Validating surgical procedure codes for inflammatory bowel disease in the Swedish National Patient Register

Forss, Anders; Myrelid, Pär; Olén, Ola; Everhov, Åsa H.; Nordenvall, Caroline; Halfvarson, Jonas; Ludvigsson, Jonas F.

About 50% of patients with Crohn’s disease (CD) and about 20% of those with ulcerative colitis (UC) undergo surgery at some point during the course of the disease. The diagnostic validity of the Swedish National Patient Register (NPR) has previously been shown to be high for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), but there are little data on the validity of IBD-related surgical procedure codes.

Using patient chart data as the gold standard, surgical procedure codes registered between 1966 and 2014 in the NPR were abstracted and validated in 262 randomly selected patients with a medical diagnosis of IBD. Of these, 53 patients had reliable data about IBD-related surgery. The positive predictive value (PPV), sensitivity and specificity of the surgical procedure codes were calculated.

In total, 158 surgical procedure codes were registered in the NPR. One hundred fifty-five of these, representing 60 different procedure codes, were also present in the patient charts and validated using a standardized form. Of the validated codes 153/155 were concordant with the patient charts, corresponding to a PPV of 96.8% (95%CI = 93.9–99.1). Stratified in abdominal, perianal and other surgery, the corresponding PPVs were 94.1% (95%CI = 88.7–98.6), 100% (95%CI = 100–100) and 98.1% (95%CI = 93.1–100), respectively. Of 164 surgical procedure codes in the validated patient charts, 155 were registered in the NPR, corresponding to a sensitivity of the surgical procedure codes of 94.5% (95%CI = 89.6–99.3). The specificity of the NPR was 98.5% (95%CI = 97.6–100).

Data on IBD-related surgical procedure codes are reliable, with the Swedish National Patient Register showing a high sensitivity and specificity for such surgery.

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Also Published In

BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making

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Published Here
December 20, 2022


Epidemiology, Inflammatory bowel disease, Validation, National Patient Register, Procedure code