BACKGROUND: In Scotland all non-obstetric, non-psychiatric acute inpatient and day case stays are recorded by an administrative hospital discharge database, the Scottish Morbidity Record (SMR01). The Scottish Stroke Care Audit (SSCA) collects data from all hospitals managing acute stroke in Scotland to support and improve quality of stroke care. The aim was to assess whether there were discrepancies between these data sources for admissions from 2010 to 2011.
METHODS: Records were matched when admission dates from the two data sources were within two days of each other and if an International Classification of Diseases (ICD) code of I61, I63, I64, or G45 was in the primary or secondary diagnosis field on SMR01. We also carried out a linkage analysis followed by a case-note review within one hospital in Scotland.
RESULTS: There were a total of 22 416 entries on SSCA and 22 200 entries on SMR01. The concordance between SSCA and SMR01 was 16 823. SSCA contained 5593 strokes that were not present in SMR01, whereas SMR01 contained 185 strokes that were not present in SSCA. In the case-note review the concordance was 531, with SSCA containing 157 strokes that were not present in SMR01 and SMR01 containing 32 strokes that were not present in SSCA.
CONCLUSIONS: When identifying strokes, hospital administrative discharge databases should be used with caution. Our results demonstrate that SSCA most accurately represents the number of strokes occurring in Scotland. This resource is useful for determining the provision of adequate patient care, stroke services and resources, and as a tool for research.