Background: The aim of this study was to determine the validity of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) diagnosis coding in the National Health Insurance Research Database (NHIRD) by cross-comparisons of discharge diagnoses listed in the NHIRD with those in the medical records obtained from a medical center in Taiwan. Methods: This was a cross-sectional study comparing records in the NHIRD and discharge notes in one medical center (DNMC) in the year 2008. Positive predictive values (PPVs) for AMI diagnoses were evaluated by reviewing the relevant clinical and laboratory data recorded in the discharge notes of the medical center. Agreement in comorbidities, cardiac procedures, and antiplatelet agent (aspirin or clopidogrel) prescriptions between the two databases was evaluated. Results: We matched 341 cases of AMI hospitalizations from the two databases, and 338 cases underwent complete chart review. Of these 338 AMI cases, 297 were confirmed with clinical and lab data, which yielded a PPV of 0.88. The consistency rate for coronary intervention, stenting, and antiplatelet prescription at admission was high, yielding a PPVover 0.90. The percentage of consistency in comorbidity diagnoses was 95.9% (324/338) among matched AMI cases. Conclusions: The NHIRD appears to be a valid resource for population research in cardiovascular diseases.
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