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Can J Surg. 2012 Feb;55(1):21-6. doi: 10.1503/cjs.017510.

Overcoming barriers to population-based injury research: development and validation of an ICD10-to-AIS algorithm.

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Department of Surgery, St. Michael's Hospital, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ont.



Hospital administrative databases are a useful source of population-level data on injured patients; however, these databases use the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) system, which does not provide a direct means of estimating injury severity. We created and validated a crosswalk to derive Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS) scores from injury-related diagnostic codes in the tenth revision of the ICD (ICD-10).


We assessed the validity of the crosswalk using data from the Ontario Trauma Registry Comprehensive Data Set (OTRCDS). The AIS and Injury Severity Scores (ISS) derived using the algorithm were compared with those assigned by expert abstractors. We evaluated the ability of the algorithm to identify patients with AIS scores of 3 or greater. We used κ and intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) as measures of concordance.


In total, 10 431 patients were identified in the OTRCDS. The algorithm accurately identified patients with at least 1 AIS score of 3 or greater (κ 0.65), as well as patients with a head AIS score of 3 or greater (κ 0.78). Mapped and abstracted ISS were similar; ICC across the entire cohort was 0.83 (95% confidence interval 0.81-0.84), indicating good agreement. When comparing mapped and abstracted ISS, the difference between scores was 10 or less in 87% of patients. Concordance between mapped and abstracted ISS was similar across strata of age, mechanism of injury and mortality.


Our ICD-10-to-AIS algorithm produces reliable estimates of injury severity from data available in administrative databases. This algorithm can facilitate the use of administrative data for population-based injury research in jurisdictions using ICD-10.

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