Varyani, Fumi and Card, Timothy R. and Kaye, Philip and Aithal, Guru P. and West, Joe (2013) The communication of a secondary care diagnosis of autoimmune hepatitis to primary care practitioners: a population-based study. BMC Health Services


Background: Autoimmune Hepatitis is a chronic liver disease which affects young people and can result in liver failure leading to death or transplantation yet there is a lack of information on the incidence and prevalence of this disease and its natural history in the UK. A means of obtaining this information is via the use of clinical databases formed of electronic primary care records. How reliably the diagnosis is coded in such records is however unknown. The aim of this study therefore was to assess the proportion of consultant hepatologist diagnoses of Autoimmune Hepatitis which were accurately recorded in General Practice computerised records. Methods: Our study population were patients with Autoimmune Hepatitis diagnosed by consultant hepatologists in the Queens Medical Centre, Nottingham University Hospitals (UK) between 2004 and 2009. We wrote to the general practitioners of these patients to obtain the percentage of patients who had a valid READ code specific for Autoimmune Hepatitis. Results: We examined the electronic records of 51 patients who had biopsy evidence and a possible diagnosis of Autoimmune Hepatitis. Forty two of these patients had a confirmed clinical diagnosis of Autoimmune Hepatitis by a consultant hepatologist: we contacted the General Practitioners of these patients obtaining a response rate of 90.5% (39/42 GPs). 37/39 of these GPs responded with coding information and 89% of these patients (33/37) used Read code J638.00 (Autoimmune Hepatitis) to record a diagnosis. Conclusions: The diagnosis of Autoimmune Hepatitis made by a Consultant Hepatologist is accurately communicated to and electronically recorded by primary care in the UK. As a large proportion of cases of Autoimmune Hepatitis are recorded in primary care, this minimises the risk of introducing selection bias and therefore selecting cases using these data will be a valid method of conducting population based studies on Autoimmune Hepatitis. Background Autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) is a chronic liver disease with an immune mediated aetiology. The disease is rare with an annual incidence of 1.9/100000 [1] and has a bimodal age distribution with median age at diagnosis approximately 43 years [2]. It is an uncommon but important disease due to the potential for decompensated cirrhosis and the requirement of an orthotropic liver transplant in otherwise young, healthy people. Recent data * Correspondence: Department of Gastroenterology, Queens Medical Centre, Nottingham University Hospital NHS Trust, Derby Road, Nottingham NG7 2UH, United Kingdom Full list of author information is available at the end of the article © 2013 Varyani et al.; licensee BioMed Central Commons Attribution License (http://creativec reproduction in any medium, provided the or from a non-transplant centre in the UK has estimated the 10 year survival to be 82% [3]. The clinical features of AIH are complicated and require a strong clinical suspicion with contributory evidence such as a suggestive liver biopsy, auto-antibodies (anti-nuclear antibodies, anti-smooth muscle cell and anti-liver kidney microsomal antibodies) or an elevated Immunoglobulin G (IgG) titre. Liver biopsy should classically show active interface hepatitis with lymphocytic and plasma-cell infiltrates. There have been several scoring criteria formulated for diagnosis which include the original, revised and simplified [4] criteria by the International Autoimmune Hepatitis group. However, the consensus is that clinical diagnosis is most important [1]. Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and iginal work is properly cited. Varyani et al. BMC Health Services Research 2013, 13:161 Page 2 of 6 As AIH is a relatively uncommon but important disease, it is difficult to obtain large cohorts of patients to study. Previous studies have used multiple hospital data collection methods, and the largest study so far has obtained 473 patients with Autoimmune Hepatitis [2]. However, these methods are not without potential selection bias and considerable expense. The use of population-based databases may provide an alternative means of obtaining a large cohort of AIH patients. The strengths of databases include prospective, systematic collection of data including exposures, confounders and outcome information. However, their limitations include concerns about the validity of a diagnosis of Autoimmune Hepatitis within the database. The UK General Practice Research Database is one such populationbased database. It has over 5 million currently registered patients [5] and it is therefore estimated would provide between 1000–2500 unique patients for studies of the epidemiology of Autoimmune Hepatitis. We have therefore aimed to validate the sensitivity of diagnosis of AIH in electronic primary care data in order to assess its usefulness for studying AIH. Table 1 The simplified autoimmune hepatitis criteria [4] Parameter Cutoff Score

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@inproceedings{Varyani2016VaryaniFA, title={Varyani, Fumi and Card, Timothy R. and Kaye, Philip and Aithal, Guru P. and West, Joe (2013) The communication of a secondary care diagnosis of autoimmune hepatitis to primary care practitioners: a population-based study. BMC Health Services}, author={Fumi K Varyani and Timothy Richard Card and Philip Victor Kaye and Guruprasad Padur Aithal}, year={2016} }