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Can J Cardiol. 2010 Oct;26(8):306-12.

Administrative data have high variation in validity for recording heart failure.

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Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.



Many studies have relied on administrative data to identify patients with heart failure (HF).


To systematically review studies that assessed the validity of administrative data for recording HF.


English peer-reviewed articles (1990 to 2008) validating International Classification of Diseases (ICD)-8, -9 and -10 codes from administrative data were included. An expert panel determined which ICD codes should be included to define HF. Frequencies of ICD codes for HF were calculated using up to the 16 diagnostic coding fields available in the Canadian hospital discharge abstract during fiscal years 2000⁄2001 and 2005⁄2006.


Between 1992 and 2008, more than 70 different ICD codes for defining HF were used in 25 published studies. Twenty-one studies validated hospital discharge abstract data; three studies validated physician claims and two studies validated ambulatory care data. Eighteen studies reported sensitivity (range 29% to 89%). Specificity and negative predictive value were greater than 70% across 17 studies. Nineteen studies reported positive predictive values (range 12% to 100%). Ten studies reported kappa values (range 0.39 to 0.84). For Canadian hospital discharge data, ICD-9 and -10 codes 428 and I50 identified HF in 5.50% and 4.80% of discharge records, respectively. Additional HF-related ICD-9 and -10 codes did not impact HF prevalence.


The ICD-9 and -10 codes 428 and I50 were the most commonly used to define HF in hospital discharge data. Validity of administrative data in recording HF varied across the studies and data sources that were assessed.

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