Comparing the representation of anatomy in the FMA and SNOMED CT

AMIA Annu Symp Proc. 2006;2006:46-50.


Objective: This paper reports on the alignment between two large ontologies of anatomy: the Foundational Model of Anatomy (FMA) and the representation of anatomical structures in SNOMED CT. The objective of this study is to investigate the compatibility between a reference ontology of anatomy (the FMA, 75,019 concepts) and a representation of anatomy created for use in clinical applications (SNOMED CT, 30,933 anatomical concepts).

Methods: The alignment first identifies shared concepts lexically. The presence of shared relations across ontologies is then used to validate the mappings structurally.

Results: 8,228 mappings were identified by lexical methods, of which over 97% were supported by structural evidence. No evidence was found for 0.5% of the mappings and 2.5% received negative evidence.

Conclusions: Despite important differences in coverage and knowledge representation between the FMA and SNOMED CT, we have not noticed any major discrepancies in their representation of anatomical entities.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anatomy / classification*
  • Humans
  • Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine*
  • Vocabulary, Controlled*