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Subclinical disease refers to the initial period of a disease when no symptoms or signs have yet manifested. It is often used for infective disease.
In a radiology context it may be used for an abnormal radiology finding which has not yet become apparent clinically, e.g. a mild inguinal hernia may be incidentally found on CT or ultrasound, but the patient has not yet become aware of its existence (and may never).
Many subclinical states never become clinical and therefore the fact that someone might have subclinical hypothyroidism on a laboratory assay does not mean that they will ever present with overt symptoms or signs.
- 1. William Alexander Newman Dorland. Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary. (2018) ISBN: 9781416023647