H & P (History & Physical) vs. HNP (Herniated Nucleus Pulposus or Spinal Disc Herniation)

Two acronyms that confused me early on in my career were “H & P” and “HNP” because they sound exactly the same and few people enunciate clearly enough to distinguish the difference.  The context will tell you the difference, but for anyone new to healthcare the context might be just as confusing.

H & P – History and Physical

An H & P may be performed upon a patient’s admission to the hospital, prior to a surgery/procedure, or as part of a new patient visit.  An H & P includes:

  • History of Present Illness
  • Past Medical History
  • Family History
  • Review of Systems
  • Physical Examination
  • Problem List
  • Assessment
  • Plan

Herniated Nucleus Pulposus or Herniated Disk

A herniated (slipped) disk occurs when all or part of a spinal disk is forced through a weakened part of the disk. This places pressure on nearby nerves.  Also referred to as Lumbar radiculopathy; Cervical radiculopathy; Herniated intervertebral disk; Prolapsed intervertebral disk; Slipped disk; Ruptured disk. (1-2010)

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