Coding of perineal lacerations and other complications of obstetric care in hospital discharge data

Patrick S. Romano, Shagufta Yasmeen, Michael E. Schembri, Janet M. Keyzer, William M. Gilbert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To assess the validity of obstetric complications, including the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) Core Measure on perineal lacerations, in the California Patient Discharge Data Set METHODS: We randomly sampled 1,611 deliveries from 52 of the 267 hospitals that performed more than 678 eligible deliveries in California in 1992-1993. We compared hospital-reported complications against our recoding of the same records. RESULTS: Third- and fourth-degree perineal lacerations were reported accurately, with estimated sensitivities exceeding 90% and positive predictive values exceeding 65% (weighted to account for the stratified sampling design) or 85% (unweighted). Based on in-depth review of discrepant cases, we estimate the actual positive predictive value at over 90%. Most coding discrepancies were between no injury and first degree, or between first and second degree. Most postpartum complications, including urinary tract and wound infections, endometritis, anesthesia complications, and postpartum hemorrhage were reported with less than 70% sensitivity, but at least 80% positive predictive value. Composite measures from HealthGrades and Solucient, which include these complication codes, also suffer from high false-negative rates. CONCLUSION: Third- and fourth-degree perineal lacerations are accurately reported on hospital discharge abstracts, confirming the validity of related quality indicators sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and JCAHO. Administrative data seem less useful for monitoring other in-hospital postpartum complications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)717-725
Number of pages9
JournalObstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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