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The Description holds descriptions that describe SNOMED CT concepts. A description is used to give meaning to a concept and provide well-understood and standard ways of referring to a concept.

Table 4.2.2-1: Description file - Detailed Specification


Field

Data type

Purpose

Part of Primary Key

id

SCTID

Uniquely identifies the description.

NO

YES
(Full/Snapshot) 

effectiveTime

Time

Specifies the inclusive date at which the component version's state became the then current valid state of the component

Note: In distribution files the effectiveTime should follow the short ISO date format (YYYYMMDD) and should not include the hours, minutes, seconds or timezone indicator.

YES

YES (Full)
Optional (Snapshot) 

active

Boolean

Specifies whether the state of the description was active or inactive from the nominal release date specified by the effectiveTime .

YES

NO

moduleId

SCTID

Identifies the description version's module. Set to a child of 900000000000443000 |Module|within the metadata hierarchy.

YES

NO

conceptId

SCTID

Identifies the concept to which this description applies. Set to the identifier of a concept in the 138875005 |SNOMED CT Concept| hierarchy within the Concept. Note that a specific version of a description is not directly bound to a specific version of the concept to which it applies. Which version of a description applies to a concept depends on its effectiveTime and the point in time at which it is accessed.

NO

NO

languageCode

String

Specifies the language of the description text using the two character ISO-639-1 code. Note that this specifies a language level only, not a dialect or country code.

NO

NO

typeId

SCTID

Identifies whether the description is fully specified name a synonym or other description type. This field is set to a child of 900000000000446008 |Description type|in the Metadata hierarchy.

NO

NO

term

String

The description version's text value, represented in UTF-8 encoding.

YES

NO

caseSignificanceId

SCTID

Identifies the concept enumeration value that represents the case significance of this description version. For example, the term may be completely case sensitive, case insensitive or initial letter case insensitive. This field will be set to a child of 900000000000447004 |Case significance|within the metadata hierarchy.

YES

NO

Only one description record with the same id field will be current at any point in time. The current record will be the one with the most recent effectiveTime before or equal to the point in time under consideration.

If the active field of this record is false ('0'), then the description is inactive at that point in time. If the active field is true ('1'), then the description is associated with the concept identified by the conceptId field.

The conceptId field, the languageCode field and the typeId field will not change between two rows with the same id, in other words they are immutable. Where a change is required to one of these fields, then the component will be inactivated (by appending a row with the same id and the active field set to false) and a another row will be added representing a new component with a new id. Only limited changes may be made to the term field, as defined by editorial rules.

Each concept will have at least one active description with a typeId of 900000000000013009 |synonym|and at least one active description with a  typeId of 900000000000003001 |Fully specified name|.

Where a concept only has one active description with a typeId of 900000000000003001 |Fully specified name|across all language codes within a release, then that Description can be taken as the Fully Specified Name for all languages and dialects, and need not be explicitly included in every language reference set associated with that release.

The term field will be restricted as follows:

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