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The following ABNF definition specifies the Brief Syntax of the SNOMED CT Expression Constraint Language.

expressionConstraint = ws ( refinedExpressionConstraint / compoundExpressionConstraint / simpleExpressionConstraint / "(" ws expressionConstraint ws ")" ) ws
simpleExpressionConstraint = [constraintOperator ws] eclFocusConcept
refinedExpressionConstraint = simpleExpressionConstraint ws ":" ws eclRefinement
compoundExpressionConstraint = conjunctionExpressionConstraint / disjunctionExpressionConstraint / exclusionExpressionConstraint
conjunctionExpressionConstraint = subExpressionConstraint 1*(ws conjunction ws subExpressionConstraint)
disjunctionExpressionConstraint = subExpressionConstraint 1*(ws disjunction ws subExpressionConstraint)
exclusionExpressionConstraint = subExpressionConstraint ws exclusion ws subExpressionConstraint
subExpressionConstraint = simpleExpressionConstraint / "(" ws expressionConstraint ws ")"
eclFocusConcept = [ memberOf ws ] (conceptReference / wildCard)
memberOf = "^"
conceptReference = conceptId [ws "|" ws term ws "|"]
conceptId = sctId
term = 1*nonwsNonPipe *( 1*SP 1*nonwsNonPipe )
wildCard = "*"
constraintOperator = childOf / descendantOrSelfOf / descendantOf / parentOf / ancestorOrSelfOf / ancestorOf
descendantOf = "<"
descendantOrSelfOf = "<<"
childOf = "<!"
ancestorOf = ">"
ancestorOrSelfOf = ">>"
parentOf = ">!"
conjunction = (("a"/"A") ("n"/"N") ("d"/"D") mws) / ","
disjunction = ("o"/"O") ("r"/"R") mws
exclusion = ("m"/"M") ("i"/"I") ("n"/"N") ("u"/"U") ("s"/"S") mws
eclRefinement = subRefinement ws [conjunctionRefinementSet / disjunctionRefinementSet]
conjunctionRefinementSet = 1*(ws conjunction ws subRefinement)
disjunctionRefinementSet = 1*(ws disjunction ws subRefinement)
subRefinement = eclAttributeSet / eclAttributeGroup / "(" ws eclRefinement ws ")"
eclAttributeSet = subAttributeSet ws [conjunctionAttributeSet / disjunctionAttributeSet]
conjunctionAttributeSet = 1*(ws conjunction ws subAttributeSet)
disjunctionAttributeSet = 1*(ws disjunction ws subAttributeSet)
subAttributeSet = eclAttribute / "(" ws eclAttributeSet ws ")"
eclAttributeGroup = ["[" cardinality "]" ws] "{" ws eclAttributeSet ws "}"
eclAttribute = ["[" cardinality "]" ws] [reverseFlag ws] [attributeOperator ws] eclAttributeName ws (expressionComparisonOperator ws expressionConstraintValue / numericComparisonOperator ws "#" numericValue / stringComparisonOperator ws QM stringValue QM)
cardinality = minValue to maxValue
minValue = nonNegativeIntegerValue
to = ".."
maxValue = nonNegativeIntegerValue / many
many = "*"
reverseFlag = "R"
attributeOperator = descendantOrSelfOf / descendantOf
eclAttributeName = conceptReference / wildCard
expressionConstraintValue = simpleExpressionConstraint / "(" ws (refinedExpressionConstraint / compoundExpressionConstraint) ws ")"
expressionComparisonOperator = "=" / "!="
numericComparisonOperator = "=" / "!=" / "<=" / "<" / ">=" / ">"
stringComparisonOperator = "=" / "!="
numericValue = decimalValue / integerValue
stringValue = 1*(anyNonEscapedChar / escapedChar)
integerValue = ( ["-"/"+"] digitNonZero *digit ) / zero
decimalValue = integerValue "." 1*digit
nonNegativeIntegerValue = (digitNonZero *digit ) / zero
sctId = digitNonZero 5*17( digit )
ws = *( SP / HTAB / CR / LF / comment ) ; optional white space
mws = 1*( SP / HTAB / CR / LF / comment ) ; mandatory white space
comment = "/*" *(nonStarChar / starWithNonFSlash) "*/"
nonStarChar = SP / HTAB / CR / LF / %x21-29 / %x2B-7E /UTF8-2 / UTF8-3 / UTF8-4
starWithNonFSlash = %x2A nonFSlash
nonFSlash = SP / HTAB / CR / LF / %x21-2E / %x30-7E /UTF8-2 / UTF8-3 / UTF8-4
SP = %x20 ; space
HTAB = %x09 ; tab
CR = %x0D ; carriage return
LF = %x0A ; line feed
QM = %x22 ; quotation mark
BS = %x5C ; back slash
digit = %x30-39
zero = %x30
digitNonZero = %x31-39
nonwsNonPipe = %x21-7B / %x7D-7E / UTF8-2 / UTF8-3 / UTF8-4
anyNonEscapedChar = SP / HTAB / CR / LF / %x20-21 / %x23-5B / %x5D-7E / UTF8-2 / UTF8-3 / UTF8-4
escapedChar = BS QM / BS BS
UTF8-2 = %xC2-DF UTF8-tail
UTF8-3 = %xE0 %xA0-BF UTF8-tail / %xE1-EC 2( UTF8-tail ) / %xED %x80-9F UTF8-tail / %xEE-EF 2( UTF8-tail )
UTF8-4 = %xF0 %x90-BF 2( UTF8-tail ) / %xF1-F3 3( UTF8-tail ) / %xF4 %x80-8F 2( UTF8-tail )
UTF8-tail = %x80-BF



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