Health administrative data are a common population-based data source for traumatic brain injury (TBI) surveillance and research; however, before using these data for surveillance, it is important to develop a validated case definition. The objective of this study was to identify the optimal International Classification of Disease , edition 10 (ICD-10), case definition to ascertain children with TBI in emergency room (ER) or hospital administrative data. We tested multiple case definitions.
Children who visited the ER were identified from the Regional Emergency Department Information System at Alberta Children’s Hospital. Secondary data were collected for children with trauma, musculoskeletal, or central nervous system complaints who visited the ER between October 5, 2005, and June 6, 2007. TBI status was determined based on chart review. Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), and negative predictive value (NPV) were calculated for each case definition.
Of 6639 patients, 1343 had a TBI. The best case definition was, “1 hospital or 1 ER encounter coded with an ICD-10 code for TBI in 1 year” (sensitivity 69.8% [95% confidence interval (CI), 67.3-72.2], specificity 96.7% [95% CI, 96.2-97.2], PPV 84.2% [95% CI 82.0-86.3], NPV 92.7% [95% CI, 92.0-93.3]). The nonspecific code S09.9 identified >80% of TBI cases in our study.
The optimal ICD-10–based case definition for pediatric TBI in this study is valid and should be considered for future pediatric TBI surveillance studies. However, external validation is recommended before use in other jurisdictions, particularly because it is plausible that a larger proportion of patients in our cohort had milder injuries.