Lars Jørgen Østergaard

Validity of the coding for herpes simplex encephalitis in the Danish National Patient Registry

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BACKGROUND: Large health care databases are a valuable source of infectious disease epidemiology if diagnoses are valid. The aim of this study was to investigate the accuracy of the recorded diagnosis coding of herpes simplex encephalitis (HSE) in the Danish National Patient Registry (DNPR).

METHODS: The DNPR was used to identify all hospitalized patients, aged ≥15 years, with a first-time diagnosis of HSE according to the International Classification of Diseases, tenth revision (ICD-10), from 2004 to 2014. To validate the coding of HSE, we collected data from the Danish Microbiology Database, from departments of clinical microbiology, and from patient medical records. Cases were classified as confirmed, probable, or no evidence of HSE. We estimated the positive predictive value (PPV) of the HSE diagnosis coding stratified by diagnosis type, study period, and department type. Furthermore, we estimated the proportion of HSE cases coded with nonspecific ICD-10 codes of viral encephalitis and also the sensitivity of the HSE diagnosis coding.

RESULTS: We were able to validate 398 (94.3%) of the 422 HSE diagnoses identified via the DNPR. Hereof, 202 (50.8%) were classified as confirmed cases and 29 (7.3%) as probable cases providing an overall PPV of 58.0% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 53.0-62.9). For "Encephalitis due to herpes simplex virus" (ICD-10 code B00.4), the PPV was 56.6% (95% CI: 51.1-62.0). Similarly, the PPV for "Meningoencephalitis due to herpes simplex virus" (ICD-10 code B00.4A) was 56.8% (95% CI: 39.5-72.9). "Herpes viral encephalitis" (ICD-10 code G05.1E) had a PPV of 75.9% (95% CI: 56.5-89.7), thereby representing the highest PPV. The estimated sensitivity was 95.5%.

CONCLUSION: The PPVs of the ICD-10 diagnosis coding for adult HSE in the DNPR were relatively low. Hence, the DNPR should be used with caution when studying patients with encephalitis caused by herpes simplex virus.

Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical epidemiology
Pages (from-to)133-40
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2016

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