Auditing hierarchical cycles to locate other inconsistencies in the UMLS.

Michael Halper, C. Paul Morrey, Yan Chen, Gai Elhanan, George Hripcsak, Yehoshua Perl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


A cycle in the parent relationship hierarchy of the UMLS is a configuration that effectively makes some concept(s) an ancestor of itself. Such a structural inconsistency can easily be found automatically. A previous strategy for disconnecting cycles is to break them with the deletion of one or more parent relationships-irrespective of the correctness of the deleted relationships. A methodology is introduced for auditing of cycles that seeks to discover and delete erroneous relationships only. Cycles involving three concepts are the primary consideration. Hypotheses about the high probability of locating an erroneous parent relationship in a cycle are proposed and confirmed with statistical confidence and lend credence to the auditing approach. A cycle may serve as an indicator of other non-structural inconsistencies that are otherwise difficult to detect automatically. An extensive auditing example shows how a cycle can indicate further inconsistencies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)529-536
Number of pages8
JournalAMIA ... Annual Symposium proceedings / AMIA Symposium. AMIA Symposium
StatePublished - 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


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