Utility of the Current Procedural Terminology Codes for Prophylactic Stabilization for Defining Metastatic Femur Disease

Sarah M. Hanna, Duncan C. Ramsey, Yee C. Doung, James B. Hayden, Reid Thompson, Andrew R. Summers, Kenneth R. Gundle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


INTRODUCTION: Cohorts from the electronic health record are often defined by the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes. The error prevalence of CPT codes for patients receiving surgical treatment of metastatic disease of the femur has not been investigated, and the predictive value of coding ontologies to identify patients with metastatic disease of the femur has not been adequately discussed. METHODS: All surgical cases at a single academic tertiary institution from 2010 through 2015 involving prophylactic stabilization of the femur or fixation of a pathologic fracture of the femur were identified using the CPT and International Classification of Disease (ICD) codes. A detailed chart review was conducted to determine the procedure performed as documented in the surgical note and the patient diagnosis as documented in the pathology report, surgical note, and/or office visit notes. RESULTS: We identified 7 CPT code errors of 171 prophylactic operations (4.1%) and one error of 71 pathologic fracture fixation s(1.4%). Of the 164 prophylactic operations that were coded correctly, 87 (53.0%) had metastatic disease. Of the 70 pathologic operations that were coded correctly, 41 (58%) had metastatic disease. DISCUSSION: The error prevalence was low in both prophylactic stabilization and pathologic fixation groups (4.1% and 1%, respectively). The structured data (CPT and ICD-9 codes) had a positive predictive value for patients having metastatic disease of 53% for patients in the prophylactic stabilization group and 58% for patients in the pathologic fixation group. The CPT codes and ICD codes assessed in this analysis do provide a useful tool for defining a population in which a moderate proportion of individuals have metastatic disease in the femur at an academic medical center. However, verification is necessary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e20.00167
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Global Research and Reviews
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 18 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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