Deriving a standardised recommended respiratory disease codelist repository for future research

Clare MacRae, Hannah Whittaker, Mome Mukherjee, Luke Daines, Ann Morgan, Chuckwuma Iwundu, Mohammed Alsallakh, Eleftheria Vasileiou, Eimear O’Rourke, Alexander Williams, Philip Stone, Aziz Sheikh, Jennifer Quint*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output


Background: Electronic health record (EHR) databases provide rich, longitudinal data on interactions with healthcare providers, and can be used to advance research into respiratory conditions. However, since these data are primarily collected to support health care delivery, clinical coding can be inconsistent, resulting in inherent challenges in using these data for research purposes.

Methods: We systematically searched existing international literature and UK code repositories to find respiratory disease codelists for asthma from January 2018, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 1 and respiratory tract infections from January 2020, based on prior searches. Medline searches using key terms provided article lists. Full-text articles, supplementary files, and reference lists were examined for codelists, and codelists repositories were searched. A reproducible methodology for codelists creation was developed with recommended lists for each disease created based on multidisciplinary expert opinion and previously published literature.

Results: Medline searches returned 1,126 asthma articles, 70 COPD articles, and 90 respiratory infection articles, with 3%, 22% and 5% including codelists, respectively. Repository searching returned 12 asthma, 23 COPD, and 64 respiratory infection codelists. We have systematically compiled respiratory disease codelists and from these derived recommended lists for use by researchers to find the most up-to-date and relevant respiratory disease codelists that can be tailored to individual research questions.

Conclusions: Few published papers include codelists, and where published diverse codelists were used, even when answering similar research questions. Whilst some advances have been made. greater consistency and transparency across studies using routine data to study respiratory diseases are needed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
JournalPragmatic and observational research
Publication statusPublished - 16 Feb 2022


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