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DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2024.8255; PMCID: PMC11043895


IMPORTANCE: Studies of influenza in children commonly rely on coded diagnoses, yet the ability of International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision codes to identify influenza in the emergency department (ED) and hospital is highly variable. The accuracy of newer International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) codes to identify influenza in children is unknown.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the accuracy of ICD-10 influenza discharge diagnosis codes in the pediatric ED and inpatient settings.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Children younger than 18 years presenting to the ED or inpatient settings with fever and/or respiratory symptoms at 7 US pediatric medical centers affiliated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-sponsored New Vaccine Surveillance Network from December 1, 2016, to March 31, 2020, were included in this cohort study. Nasal and/or throat swabs were collected for research molecular testing for influenza, regardless of clinical testing. Data, including ICD-10 discharge diagnoses and clinical testing for influenza, were obtained through medical record review. Data analysis was performed in August 2023.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: The accuracy of ICD-10-coded discharge diagnoses was characterized using molecular clinical or research laboratory test results as reference. Measures included sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), and negative predictive value (NPV). Estimates were stratified by setting (ED vs inpatient) and age (0-1, 2-4, and 5-17 years).

RESULTS: A total of 16 867 children in the ED (median [IQR] age, 2.0 [0.0-4.0] years; 9304 boys [55.2%]) and 17 060 inpatients (median [IQR] age, 1.0 [0.0-4.0] years; 9798 boys [57.4%]) were included. In the ED, ICD-10 influenza diagnoses were highly specific (98.0%; 95% CI, 97.8%-98.3%), with high PPV (88.6%; 95% CI, 88.0%-89.2%) and high NPV (85.9%; 95% CI, 85.3%-86.6%), but sensitivity was lower (48.6%; 95% CI, 47.6%-49.5%). Among inpatients, specificity was 98.2% (95% CI, 98.0%-98.5%), PPV was 82.8% (95% CI, 82.1%-83.5%), sensitivity was 70.7% (95% CI, 69.8%-71.5%), and NPV was 96.5% (95% CI, 96.2%-96.9%). Accuracy of ICD-10 diagnoses varied by patient age, influenza season definition, time between disease onset and testing, and clinical setting.

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: In this large cohort study, influenza ICD-10 discharge diagnoses were highly specific but moderately sensitive in identifying laboratory-confirmed influenza; the accuracy of influenza diagnoses varied by clinical and epidemiological factors. In the ED and inpatient settings, an ICD-10 diagnosis likely represents a true-positive influenza case.

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JAMA Netw Open





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MeSH Keywords

Humans; Influenza, Human; International Classification of Diseases; Child; Child, Preschool; Male; Female; Infant; Adolescent; United States; Emergency Service, Hospital; Sensitivity and Specificity; Cohort Studies


Human Influenza; International Classification of Diseases; United States; Hospital Emergency Service; Sensitivity and Specificity; Cohort Studies


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