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The first word in all descriptions should be capitalized, unless it would change the meaning (e.g. pH measurement). The rest of the words in the description should be lower case.

Although this is generally true, names of people, organizations, taxonomic groups (e.g. species, genus, family), abbreviations, and some other descriptions should have the proper case. The following values, part of the SNOMED CT model component domain, provide details.

Case Sensitivity
Case Sensitivity IndicatorValuesMeaningExamples

First letter of the description may or may not be capitalized; Cannot change the case of the rest of the description

  • Family history: Alzheimer's disease (situation)
  • Born in Australia (finding)

  • Neonatal jaundice with Dubin-Johnson syndrome (disorder)
  • Borderline abnormal ECG (finding)

CSCannot change any case in the description
  • Addison's disease (disorder)
  • Down syndrome (disorder)
  • English as a second language (finding)
  • Angiokeratoma of Fordyce (disorder)
  • WBC enzyme determination (procedure)
  • pH measurement (procedure)
  • mm (qualifier value)

Entire description may be lower case

Descriptions contain names of things which do not require either capitalization at the beginning of or anywhere else in any word, i.e. there are not proper names, abbreviations, or etc.

  • Fracture of tibia (disorder)
  • Abdominal aorta angiogram (procedure)

Case sensitivity

Case sensitivity can be changed on an existing description without inactivating it.

SNOMED CT descriptions representing assessment scales and staging systems should be capitalized per the name of the scale or staging system. Legacy concepts may not follow this pattern.

For example,

    • Ages and Stages Questionnaires Third Edition (assessment scale)
    • Fagerstrom test for nicotine dependence (assessment scale)

    • National Cancer Institute histologic grading system (staging scale)
    • Clark system for melanoma staging (staging scale)

Gram staining is a common laboratory technique used to differentiate bacteria based on their cell wall constituents. Laboratory test results may be Gram positive or Gram negative. The technique was developed by a Danish physician, Hans Christian Gram. Consequently Gram, when referring to the technique, should always begin with an upper case G.

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