Use of the international classification of diseases (Icd-9-cm) to identify hospitalizations for mechanical low back problems in administrative databases

Daniel C. Cherkin, Richard (Rick) Deyo, Ernest Volinn, John D. Loeser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

148 Scopus citations


Large administrative databases are increasingly valuable tools for health care research. Although increased access to these databases provides valuable opportunities to study health care utilization, costs and outcomes and valid and comparable results require explicit and consistent analytic methods. Algorithms for identifying surgical and nonsurgical hospitalizations for ''mechanical"' low back problems In automated databases arc described. Sixty-six iCD-9-CM diagnosis and 15 procedure codes that could be applied to patients with mechanical low back problems were identified. Twenty-seven diagnosis and two procedure codes identify hospitalizations for problems definitely in the lumbar or lumbosacral region. Exclusion criteria were developed to eliminate nonmechanical causes of low back pain, such as malignancies, infections, and major trauma. The use of the algorithms is illustrated using national hospital discharge data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)817-825
Number of pages9
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes



  • Classification
  • Diagnoses
  • Hospitalisation
  • Low back pain
  • Procedures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physiology

Cite this