PROPERTIES AND UNITS IN THE CLINICAL LABORATORY SCIENCES

II. KINDS-OF-PROPERTY

(IUPAC–IFCC Recommendations 1996)

Prepared for publication by

DESMOND KENNY1 and HENRIK OLESEN2

  1. Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children, Crumlin, Dublin 12, Ireland
  2. Dept. Of Clinical Pharmacology, Copenhagen University Hospital (Rigshospitalet), Copenhagen, Denmark
The combined Memberships of the Commission and the Committee of  IUPAC-IFCC/C-NPU during the preparation of this report (1991 to 1995) was as follows:

Chairman: 1989-1995 H Olesen (Denmark).
Members: 1983-1991 DR Bangham (United Kingdom); 1983-1991 G Férard (France); 1992-1995 X Fuentes-Arderiu (Spain); 1987-1995 JG Hill (Canada); 1985-1993 M Lauritzen (Denmark); 1985-1995 H Olesen (Denmark); 1986-1989 JC Rigg (Netherlands); 1989-1995 PL Storring (United Kingdom); 1994-1997 D Kenny (Ireland); 1994-1997 P Soares de Araujo (Brazil).

Synopsis
The document circumscribes the concept ‘kind-of-property’ (property in a general sense) and lists the kinds-of-property mostly used in the clinical laboratory sciences.
The concepts are as defined in the "Compendium of terminology and nomenclature of properties in clinical laboratory sciences", except for a few that are defined intuitively.
Each is given a unique code value and is expressed in different languages for use in the assembly of terms representing individual properties.

Preface
The present document is the second part of a series on quantities measured in the clinical laboratory sciences initiated in 1987.

The series will comprise:
 
Syntax and semantic rules
II  Kinds-of-property  (this document)
III  Elements (of properties) and their code values
IV  Properties and their code values
Properties and units in Thrombosis and Haemostasis
VI  Properties and units in IOC prohibited drugs
VII  Properties and units in Inborn Errors of Metabolism
VIII  Properties and units in Clinical Microbiology
IX Properties and units in Trace Elements
Properties and units in General Clinical Chemistry
XI  Coding systems - structure and guidelines
XII  Properties and units in Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology
XIII  Properties and units in Reproduction and Fertility
XIV Properties and units in Tumor markers
XVI  Properties and units in Clinical Allergology

The size and complexity of part III and IV is such that they will be presented in electronic format. This is for ease of handling and to facilitate expression of concepts in different languages.
The overall aim is access by electronic media of:
"Compendium of terminology and nomenclature of properties in clinical laboratory sciences".
"Glossary of terms in quantities and units in clinical chemistry".
"Properties and units in the clinical laboratory sciences".

Terms for kinds-of-property in different languages have been prepared in:
Catalan: Xavier Fuentes-Arderiu (Barcelona) on behalf of the Catalan Association for Clinical Laboratory Sciences.
Czech: Antonín Jabor (Kladno) and Bedňich Friedecký (Hradec Králové) on behalf of the Czech Society for Clinical Chemistry.
Danish: René Dybkćr (Copenhagen) on behalf of the Danish Society for Clinical Chemistry
Dutch: Jan Lindemans (Rotterdam) on behalf of the Dutch Society for Clinical Chemistry and Christopher Rigg (SL Bennekom).
Finnish: Erkki Leskinen, Raimo Tenhunen and Gunnel Sievers (Helsinki) on behalf of the Finnish Society for Clinical Chemistry.
French: Georges Férard (Strasbourg) and Robert Zender (La Chaux-de-Fonds)
German: Chris Rigg (SL Bennekom).
Italian: Giorgio De Angelis (Rome) on behalf of the Italian Society of Clinical Biochemistry and Clinical Molecular Biology and Paolo Mocarelli (Desio).
Norwegian: Johan Kofstad (Oslo) on behalf of Norwegian Society of Clinical Chemistry and Clinical Physiology.
Portuguese: Pedro Soares de Araujo (Săo Paolo) and Prof. Tiburcio.
Slovensky: Gustáv Kovác (Bratislava) on behalf of the Slovensky Society of the Clinical Biochemistry.
Spanish: Xavier Fuentes-Arderiu (Barcelona) on behalf of the Spanish Society for Clinical Biochemistry and Molecular Pathology and Luis Bertello (Acassuso).
Swedish: Carl-Henric de Verdier (Uppsala) and Anders Kallner (Stockholm) on behalf of the Swedish Society for Clinical Chemistry.
Welsh: Gerry Gold (Birmingham).

Introduction
The performance of tests in the clinical laboratory may be more formally described as the measurement or observation of properties which are attributes of patients under investigation.
In this document, the term property is used to represent the more general concept of which quantity is a sub-type. In this usage, a property may be either measurable (for example, the concentration of glucose in plasma) or non-measurable (for example, the colour of a patient’s urine -- a property which may be observed but not measured).
A measurable property is called a quantity; as yet, no standard term for non-measurable properties has entered common usage.
A formal statement of the result of a laboratory examination must include the name of the property in question.
NOTE: This may seem like stating the obvious; however, in daily practice the results of measurements are often given without any mention of the name of the quantity which is taken for granted. For example, the result of measurement of the substance concentration of glucose in plasma may be given as: "Plasma glucose = 4,5 mmol/l" or "Plasma glucose 4,5 mmol/l" or, in the worst case "glucaemia 4,5 mmol/l".
These statements are logically incomplete; they appear to assign a value to the entity "Plasma glucose", instead of to the actual quantity measured which is the plasma glucose concentration.
A structure for naming quantities in clinical laboratory sciences, first proposed in 1966, is the basis for the construction of systematic names of quantities, with the format:

System—Component; kind-of-quantity

NOTE: "Kind-of-quantity" is a special term for the name of a quantity in the most general sense, that is, the quantity without specification of the system or component. Because of the several distinct (but related) meanings of the word "quantity" in different contexts, the term "kind-of-quantity" is necessary to avoid ambiguity in documents such as this. The term is usually written with hyphens to emphasize that it is a term which represents a single concept.
To extend the application of the standard naming structure to properties which are observed but not measured, the term kind-of-property has been introduced to represent the more general concept of which kind-of-quantity is a special case. Thus the systematic name of an observable property has the structure:

System—Component; kind-of-property

This document lists kinds-of-property relevant to the needs of clinical laboratories, and are therefore needed in the construction of systematic names of the properties examined by laboratories. Most of the properties in question are measurable, i.e. they are quantities. Where this is the case, the kind-of-property may alternatively be called a kind-of-quantity.
A systematic survey of kinds-of-property and their dimensions is given in "Compendium of terminology and nomenclature of properties in clinical laboratory sciences". It comprises no less than 159 entries, out of which 42 are of dimension 'one'. The present document primarily lists the kinds-of-property used in the reporting of measurements or observations from clinical laboratories.
For purpose of facilitating transfer over language barriers, most entries are defined by reference to ref. 3 and all are given a code value for identification. The kind-of-property is then expressed by terms in different languages from the defining dimensions given in ref. 3.
The expressions are suggestions and may be replaced by other expressions identifying the same concept. For example QU50010 "substance fraction", defined in [ref. 3, para 8.11.1] can equally well be expressed as "amount fraction" or "mole fraction". QU50001 "amount of substance" [ref. 3, para 9.89.1] has the synonym "chemical amount". QU50013 "substance ratio" has the synonyms "amount ratio" and "mole ratio".
To save space, some have been given also in a contracted form. An example of the use is given for most kinds-of-property with reference (NPUxxxxx) to part IV ‘Properties and their code values’.
In a formal treatment of quantities and units a numerical value should be symbolized by {A}. In the examples given in the list of kinds-of-property a "?" has been used to represent the value of a result for properties including quantities.

References

[1] IUPAC–IFCC (International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry–International Federation of Clinical Chemistry), 1995. Properties and units in the clinical laboratory sciences. I. Syntax and semantic rules. Prepared for publication by Olesen H. Pure and Appl Chem 1995; 67: 1563-74; Eur J Clin Chem Clin Biochem 1995; 33: 627-36; Clin Chim Acta 1996; 245: S5-S21.

[2] Scientific and Standardization Committee of the ISTH (International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis) and Commission/Committee on Quantities and Units(in Clinical Chemistry) of the IUPAC–IFCC (International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry–International Federation of Clinical Chemistry, 1995. Properties and units in the clinical laboratory sciences. V. Properties and units in Thrombosis and Haemostasis. Eur J Clin Chem Clin Biochem 1995; 33: 637-60; Clin Chim Acta 1996; 245: S23-S28; Pure and Appl Chem 1997; 69: 1043-79..

[3] IUPAC–IFCC (International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry–International Federation of Clinical Chemistry), 1995. Compendium of terminology and nomenclature of properties in clinical laboratory sciences. "The Silver Book". Prepared for publication by Rigg JC, Brown SS, Dybkćr R, Olesen H. Oxford: Blackwell Science, 290 pp.

[4] Commission/Committee on Quantities and Units(in Clinical Chemistry) of the IUPAC–IFCC (International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry– International Federation of Clinical Chemistry, 1995. Glossary of terms in quantities and units in clinical chemistry. Prepared for publication by Lehmann HP, Fuentes-Arderiu X, Bertello, LF. Pure and Appl Chem 1996; 68: 957-1000; Biochim Clin 1995; 19: 471-502.

[5] CEN/TC 251, 1995. European Prestandard ENV1614:1995. Health care informatics. Structure for nomenclature, classification and coding of properties in clinical laboratory sciences.

[6] Dybkćr R, Jřrgensen K, 1967. Quantities and units in clinical chemistry. Recommendation 1966. Copenhagen: Munksgaard, 102pp.

[7] International Standards Organization. ISO 31-0, 1992. Quantities and units. Part 0: General principes.