Difference between 'Active', 'Inactive' and 'History of' types of conditions

Hi guys!

While looking at providing french translations I really find it hard to translate ‘Active’, ‘Inactive’ and ‘History Of’ types of conditions.

I guess this is because I don’t fully understand what those are.

Would someone be able to give me few examples of each possible type of conditions? (especially ‘History of’ actually)


“Condition” itself.

“Condition” does not exist in French really.

I would tend to translate this as ‘Maladie Chronique’. From talking to doctors around here, it seems that ‘Maladie chronique’ does refer to a disease that the patient has for life, or for a long time at least. Is this what a condition is?

I guess ‘Chronic Disease’ would be an equivalent in English.

Is condition = chronic disease?

This is probably not correct. A condition can be any problem facing the patient. Conditions are problems or diagnoses. The reason that there are different names for inactive problems and history of problems is because they required different back-end codes. An active problem, which becomes inactive because the problem resolved, is initially coded as the active problem, but then flagged as no longer active (usually to be suppressed in a list). Not all inactive problems warrant being included in the past medical history section. When things get moved to past history they also should be stored as the acute code, but be prefixed with the past medical history section. Some past medical history items are so important, they remain as active problems (for example, history of a heart attack). Even though the heart attack is no longer active, the fact that the patient had one still remains on the problem or condition list… this time as History of Myocardial Infarction. Does that make sense?

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Condition or problem list is used to list the current diagnoses/problems that the patient is being treated for. Some of these can be short-lived, others can be chronic or lifelong.

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Clinically, we often keep a list of relevant clinical conditions for a patient that help us frame the patient from a clinical perspective. For example, here are three very different people (clinically speaking):

  1. 49 year-old male with type 2 diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and history of stroke
  2. 47 year-old female with active pregnancy, chronic cough, mild intermittent asthma, and history of depression
  3. 48 year-old with no significant past medical history

Historically, we referred to a “Problem List” to keep a list of relevant medical issues for a patient. Over the past decade or more, “Problem List” was transitioned to “Condition List” since many conditions are not considered “problems” (e.g., people don’t like referring to pregnancy as a problem). So, “Condition” is referring to any medical condition that helps to define the patient’s clinical state. So, in French, if I described a patient with asthma, diabetes, and a persistent cough, you would say they have three ___________. ← that’s the word you need. :slightly_smiling_face: In English, we fill the blank with “conditions.” Diagnosis doesn’t quite fit, since the list can contain findings and symptoms (that have not been or may never be) fully diagnosed, like “cough” or “big hairy bump on back that has been biopsied and tested and nobody knows what it is, but we want to keep an eye on it to make sure it isn’t growing over time.”

“Active” and “Inactive” or used to determine whether or not something is on the list or not. Note that something could be clinically inactive, but still clinically relevant, so may be “active” to keep it on the list. For example, “recurrent depression” may be clinically quiescent (the patient is currently depressed) for years, but important to keep in mind since it could affect which medicine you choose to treat another problem, so you may keep it “active” (on the list). On the other hand, “presbyopia” (difficulty focusing up close as we age) may be chronically true for the patient, but deemed clinically significant so made “inactive” to get it off the list.

“History of” is used to distinguish between something that is happening now versus happened in the past. While there are many maladies that come & go and, once resolved, are no longer significant (e.g., a brief bout of diarrhea you had three years ago), some things that have resolved even years ago remain clinically significant. For example, a “History of Stroke” or “History of Psychotic Depression” may be kept on the patient’s condition list even if the condition resolved years ago, because they would influence your thoughts & actions if the patient presented today with unusual behavior.


Thanks for the great explanation @akanter and @burke.

… I would say they have three “pathologies”, “problèmes”, “maladies”.

However, it won’t quite fit to the pregnancy case really :thinking:

We also have this: “antécédants médicaux”, which could match to conditions, but implies that this is in the past.

I guess we’ll go for “pathologies” (as this is commonly used in doctor’s language here) and we’ll translate the statuses as: “Actif”, “Inactif” and “Antécédant”

I’ll get feedback from the doctors directly on site on the next visit (that’s for Haiti). Maybe PIH team actually already has a translation for this @mseaton @ball?