Medical jargon is riddled with abbreviations, many of which are universally understood and some of which are very specialized. Yes, I’m looking at you, ophthalmology and ob/gyn. 😛

Due to this variability, providers utilize abbreviations to varying degrees. In general, I like to write things out to avoid confusion across specialities, but I’ve definitely read notes which are cryptic to those outside of medicine.

A common abbreviation I’ve seen in the perioperative world is “gtt.” This shorthand is used for continuous medication drips like propofol gtt, fentanyl gtt, milrinone gtt, etc.

Gtt” is an abbreviation for “gutta”, the Latin word for “drop”. Similarly, gtts = guttae (plural) = drops. As in… the patient is on norepinephrine and insulin gtts en route to the intensive care unit. Unfortunately, I’ve seen “ggt” written instead of “gtt” as well. Knowing the Latin word has two ‘t’s might help us remember the correct abbreviation. 🙂

Instead of the three letter Latin abbreviation “gtt”, I exhaust myself by writing the four letter English word “drip.” And if I’m feeling particularly sophisticated, I might even write “infusion.” 😉

On that note, I think it sounds way cooler to say “adrenaline drip” than “epi gtt.” 😀


  1. Karin Podolski Reply

    Oh my gosh. I’ve been an RN for 20 years and never knew that! Thanks.

  2. Never thought to research the origin of he word. Thanks for sharing. I’ll pump my Med students tomorrow with this trivia

  3. I had no idea that’s what it came from… always thought it must be an acronym for something no one remembered any more ?

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