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Unified Medical Language System (UMLS)

UMLS Vocabularies

MEDLINEPLUS (MedlinePlus Health Topics) - Source Representation


Summary of Changes:

HT codes (e.g., 1, 2, 3) were prefixed with 'HT' (e.g., HT1, HT2, HT3).

Source-Provided Files: Summary

The following MedlinePlus files are used for Metathesaurus processing. Additional information about the files can be accessed at

XML Data Files

File Name Description

Contains information on all MedlinePlus health topics including:  topic name; URL; creation date; associated terminology (synonyms, see references and MeSH headings); group membership.

mplus_topic_groups_2020-11-25.xml Contains information on all health topic groups on MedlinePlus.

Not included:

Spanish language content is not included in the Metathesaurus. 

Source-Provided Files: Details

The source representation documentation below is based on published MedlinePlus documentation describing XML data elements. Details from this document that are not relevant to Metathesaurus processing have been removed for cleaner presentation. For each XML data element, the table below describes where the data can be found in the RRF format. Redundant data elements may not be processed directly for inclusion in the Metathesaurus.

The following is a list of elements available for MedlinePlus data in XML format.

File:  mplus_topics_YYYY-MM-DD.xml

Element Representation
Each MedlinePlus topic represented by the file has its own <health-topic> element. The attributes for this element include:

meta-desc - a short description (200 characters maximum) summarizing the page content. Its use on MedlinePlus provides a description of the page for social sharing and external search engines.
id - the unique internal identification number assigned to each topic by the MedlinePlus system.
language - the language of this topic. This can be either English or Spanish, with English as the default.
title - name of the health topic page on MedlinePlus.
date-created - the date the health topic was first available on the MedlinePlus site.
url - the URL for the corresponding health topic page on MedlinePlus.

health-topic meta-desc: MRSAT.ATN = SOS
health-topic id: MRCONSO.CODE
health-topic language: MRCONSO.LAT, MRSAB.LAT (only English terms from MedlinePlus are included in the Metathesaurus).
health-topic title: MRCONSO.STR, TTY = PT
health-topic url: integrated with the meta-desc data into MRSAT.ATN = SOS
health-topic date-created: MSAT.ATN = DATE_CREATED
Synonyms associated with the topic. A topic may have zero or more synonyms.
Example: <also-called>Bellyache</also-called>

The full text of the health topic summary. There is one <full-summary> per <health-topic>.

See references associated with the <health-topic>. There may be 0 or more see references per topic.
Example: <see-reference>Pain, Abdominal</see-reference>

Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) associated with the <health-topic>. There may be more than one <mesh-heading> per topic. This tag includes the following elements:

<descriptor> with an id attribute
Refers to the Medical Subject Heading associated with the topic.
Example: <descriptor id="D001132">Arm</descriptor>

<qualifier> with an id attribute
Refers to the Medical Subject Heading subheadings associated with the <descriptor>.
Example: <qualifier id="Q000503">physiopathology</qualifier>

MRREL.REL = RQ (for descriptor), MRREL.REL=RO (for qualifier)
MRREL.RELA = mapped_from/mapped_to (for descriptor), MRREL.RELA = mapping_qualifier_of/has_mapping_qualifier(for qualifier)

Note: Because the combination of the Descriptor and Qualifier taken together represent the expressed relationship, the pair of rels are given a relationship group code to link them together.
Refers to the health topic group of which the <health-topic> is a member. A <health-topic> must be a member of at least one group; it may be a member of several groups. The attributes for this element include:

id - the unique identification number for the health topic group
url - the URL of the health topic group page
Example: <group url="" id="2">Digestive System</group>

Group information is used to create the hierarchy, as represented in MRHIER.
The related health topic(s) associated with the <health-topic>. This element can occur 0 or more times. The attributes for this element include:

id - the unique internal identification number assigned to each health topic
url - the related topic URL
Example: <related-topic url="" id="351">Pain</related-topic>

MRREL.RELA = "related_to"
For English topics, this is the equivalent Spanish health topic. For Spanish topics, this is the equivalent English health topic.
Example: <language-mapped-topic url="" id="2238" language="Spanish">Aborto</language-mapped-topic>

Not applicable, since Spanish is not included in the Metathesaurus.
The other language(s) associated with the health topic.
Example: <other-language vernacular-name="espanol" url="">Spanish</other-language>

Health topics may have a primary National Institutes of Health assigned to them.
Example: <primary-institute url="">National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders</primary-institute>

For every health topic there will be at least one site record.
title=MEDLINEPLUS (MedlinePlus Health Topics) - Source Representation
Not processed.

File:  mplus_topic_groups_YYYY-MM-DD.xml

Element Representation
Indicates group name. The attributes for this element include:

language - Spanish-language groups are not included in the Metathesaurus.
id - identifical number
name - name of the health topic group
url - URL for the health topic group
Example: <group language="English" id="1" url="">Cancers</group>
group language: process only English entries
group id: MRCONSO.CODE
group name: MRCONSO.STR, TTY= HT