Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Stupid CDC and ICD code

I like to look at data. Specifically, in the last few months, I've spent many hours reading the CDC's data pertaining to mortality. In the infant mortality tables, there's this one diagnosis that annoys me everytime. Here it is:
Syndrome of an infant of a diabetic mother and neonatal diabetes

It makes no sense because neonatal diabetes is not caused by having a diabetic mother, or at least it isn't usually, and in the rare cases that it is, it's just about never fatal. So how in the United States did 11 infants die of it in 2008? And more in each of the preceding ten years? There are only about 11 infants born with neonatal diabetes in the United States each year, and most of them live! (2-3 babies per million are born with neonatal diabetes, and about 3 million babies are born in the US each year).

A google search gives a partial answer. Apparently this code is meant to combine two things: syndrome of "infant of a diabetic mother," and neonatal diabetes. So in all likelihood, out of the hundred plus babies' deaths recorded on this code, all but one or two were due to a "syndrome of infant of a diabetic mother" (probably plain old hypoglycemia) and maybe one or two were due to neonatal diabetes. Probably none were due to both. I still think it's a stupid code and a stupid grouping.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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