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1.  The use and abuse of abbreviations in orthopaedic literature 
INTRODUCTION
Abbreviations are commonly used in medical literature. Their use has been associated with medical errors and they can be a source of irritation and misunderstanding. There are strict guidelines for their use. This study analysed the use of abbreviations in orthopaedic literature and compared adherence with guidelines in a general orthopaedic and spinal journal. It also examined orthopaedic professionals& understanding of abbreviations.
SUBJECTS AND METHODS
The use of abbreviations in articles over a 3-month period in a general orthopaedic and spinal journal was analysed. The number of abbreviations and adherence with guidelines was recorded. A group of orthopaedic healthcare professionals were tested for their understanding of abbreviations.
RESULTS
Almost half of all abbreviations were not properly used and 30% of abbreviations were never defined. Abbreviations were used significantly more often in the spinal journal. Only 40% of abbreviations were correctly defined by the orthopaedic professionals tested.
CONCLUSIONS
Guidelines regarding the use of abbreviations are not being adhered to by authors or editors. The poor understanding of abbreviations underlines the importance of minimising their use and defining abbreviations when they are used.
doi:10.1308/003588410X12628812458211a
PMCID: PMC3080075  PMID: 20223075
Abbreviations; Acronyms; Orthopaedics

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