To validate a case definition of multiple sclerosis (MS) using health administrative data and to provide the first province-wide estimates of MS incidence and prevalence for Saskatchewan, Canada.
We used population-based health administrative data between January 1, 1996 and December 31, 2015 to identify individuals with MS using two potential case definitions: (1) ≥3 hospital, physician, or prescription claims (Marrie definition); (2) ≥1 hospitalization or ≥5 physician claims within 2 years (Canadian Chronic Disease Surveillance System [CCDSS] definition). We validated the case definitions using diagnoses from medical records (n=400) as the gold standard.
The Marrie definition had a sensitivity of 99.5% (95% confidence interval [CI] 92.3-99.2), specificity of 98.5% (95% CI 97.3-100.0), positive predictive value (PPV) of 99.5% (95% CI 97.2-100.0), and negative predictive value (NPV) of 97.5% (95% CI 94.4-99.2). The CCDSS definition had a sensitivity of 91.0% (95% CI 81.2-94.6), specificity of 99.0% (95% CI 96.4-99.9), PPV of 98.9% (95% CI 96.1-99.9), and NPV of 91.7% (95% CI 87.2-95.0). Using the more sensitive Marrie definition, the average annual adjusted incidence per 100,000 between 2001 and 2013 was 16.5 (95% CI 15.8-17.2), and the age- and sex-standardized prevalence of MS in Saskatchewan in 2013 was 313.6 per 100,000 (95% CI 303.0-324.3). Over the study period, incidence remained stable while prevalence increased slightly.
We confirm Saskatchewan has one of the highest rates of MS in the world. Similar to other regions in Canada, incidence has remained stable while prevalence has gradually increased.