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Validation of Algorithms Used to Identify Red Blood Cell Transfusion Related Admissions in Veteran Patients with End Stage Renal Disease.

Peters CB, Hansen JL, Halwani A, Cho ME, Leng J, Huynh T, Burningham Z, Caloyeras J, Matsuda T, Sauer BC. Validation of Algorithms Used to Identify Red Blood Cell Transfusion Related Admissions in Veteran Patients with End Stage Renal Disease. EGEMS (Washington, DC). 2019 Jul 3; 7(1):23.

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Background: The goal of this study was to compare the performance of several database algorithms designed to identify red blood cell (RBC) Transfusion Related hospital Admissions (TRAs) in Veterans with end stage renal disease (ESRD). Methods: Hospitalizations in Veterans with ESRD and evidence of dialysis between 01/01/2008 and 12/31/2013 were screened for TRAs using a clinical algorithm (CA) and four variations of claims-based algorithms (CBA 1-4). Criteria were implemented to exclude patients with non-ESRD-related anemia (e.g., injury, surgery, bleeding, medications known to produce anemia). Diagnostic performance of each algorithm was delineated based on two clinical representations of a TRA: RBC transfusion required to treat ESRD-related anemia on admission regardless of the reason for admission (labeled as TRA) and hospitalization for the primary purpose of treating ESRD-related anemia (labeled TRA-Primary). The performance of all algorithms was determined by comparing each to a reference standard established by medical records review. Population-level estimates of classification agreement statistics were calculated for each algorithm using inverse probability weights and bootstrapping procedures. Due to the low prevalence of TRAs, the geometric mean was considered the primary measure of algorithm performance. Results: After application of exclusion criteria, the study consisted of 12,388 Veterans with 26,672 admissions. The CA had a geometric mean of 90.8% (95% Confidence Interval: 81.8, 95.6) and 94.7% (95% CI: 80.5, 98.7) for TRA and TRA-Primary, respectively. The geometric mean for the CBAs ranged from 60.3% (95% CI: 53.2, 66.9) to 91.8% (95% CI: 86.9, 95) for TRA, and from 80.7% (95% CI: 72.9, 86.7) to 96.7% (95% CI: 94.1, 98.2) for TRA-Primary. The adjusted proportions of admissions classified as TRAs was 3.2% (95% CI: 2.8, 3.8) and TRA-Primary was 1.3% (95% CI: 1.1, 1.7). Conclusions: The CA and select CBAs were able to identify TRAs and TRA-primary with high levels of accuracy and can be used to examine anemia management practices in ESRD patients.

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