Units in UCUM style

Hi all,

I here post a question that came up during the translation of German LOINC, including the answer from Regenstrief:

Question: In LOINC, you use e.g. the unit “1H” (one hour). UCUM notation, however, uses a “h” (small letters) for hour. We now think about what to use in German, “1H” (LOINC style) or “1h” (UCUM style). What would you prefer?

Answer: Let me check with Clem about our units representation in the Component. I would guess that we’d recommend the LOINC style unless we decide to convert the LOINC names to UCUM style (might be a good thing to consider).



Dear Phillip,

In The Netherlands I have also started to translate LOINC database items to Dutch. I ran into the same questions that you address. I choose to translate 1H to 1u (uur). In a way we follow UCUM, but also in Dutch we never use “U” for “uur”. That is not a problem, as the language variant is only used in your language area. When you exchange the LOINC code with an US lab, they will read the US meaning in their database.

I asked Daniel Vreeman about translating umol to µmol (all uses of u instead of µ). Daniel advised to keep using "u"instead of “µ”. This item is sent into the message so it depends on the computer codepage of the receiever if the code for “µ” is also a “µ” in their code codepage. If everone uses Unicode then it may be solved (I guess). For the time being we use “u”.

Dirk Bakkeren

Clinical chemist,

NVKC, The Netherlands


Within IHS we are trying to stick to UCUM style as much as possible but we use the regular style as a synonym and allow print names to be created. The UCUM code itself is stored in the LabData File thus available for electronic communication

Dave Gifford

Lab User Support Specialist