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 Chemistry and the Human Health Division (VII)

Clinical Chemistry Section
Commission on Nomenclature, Properties, and Units


Coding scheme for Properties in Laboratory Medicine (Project 710/18/87)

Since 1995, the Commission of Nomenclature, Properties and Units (C-NPU of IFCC and IUPAC) has published nine papers on a coding system (i.e. a structure or a frame for the pairs of codes and meaning) and a coding scheme (i.e. the pairs of codes and their meaning), for Properties in Laboratory Medicine. 'Meanings' can be descriptions of properties which are measured or observed in laboratory medicine. A further four papers are now added with codes in the domains of Allergology, Medical Microbiology, Pharmacology and Clinical Chemistry. The codes offer a unique and sufficient information about the properties and is therefore extremely valuable in the transfer of information between laboratories and to the end users of laboratory information. The codes make it possible to translate the data to any language automatically. So far the meanings have been tested for translation into 18 languages, including many of the European languages, Arabic and Cantonese.

The coding scheme thus comprises a total of 10083 pairs with the international coding scheme identifier "NPU" for properties, and a further 13379 pairs for elements. These latter ones are for use primarily as results of taxonomic investigations; example:

NPU16294 Secretion(Oropharynx)-Bacterium+Fungus; taxon = ATCC12600 (Staphylococcus aureus); ATCC12344 (Streptococcus pyogenes)

NPU04062 Urine-Benzodiazepines; taxon = CAS846-49-1(Lorazepam); CAS439-14-5(Diazepam)

In order to test the functionality, the coding scheme has been succesfully mapped to the various codes which are presently used in more than 50 medical laboratories in Denmark and Sweden. To accommodate national or local needs special codes can be used.

The domains presently covered by the IFCC/IUPAC coding scheme are Allergology, Clinical Chemistry, IOC prohibited Drugs, Microbiology, Pharmacology, Reproduction and Fertility, Thromboses and Haemostasis, Trace Elements. The schemes have been prepared in collaboration with professional groups and organisatons which represent the various specialities.

Coding schemes for Inborn Errors, Molecular Biology, Tissue Typing, Transfusion Medicine are to be prepared . The coding scheme is accessible on www.ifcc-iupac.suite.dk [later revised to http://dior.imt.liu.se/cnpu/ ] and for practical application, see http://www.labinfo.dk/

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> Link to Commission


Committee on Nomenclature, Properties and Units (C-NPU)
of the International Federation of
Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine and
International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry

Dr. Henrik Olesen
9 May 2000

[also published in Chem. Int. 22(6), 2000]

Page last modified 1 March 2006.
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