SNOMED CT is a clinical terminology with a comprehensive coverage of wide clinical specialties and requirements. The development and maintenance of SNOMED CT relies on description logics (DL) and its reasoning capabilities. In order to correctly interpret SNOMED CT’s concept definitions, it is essential to clearly understand the translation between SNOMED CT’s structures and their DL meaning.


The purpose of this document is to define the description logic fragment or feature set (analogous to an OWL2 profile with which SNOMED CT content is described.


This document presents the specification of the set of description logic features and constructs valid for use within SNOMED International. The meaning of SNOMED CT concepts in a SNOMED CT International release is guaranteed to be limited to the features and constructs defined in this specification.

SNOMED CT extensions may choose to include features or constructs not included in this specification. However, any extended set of features must be formally specified and clearly advertised. This document does not specify the feature set of any extension.

This document specifies the set of description logic features available to define content in the International release of SNOMED CT.  However, it does not provide specifications of how these features or constructs are represented, distributed, or translated. While these are also important topics, they are out of scope for this document.


The target audiences of this document includes:

  • SNOMED CT National Release Centers;
  • SNOMED CT terminology content developers, technical developers;
  • SNOMED CT implementers and analysts including developers of EHR information systems.

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