Comparison of comorbidities of stroke collected in administrative data, surveys, clinical trials and cohort studies

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Background: Administrative data are used extensively for research purposes, but there remains limited information on the quality of these data for identifying comorbidities related to stroke. Objective: To compare the prevalence of comorbidities of stroke identified using International Classification Diseases, Australian Modification (ICD-10-AM) or Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical codes, with those from (i) self-reported data and (ii) published studies. Method: The cohort included patients with stroke or transient ischaemic attack admitted to hospitals (2012–2016; Victoria and Queensland) in the Australian Stroke Clinical Registry (N = 26,111). Data were linked with hospital and pharmaceutical datasets to ascertain comorbidities using published algorithms. The sensitivity, specificity, and positive predictive value of these comorbidities were compared with survey responses from 623 patients (reference standard). An indirect comparison was also performed with clinical data from published stroke studies. Results: The sensitivity of hospital ICD-10-AM data was poor for most comorbidities, except for diabetes (93.0%). Specificity was excellent for all comorbidities (87–96%), except for hypertension (70.5%). Compared to published stroke studies (3 clinical trials and 1 incidence study), the prevalence of diabetes and atrial fibrillation in our cohort was similar using ICD-10-AM codes, but lower for dyslipidaemia and anxiety/depression. Whereas in the pharmaceutical dispensing data, the sensitivity was excellent for dyslipidaemia (94%) and modest for anxiety/depression (77%). In the pharmaceutical data, specificity was modest for hypertension (78%) and anxiety or depression (76%), but specificity was poor for dyslipidaemia (19%) and heart disease (46%). Conclusion: Variation was observed in the reporting of comorbidities of stroke in administrative data, and consideration of multiple sources of data may be necessary for research. Further work is needed to improve coding and clinical documentation for reporting of comorbidities in administrative data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-111
Number of pages8
JournalHealth Information Management Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2024


  • clinical coding
  • comorbidity
  • health information management
  • Stroke
  • validation

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