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Development and validation of a simple algorithm to estimate common gestational age categories using standard administrative birth record data in Ontario, Canada

Fitzpatrick T, Wilton AS, Guttmann A. J Obstet Gynaecol. 2021; 41(2):207-11. Epub 2020 Jun 26. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/01443615.2020.1726304


Gestational age is often incompletely recorded in administrative records, despite being critical to paediatric and maternal health research. Several algorithms exist to estimate gestational age using administrative databases; however, many have not been validated or use complicated methods that are not readily adaptable. We developed a simple algorithm to estimate common gestational age categories from routine administrative data. We leveraged a population-based registry of all hospital births occurring in Ontario, Canada over 2002-2016 including 1.8 million birth records. In this sample, this simple algorithm had excellent performance compared to a verified measure of gestational age; 87.61% agreement (95% CI: 87.49, 87.74). The accuracy of the algorithm exceeded 98% for all of the gestational age categories. Agreement notably increased over time and was greatest among singleton births and infants born at 2500-2999 g. This study provides a straight-forward algorithm for accurately estimating common gestational age categories that is easily adaptable for use in other countries.

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