Although healthcare administrative data are commonly used for traumatic brain injury (TBI) research, there is currently no consensus or consistency on the International Classification of Diseases Version 10 (ICD-10) codes used to define TBI among children and youth internationally. This study systematically reviewed the literature to explore the range of ICD-10 codes that are used to define TBI in this population. The identification of the range of ICD-10 codes to define this population in administrative data is crucial, as it has implications for policy, resource allocation, planning of healthcare services, and prevention strategies.
The databases MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process, Embase, PsychINFO, CINAHL, SPORTDiscus, and Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews were systematically searched. Grey literature was searched using Grey Matters and Google. Reference lists of included articles were also searched for relevant studies. Two reviewers independently screened all titles and abstracts using pre-defined inclusion and exclusion criteria. A full text screen was conducted on articles that met the first screen inclusion criteria. All full text articles that met the pre-defined inclusion criteria were included for analysis in this systematic review.
A total of 1,326 publications were identified through the predetermined search strategy and 32 articles/reports met all eligibility criteria for inclusion in this review. Five articles specifically examined children and youth aged 19 years or under with TBI. ICD-10 case definitions ranged from the broad injuries to the head codes (ICD-10 S00 to S09) to concussion only (S06.0). There was overwhelming consensus on the inclusion of ICD-10 code S06, intracranial injury, while codes S00 (superficial injury of the head), S03 (dislocation, sprain, and strain of joints and ligaments of head), and S05 (injury of eye and orbit) were only used by articles that examined head injury, none of which specifically examined children and youth.
This review provides evidence for discussion on how best to use ICD codes for different goals. This is an important first step in reaching an appropriate definition and can inform future work on reaching consensus on the ICD-10 codes to define TBI for this vulnerable population.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12883-015-0259-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.