Advancing excellence in laboratory medicine for better healthcare worldwide

Nomenclature, Properties and Units (C-NPU) in collaboration with International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC)

The IFCC-IUPAC coding system

Provides a terminology for Properties and Units in the Clinical Laboratory Sciences. The availability of electronic patient records would greatly increase the quality of health care, reduce health care cost and facilitate epidemiological surveys to the benefit of patient's worldwide. In developing a generalized architectural build up and adherent structures, there is a need for systems and schemes in each of the medical domains to support and populate the electronic patient record. In the domain of clinical laboratory medicine the guidelines from IFCC-IUPAC on the structuring of properties, on kind-of-properties and on units are needed if a coherent system with global acceptance is to be worked out. 

The C-NPU maintains the website below to make available the complete contents of the generic C-NPU database for electronic downloading. The website outlines the structure of the NPU terminology and provides instructions for using the database. NPU Laboratory Terminology website:

A current version of the C-NPU database (in English) is also available for direct download

A searchable database can be accessed by clicking on this link 

(last update 30th October, 2017)

IFCC-IUPAC / C-NPU documents

The background for the IFCC-IUPAC coding system for laboratory investigations is described in the publications.
Also a series of documents from the Word Health Organization, from the European Standardization Committee and many international organizations have been adhered to in the course of the project, in particular for coding of concepts defined by these organizations e.g. CAS, ATCC, UMLS, CLSI, UMD, INN, ISTH, OMIM.

C-NPU Publications 

  • "An Ontology of Property for Physical Chemical and Biological Systems", by Dr. René Dybkaer:

  • Published papers on Properties and Units in the Clinical Laboratory Sciences include:

  1. IUPAC-IFCC (International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry & International Federation of Clinical Chemistry, Commission on Clinical Chemistry), 1967. Quantities and units in clinical chemistry. Recommendation 1966. Prepared for publication by Dybkær R, Jørgensen K. Copenhagen: Munksgaard.
  2. J.C.Riggs, S.S.Brown, R.Dybkær, and H.Olesen,: Compendium of terminology and nomenclature of properties in clinical laboratory sciences ('The Silver Book'). IUPAC: Oxford: Blackwell Science, 1995, 290 pp. a volume in the IUPAC Nomenclature Books series ('The Silver Book'). Synopsis
  3. H.P. Lehmann, X.Fuentes-Arderiu and L.F.Bertello, Glossary of Terms in quantities and units in clinical Chemistry, Pure and Applied Chemistry 1996:68:957-1000.
    CEN/TC251, ENV 1614, Health Informatics - Structure for nomenclature, classification and coding of properties in clinical laboratory sciences.


Committee on Nomenclature for Properties and Units (C-NPU), in collaboration with International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC)


Name Position Country Term Time in Office
R. Flatman Chair AU 2nd 2015 01 - 2017 12
Y.B.L. Hansen Member DK 1st 2017 03 - 2019 12
A. Jabor Member CZ 2nd 2016 03 - 2018 12
F. Scherrer Member FR 1st 2015 02 - 2017 12
K. Toska Member NO 1st 2015 02 - 2017 12
R. Dybkaer Consultant DK

Working group on the Silver Book revision

Name Position Country
G. Férard Chair FR
R. Dybkaer Member DK
X. Fuentes-Arderiu Member ES
D. Kang Member JP
C. McDonald Member US
G. Hill Expert Corresponding Member CA

Terms of Reference

  • To continuously provide advice in relation to the management, updating and publishing of NPU terminology.
  • To make recommendations on NPU for reporting clinical laboratory data that conform to or adapt current standards of authoritative organizations, and that will improve their utilization for health care.
  • To provide a connection with other organizations concerned with NPU, such as the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures (BIPM), the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and, by extension, clinical laboratory sciences societies, such as the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), and the in vitro diagnostics industry, to ensure that problems encountered by health care professionals in the area of NPU are considered by those organizations.
  • To act as a consultant group on NPU in clinical chemistry and, by extension, in the rest of clinical laboratory sciences to international scientific panels, regional and national clinical laboratory sciences organizations, editors of scientific journals, manufacturers of clinical laboratory instrumentation and products, and to individual clinical laboratory professionals and other health care professionals.
  • To report and offer advice to the SD Chair and the SD Executive Committee on matters concerning NPU in all its aspects (all items above).

Current Projects

  • Transfer of the NPU generic database to IFCC site : help and advice on training the future IFCC NPU database manager(s) in relation to the installation, updating and management of the database, and on its relationship relations with other national versions.
  • Mapping of the IFCC-IUPAC laboratory coding system to SNOMED CT.
  • Securing and structural updating of information in the NPU coding system and its environment.
  • Development of an international vocabulary for nominal examinations in scientific communication.


List of Corresponding Members, nominated by National Societies

Name Full and Affiliate Member Societies
Gilbert Hill Canadian Society of Clinical Chemistry (CSCC)
Ulla Magdal Petersen Danish Society of Clinical Biochemsitry (DSKB)
Aracelis Germán Colegio Dominicano de Bionalistas (CODOBIO)
Alessandro Marocchi Italian Society of Clinical Chemistry and Clinical Molecular Biology (SIBioC)
Naohito Ishii
Japan Society of Clinical Chemistry (JSCC)
Dalius Vitkus Lithuanian Society of Laboratory Medicine
Aaron Ojule Association of Clinical Chemists Nigeria (ACCN)
Nada Majkic-Singh Society of Medical Biochemists of Serbia (DMBS)
Ariadna Padró-Miquel Sociedad Española de Bioquímica Clínica y Patología Molecular (SEQC)
Murat Bolayirli Turkish Biochemical Society (TBS)
Carlos Lacava Asociación Bioquímica Uruguaya (ABU)
Arden Forrey American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC)

List of Corresponding Members, nominated by Corporate Members


Corporate  Member
Dave Armbruster ABBOTT Diagnostics



Committee Chair's contact:

Mr.  Robert Flatman
Assistant Manager Biochemistry
Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology
PO Box 344
4068 Brisbane
Tel.: +61 7 3377 8526

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