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Analyzing Radiology Terms in LOINC: Anatomic Location

 “Head, shoulders, knees and toes! Knees and Toes!” Remember that little ditty from when you were a child? If only anatomy was that easy to memorize! Let’s take a closer look at the LOINC part of “system” in respect to radiology. When we use anatomic terms in the “system” slot, we can refer to this as the Anatomic Location. The Anatomic Location terms are generally drawn from the RadLex anatomic hierarchy. If we break down the LOINC part of Anatomic Location, we have 2 sub-attributes:    TransparentBodies400

  1.  Region Imaged – used as a coarse-grained descriptor or grouper
  2.  Imaging Focus – used as a more fine-grained descriptor

Anatomic Location also has a supersystem that identifies the subject of observation which by default is the Patient. If it is other than the patient, it will be noted here, for example, “fetus”.

Body site laterality is also very important to note. Many imaging studies require a laterality in order to be performed. Laterality can be Left, Right, Bilateral, Unilateral or Unspecified.

Anatomic Location primarily uses 6 types of operators:

  1.  “.” Dot – used between the Imaging Focus and the Anatomic Location to specify a more granular focus
  2.  “+” Plus – used to combine atoms
  3.  “&” Ampersand – used to separate Region Imaged and Imaging Focus pairs when imaging more than one anatomic location across more than one region
  4.  “&&” Double Ampersand – necessary to specify multiple values for 2 or more specific attributes or components; for example, a radiograph of the ribs often includes the radiograph of the chest.
  5.  “^” Carat – identifies the origin of the specimen if not the patient
  6.  “>” Greater Than – used exclusively to separate the Region Imaged from the anatomic Imaging Focus

Here are some examples that break down how the LOINC part of Anatomic Location is formatted:

Anatomic Location LOINC Part Format  LOINC Code LOINC Common Name  Example of Anatomic Location
 Anatomic Location.Imaging Focus  37503-0 MRA Thoracic spine vessels W contrast IV  Chest>Spine.thoracic vessels
 Anatomic Location>Imaging Focus  79095-6  CT Teeth  Head>Teeth
 Anatomic Location.Laterality  30795-9  MR Breast - bilateral  Breast.bilateral
 Anatomic Location^Origin of Specimen  12086-5  Fetal Heart valves Study observation US  Heart.valves^Fetus
 “&”  37658-2  XR Thoracic and lumbar spine 2 Views for scoliosis  Chest>Spine.thoracic & Abdomen>Spine.lumbar
 “&&”  42165-1  XR Ribs Views and Chest PA  Chest>Ribs && Chest
 “+”  24880-7  MR Pituitary and Sella turcica  Head>Pituitary+Sella turcica


Please contact us if you have questions or suggestions for future topics of discussion, or for help implementing or mapping to standard terminologies.