Background: Acute myocardial infarction (AMI) type is an important distinction to be made in both clinical and health care research context, as it determines the treatment of the patient as well as affecting outcomes. The aim of the paper was to determine the feasibility of distinguishing AMI type, either ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) or non-ST elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI), using ICD10 codes.
Methods: We carried out a retrospective descriptive analysis of hospital administrative data on AMI emergency patients in England, for financial years 2000/1 to 2009/10. We used the performance of an angioplasty procedure on the same day and on the same or next day of hospital admission as a proxy for STEMI.
Results: Among the ICD10 AMI subcategories, there were inconsistent trends, with some of the codes exhibiting a gradual decline (such as I21.0 Acute transmural myocardial infarction of anterior wall, I21.1 Acute transmural myocardial infarction of inferior wall, I22.0 Subsequent myocardial infarction of anterior wall and I22.1 Subsequent myocardial infarction of inferior wall) and other codes an increase (in particular I21.9 Acute myocardial infarction, unspecified and I22.9 Subsequent myocardial infarction of unspecified site). With the exception of the codes I21.4 Acute subendocardial myocardial infarction, I21.9 Acute myocardial infarction, unspecified, I22.8 Subsequent myocardial infarction of other sites and I22.9 Subsequent myocardial infarction of unspecified site, all the other AMI subcategories appear to have undergone a significant increase in the number of angioplasty procedures performed the same or the next day of hospital admission from around 2005/6. There appear to be difficulties in accurately identifying the proportion of STEMI/NSTEMI by sole reliance on ICD10 codes.
Conclusions: We suggest as the best sets of codes to select STEMI cases I21.0 to I21.3, I22.0, I22.1 and I22.8; however, without any further adaptations, ICD10 codes are insufficient to clearly distinguish acute myocardial infarction type.