Validity of administrative claims-based algorithms for ventricular arrhythmia and cardiac arrest in the pediatric population

Czaja AS, Collins K, Valuck RJ, Anderson HD, Ghosh D, Davidson JA.
Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2020 Apr 13. doi: 10.1002/pds.5001. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 32283564
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Purpose: Identify administrative claims-based algorithms for capturing out-of-hospital ventricular arrhythmias (VA) and cardiac arrests (CA) due to cardiac causes in the pediatric population with high positive-predictive value (PPV).

Methods: Within a single pediatric center, a retrospective cohort of patients hospitalized or seen in the emergency room for VA or CA were identified from the electronic health records. Eligible encounters were blindly reviewed and linked to administrative data, including ICD-9/ICD-10 codes. Test characteristics, including PPV, for different diagnostic and procedure codes were generated using a 50% training sample. The gold standard was definite or suspected out-of-hospital VA or CA due to cardiac cause verified based on clinical criteria. Algorithms with the highest PPV were then applied to a 50% validation sample to validate performance.

Results: From 2004-2017, 598 encounters met eligibility criteria. 174 (29%) had an outcome of interest, with remainder being an inpatient event or CA due to other cause. Within the training sample (n = 263), VA codes in primary position had a PPV 94% (95%CI 81%-99%) with low sensitivity (44%, 95%CI 33%-56%). CA codes in any position or VA codes in nonprimary positions had low PPV (18%-19%, 31% respectively). Applying the top three performing algorithms to the validation sample (n = 252) yielded similar PPV values.

Conclusions: Contrary to adults, algorithms including a CA code do not perform well for identifying out-of-hospital VA and CA due to cardiac cause in the pediatric populations. Researchers should be aware of the potential implications for future pediatric drug safety studies for these outcomes.