What do all or some of the abbreviations used mean... - Headway


8,369 members10,831 posts

What do all or some of the abbreviations used mean! Can Headway explain please.


I understand BI and SAH but that is all. When people add their replies to questions if they are using abbreviations it would help to understand some of the more obscure ones and know what they are talking about. I don't even know if my BI comes under the heading of that or an SAH! All I know is I had extreme pain like a bolt shoot up the back of my neck into my head . I came round after 3 days only in induced coma and was then told I had had had an aneurysm and brain hemorrhage. My husband told me I'd had a brain op which I later discovered was that I'd had a or 2? stents inserted into the brain via femoral artery - whether the hemorrhage was at the same time as or after the aneurysm and op to have stent/s? inserted (via the femoral artery), I have no idea therefore what abbreviation would fit me, albeit the hospital sent me my medical notes a few weeks after discharge - I don't understand the french terminology. Perhaps if Headway think its a good idea, they could put a page on the site that would explain the commonly used abbreviations for various conditions, side-effects or whatever applies.I do appreciate that my own injury circumstances were much simpler and far less serious than so many other peoples, but with having similar after-effects in daily life, it would still help to understand more than I do.

13 Replies

Hi Shirley, I spend a lot of time looking up the various terms, know what you mean. But you got it right , doesn't matter what caused it a brain injury results in similar after effects. I didn't have a bleed "just encephalitis" which caused such dreadful brain swelling I'm left with lesions in the brain and the usual memory, balance problems etc, but no headaches or epilepsy luckily. Oh and vision problems cos my optic nerves were affected too, dreadful how your life is changed so quickly isn't it, mine by a virus or wrong medication, the judge is out on that one!!! I thought I had flu! How wrong I was.

Ah well, life goes on, hope you are doing ok Love Janet xxxxxx

SAMBS in reply to Kirk5w7

Hi Janet, thanks, yes your circumstsances were awful for you. we defo agree that its effects that count more than cause, although many if not most of them are tragic. Yes doing ok, had a great day yesterday with some hours of feeling the old me was back, the sun was shining and I cleaned some windows! lol. Today very overcast and cold, lack of concentration,confusion cos computer messing me about, or its me messing computer about and feeling tired. I know weather conditions can affect many ordinary people but wonder if sometimes its possible its worse for us BI'ers? Hope you are OK also Janet. xxx

Kirk5w7 in reply to SAMBS

I definitely think the weather has a huge effect on our daily fluctuations, I've been watching the air pressure in the Manchester area there's an observatory that post this online on a minute by minute basis daily and I'm worst when the air pressure is rising or falling if it stays static it's better but if it's high that's best of all, so roll on the warm weather in the summer, if we're lucky, last summer I was so much better than I am at the moment.

My consultant thinks I'm crackers!!!!! Janet xxxxxx

SAMBS in reply to Kirk5w7

aren't we all Janet? Interesting about the Air Pressure. Shirley xxxxx

A crib-sheet would be useful for me, too..plenty of 'slow learners' amongst us! I have enough trouble remembering my own injury's abbreviations, let alone what they stand for...A comprehensive one might be a medical blizzard for me; on reflection I might make my own 'edited highlights' flashcard... Thx for the prompt, Sambs :-)

SAMBS in reply to Bards

Crib sheets are whats needed yes. Now why didn't I think of that? For me a word doc on desktop, actual physical crib sheets I would lose. I cannot organise papework anymore to save my life - unless it involves, money, insurance or its legal, then everything is now in plastic folders in lever arch files and I now have 4e answer for meor 5 of them for so many things that even they confuse me sometimes. On a good day no problem on a different or bad day just can't think or concentrate long enough. But Crib sheet on comp desktop might be answer for me.

There is a commonly used terms section on the main Headway UK website which can be found here headway.org.uk/common-brain...

It does not give many abbreviations but may help generally with some of the terminology

SAMBS in reply to iforget

thanks Iforget I hadn't even seen or noticed that on Headway or had and forgot, although when I 1st signed up as a member I thought I'd looked at everything. I'll look now and do some copying and pasting for quick referral.

Perhaps even make it an email to myself so I can keep that tab on top of email tabs when my email account is open, then I could just enter or leave that email page at will. Also star it on list so I don't delete or move it! That's a good idea isn't it?



Yes, I think this is a very good idea. It's very easy for people, particularly medical professionals, to slip into using abbreviations and medical terms to explain things, without realising that many people have never come across them before. It is usually best to ask straight away if people say anything that is not clear, however that's often easier said than done!

The page on our website that iforget highlights is our attempt to help with this. It contains the glossary from Trevor Powell's book: "Head injury: a practical guide", and does cover a lot of the most common terms. It is something that we need to expand though, so we will take a look at the best way to do this.

Our helpline receives a number of calls from people in a similar situation, and are happy to discuss in confidence some of the terms that you are unsure about.

Do feel free to ask anything and we can certainly try and help.

Best wishes,


SAMBS in reply to headwayuk

thanks very much Headway, I don't have Trevor Powell's book but I do have yor booklet Brain Injury. I also find it easier to relate to and with members on the forums and yourselves, more than books, because I am then communicating with real alive people, but certainly the terminology will help, so I better understand what they are talking about if using abbrevs.

Aberrations and jargon is a Fairly terrible way to communicate, mind you being fairly dyslexic I've always disliked both.

My short term memory that never been good to put it mildly hasn't been improved but ironically hasn't made any difference since I've always had little tricks.


hello Sambs,

I have just found this website and not been in any way Techy I am struggling. On top of that I have no idea what the abbreviations mean. I have guessed at "Brain Injury " but not really sure. I have not found anyone to talk to about my concussion and op for removal of blood clots as no-one I know has had any experience of brain injury. But to be absolutely honest neither did I!

Could someone explain some of the abbreviations. I feel an outsider!

Best wishes to you all . May you all make a good recovery


Hi Turquoise and welcome to the group. I'm so pleased you found Headway.

Like you I had a BI and also suddenly found them on the internet. Yes it is difficult to understand some of the abbreviations or not know the terminology- but its so easy to forget a lot also, which is why I return to the site and follow the posts on an almost daily basis. I hope you can find the time to read the other replies here. . Lots of helpful information in them, from those who know better than me. A lot of really friendly people here as well who are so good at answering or just commenting on anything you want to write if you are have problem concerning your Brain Injury.

When did it happen? I hope you are getting the support from family and friends that is so essential and remember you will also find many friends here because we all understand and experience the difficulties that can follow a Brain Injury, not always immediately, but can be several weeks or months later.

Good luck and best wishes.xx

You may also like...