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Thromb Res. 2010 Jul;126(1):61-7. doi: 10.1016/j.thromres.2010.03.009. Epub 2010 Apr 28.

Evaluation of the predictive value of ICD-9-CM coded administrative data for venous thromboembolism in the United States.

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  • 1Division of General Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA, USA.



To determine the positive predictive value of International Classification of Disease, 9th Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM) discharge codes for acute deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism.


Retrospective review of 3456 cases hospitalized between 2005 and 2007 that had a discharge code for venous thromboembolism, using 3 sample populations: a single academic hospital, 33 University HealthSystem Consortium hospitals, and 35 community hospitals in a national Joint Commission study. Analysis was stratified by position of the code in the principal versus a secondary position.


Among 1096 cases that had a thromboembolism code in the principal position the positive predictive value for any acute venous thrombosis was 95% (95%CI:93-97), whereas among 2360 cases that had a thromboembolism code in a secondary position the predictive value was lower, 75% (95%CI:71-80). The corresponding positive predictive values for lower extremity deep-vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism were 91% (95%CI:86-95) and 50% (95%CI:41-58), respectively. More highly defined codes had higher predictive value. Among codes in a secondary position that were false positive, 22% (95%CI:16-27) had chronic/prior venous thrombosis, 15% (95%CI:10-19) had an upper extremity thrombosis, 6% (95%CI:4-8) had a superficial vein thrombosis, and 7% (95%CI:4-13) had no mention of any thrombosis.


ICD-9-CM codes for venous thromboembolism had high predictive value when present in the principal position, and lower predictive value when in a secondary position. New thromboembolism codes that were added in 2009 that specify chronic thrombosis, upper extremity thrombosis and superficial venous thrombosis should reduce the frequency of false-positive thromboembolism codes.

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