de Sordi D, Kappen S, Otto-Sobotka F, Kulschewski A, Weyland A, Gutierrez L, Fortuny J, Reinold J, Schink T, Timmer A. Validity of hospital ICD-10-GM codes to identify anaphylaxis. Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2021 Dec;12:1643-52.


PURPOSE Anaphylaxis (ANA) is an important adverse drug reaction. We examined positive predictive values (PPV) and other test characteristics of ICD-10-GM code algorithms for detecting ANA as used in a multinational safety study (PASS).

METHODS We performed a cross-sectional study on routine data from a German academic hospital (2004–2019, age ≥ 18). Chart review was used for case verification. Potential cases were identified from the hospital administration system. The main outcome required at least one of the following: any type of specific in-hospital code (T78.2, T88.6, and T80.5) OR specific outpatient code in combination with a symptom code OR in-hospital non-specific code (T78.4, T88.7, and Y57.9) in combination with two symptom codes. PPV were calculated with 95% confidence interval. Sensitivity analyses modified type of codes, unit of analysis, verification criteria and time period. The most specific algorithm used only primary codes for ANA (numbers added in brackets).

RESULTS Four hundred and sixteen eligible cases were evaluated, and 78 (37) potential ANA cases were identified. PPV were 62.8% (95% CI 51.1–73.5) (main) and 77.4% (58.9–90.4) (most specific). PPV from all modifications ranged from 12.9% to 80.6%. The sensitivity of the main algorithm was 66.2%, specificity 91.5%, and negative predictive value 92.6%. Corresponding figures for the most specific algorithm were 32.4%, 98.0%, and 87.0%.

CONCLUSIONS The PPV of the main algorithm seems of acceptable validity for use in comparative safety research but will underestimate absolute risks by about a third. Restriction to primary discharge codes markedly improves PPV to the expense of reducing sensitivity.

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