Publication Date



Journal of Biomedical Semantics


Biomedical terminologies play a vital role in managing biomedical data. Missing IS-A relations in a biomedical terminology could be detrimental to its downstream usages. In this paper, we investigate an approach combining logical definitions and lexical features to discover missing IS-A relations in two biomedical terminologies: SNOMED CT and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) thesaurus. The method is applied to unrelated concept-pairs within non-lattice subgraphs: graph fragments within a terminology likely to contain various inconsistencies. Our approach first compares whether the logical definition of a concept is more general than that of the other concept. Then, we check whether the lexical features of the concept are contained in those of the other concept. If both constraints are satisfied, we suggest a potentially missing IS-A relation between the two concepts. The method identified 982 potential missing IS-A relations for SNOMED CT and 100 for NCI thesaurus. In order to assess the efficacy of our approach, a random sample of results belonging to the "Clinical Findings" and "Procedure" subhierarchies of SNOMED CT and results belonging to the "Drug, Food, Chemical or Biomedical Material" subhierarchy of the NCI thesaurus were evaluated by domain experts. The evaluation results revealed that 118 out of 150 suggestions are valid for SNOMED CT and 17 out of 20 are valid for NCI thesaurus.


Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine, Terminology as Topic, Vocabulary, Controlled, Logic, SNOMED CT, NCI thesaurus, Terminology quality assurance

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Neurology Commons



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