Translating coding lists in administrative claims-based research for cardiovascular procedures

Zachary J. Wanken, Peter B. Anderson, Sarah Y. Bessen, John B. Rode, Jesse A. Columbo, Spencer W. Trooboff, Kayla O. Moore, Philip P. Goodney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: To effectively use administrative claims for healthcare research, clinical events must be inferred from coding data according to validated algorithms. In October 2015, the United States transitioned from the International Classification of Diseases Ninth Revision (ICD-9) to the Tenth Revision (ICD-10). We describe our method to derive new ICD-10 codes for outcomes after vascular procedures from our prior, validated ICD-9 codes. Methods: We began with validated ICD-9 coding lists known to represent outcomes after lower extremity revascularization, thoracic aortic endograft placement, abdominal aortic aneurysm reintervention, and carotid revascularization. We used the publicly available general equivalence mapping tools to derive corresponding ICD-10 codes for each of the ICD-9 codes in our current lists. The resulting lists were then manually reviewed by multiple authors to ensure clinical relevance for appropriate event detection. Clinically nonrelevant and duplicated codes were removed. Results: A total of 475 ICD-9 codes were translated to ICD-10 with a 98-fold increase (n = 46,630) in the total number of codes. Overall, we found that 77% of codes (n = 35,833) were either duplicated or not clinically relevant upon manual review. For example, for thoracic aortic endograft placement, 97 ICD-9 codes mapped to 14,661 ICD-10 codes in total. A total of 890 codes were removed as duplicates and 9035 codes were removed during manual clinical review. The resultant, reviewed list contained 4736 ICD-10 codes representing a 49-fold increase from the initial ICD-9 list. Findings were similar across the other procedures studied. Conclusions: ICD-10 has expanded the number of codes necessary to describe outcomes after vascular procedures. More than 75% of the codes obtained using the general equivalence mapping database were either duplicated or not clinically relevant. Manual review of codes by researchers with clinical knowledge of the procedures is imperative.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)286-292
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Vascular Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2020


  • Algorithm
  • Aortic aneurysm
  • Carotid
  • Coding
  • Outcomes research


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