, skin or urine.

Hypocalcemia occurs when the level of calcium in the body

becomes abnormally low. It may be the result of low calcium
production or insufficient calcium circulation in the body.

4. Hyperkalemia Signs and Symptoms MURDER.

3. Hypocalcemia Signs and Symptoms CATS.

5. Hypokalemia Signs and Symptoms A SIC WALT.

Hyperkalemia, or high potassium level in the blood, usually

occurs when inefficient kidneys fail to remove potassium
from the body or if the cells in the body release too much
potassium. Excessive consumption of potassium may also
lead to hyperkalemia, especially if the kidney function is
Signs and symptoms of hyperkalemia include muscle cramps
that progress to weakness; urine abnormalities like oliguria or
anuria; respiratory distress; decreased cardiac contractility;
EKG changes; and abnormalities in reflexes such as
hyperflexia or areflexia. These can easily be remembered
using the acronym MURDER.

Low potassium level or hypokalemia is usually caused by

kidney disease, antibiotics, diarrhea or vomiting, eating
disorders, or sweating, among others.
Signs and symptoms of hypokalemia can be remembered
using the acronyms A SIC WALT: Alkalosis, Shallow
Respirations, Irritability, Confusion and drowsiness, Weakness
and fatigue, Arrhythmias like tachycardia or
bradycardia, Lethargy, and Thready pulse. There may also be
decreased intestinal mobility, vomiting, and ileus. Try to
picture your patient, Mr. Walt, saying I am A SIC WALT.



1. Medications for Advanced Life Support LEAN.
Advanced Life Support (ALS) refers to healthcare procedures
that help sustain life, including advanced diagnosis and
protocol-driven treatment for a patient in the field.

2. Drug Administration Responsibilities PDDRTD DR.

You can remember the six rights of drug administration using
two mnemonics.

Patients Do Drugs Round The Day (PDDRTD) stands for Right

Patient, Right Drug, Right Dose, Right Route, Right Time, and
Right Documentation.

Alternatively, you can use the acronym DR. TIMED, which

stands for Right Dose, Right Route, Right Time, Right
Individual, Right Medication, Right Effect (or Expiration date)
and Right Documentation.

3. Drug Interactions TDCI These Drugs Can Interact.

4. Tuberculosis Drugs RIPES.

Also Read: A Nurses Ultimate Guide to Accurate Drug

Dosage Calculations
A drug interaction happens when the combination of two or
more drugs produces a reaction, causing the person to
experience an unexpected side effect. Drug interactions may
also make your drug less effective, or increase the action of a
particular drug, which may be harmful. They may fall into
three categories, namely: Drug-drug, drug-food or drugcondition interactions.

Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection of the lungs, which is

usually airborne. The most common signs of tuberculosis are
fever, weight loss, fatigue, coughing, hemoptysis and night
sweats. It is usually diagnosed through skin tests, chest xrays, sputum analysis and other procedures that detect the
presence of bacteria.

1. Asthma Management ASTHMA.

Asthma is a long-term lung condition in which the airways

swell, become narrow, and produce excessive mucus. It
cannot be cured, but its symptoms can be controlled.
Common signs and symptoms of asthma include shortness of
breath, chest pain or tightness, coughing and wheezing.

2. Dyspnea Causes 6 Ps.

Dyspnea is a subjective experience characterized by

uncomfortable breathing, and is usually a sign of respiratory
disorder. Typical causes of dyspnea can be remembered with
the 6 Ps: Pump failure, Pulmonary embolus, Pulmonary
bronchial constriction, Possible obstruction from a foreign
body, Pneumonia, and Pneumothorax.

The adrenal glands are small glands located on top of each

kidney. They produce hormones that you cant live without,
including sex hormones and cortisol. Cortisol, for instance,
helps you respond to stress and has many other important

4. Pulmonary Edema Management MAD DOG.

3. Adrenal Gland Hormones SSS.

Pulmonary edema is a condition characterized by excess fluid

in the lungs. This fluid collects in the numerous air sacs in the
lungs, making it difficult to breathe. Most cases are usually
caused by heart conditions, pneumonia, exposure to certain
toxins and medications, trauma to the chest wall, and living
at high elevations.
Management for pulmonary edema include Morphine,
Aminophylline, Digitalis, Diuretics, Oxygen and monitoring of
Blood Gases.

5. Cranial Nerves 1.0.

Cranial nerves are nerves that are directly connected to the

brain and the brain stem. Information exchanged between
the brain and other regions of the body pass through the
cranial nerves. They can be remembered using the
mnemonic OLympic OPium OCcupies TROubled TRIathletes
After Finishing VEgas Gambling VAcations Still High.

6. Cranial Nerves 2.0.

If you want to know what the cranial nerves functions are

whether they are sensory, motor, or bothyou can use the
mnemonic Some Say Marry Money But My Brother Says Bad
Business Marry Money.

A tracheoesophageal fistula is a congenital or acquired

communication between the trachea and esophagus, which
often leads to severe and fatal pulmonary complications. In
most cases, the esophagus is discontinuous, causing feeding
difficulties. The three major signs of tracheoesophageal
fistula are choking, coughing and cyanosis.

7. Tracheal Esophageal Fistula Signs 3 Cs.