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Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2006 Jul 15;24(2):299-306.

Validation of administrative data used for the diagnosis of upper gastrointestinal events following nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug prescription.

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Houston Center for Quality of Care and Utilization Studies, Section of Health Services Research, Houston, TX, USA.



To validate veterans affairs (VA) administrative data for the diagnosis of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)-related upper gastrointestinal events (UGIE) and to develop a diagnostic algorithm.


A retrospective study of veterans prescribed an NSAID as identified from the national pharmacy database merged with in-patient and out-patient data, followed by primary chart abstraction. Contingency tables were constructed to allow comparison with a random sample of patients prescribed an NSAID, but without UGIE. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was used to derive a predictive algorithm. Once derived, the algorithm was validated in a separate cohort of veterans.


Of 906 patients, 606 had a diagnostic code for UGIE; 300 were a random subsample of 11 744 patients (control). Only 161 had a confirmed UGIE. The positive predictive value (PPV) of diagnostic codes was poor, but improved from 27% to 51% with the addition of endoscopic procedural codes. The strongest predictors of UGIE were an in-patient ICD-9 code for gastric ulcer, duodenal ulcer and haemorrhage combined with upper endoscopy. This algorithm had a PPV of 73% when limited to patients >or=65 years (c-statistic 0.79). Validation of the algorithm revealed a PPV of 80% among patients with an overlapping NSAID prescription.


NSAID-related UGIE can be assessed using VA administrative data. The optimal algorithm includes an in-patient ICD-9 code for gastric or duodenal ulcer and gastrointestinal bleeding combined with a procedural code for upper endoscopy.

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