Background: It is essential to use a definition that is precise and accurate for the surveillance of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and spinal cord injuries (SCI). This paper reviews the International Classification of Diseases 10th revision (ICD-10) definitions used internationally to inform the definition for neurotrauma surveillance using administrative data in Ontario, Canada.
Methods: PubMed, Web of Science, Medline and the grey literature were searched for keywords "spinal cord injuries" or "brain injuries" and "international classification of diseases". All papers and reports that used an ICD-10 definition were included. To determine the ICD-10 codes for inclusion consensus across papers and additional evidence were sought to look at the correlation between the condition and brain or spinal injuries.
Results: Twenty-four articles and reports were identified; 15 unique definitions for TBI and 7 for SCI were found. The definitions recommended for use in Ontario by this paper are F07.2, S02.0, S02.1, S02.3, S02.7, S02.8, S02.9, S06, S07.1, T90.2, and T90.5 for traumatic brain injuries and S14.0, S14.1, S24.0, S24.1, S34.1, S34.0, S34.3, T06.0, T06.1 and T91.3 for spinal cord injuries.
Conclusions: Internationally, inconsistent definitions are used to define brain and spinal cord injuries. An abstraction study of data would be an asset in understanding the effects of inclusion and exclusion of codes in the definition. This paper offers a definition of neurotrauma for surveillance in Ontario, but the definition could be applied to other countries that have mandated administrative data collection.