Accuracy of the new ICD-9-CM code for "drip-and-ship" thrombolytic treatment in patients with ischemic stroke

Silvina B. Tonarelli, Michael Tibbs, Gabriela Vazquez, Kamakshi Lakshminarayan, Gustavo J. Rodriguez, Adnan I Qureshi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


A new International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM) diagnosis code, V45.88, was approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on October 1, 2008. This code identifies patients in whom intravenous (IV) recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rt-PA) is initiated in one hospital's emergency department, followed by transfer within 24 hours to a comprehensive stroke center, a paradigm commonly referred to as "drip-and-ship." This study assessed the use and accuracy of the new V45.88 code for identifying ischemic stroke patients who meet the criteria for drip-and-ship at 2 advanced certified primary stroke centers. Consecutive patients over a 12-month period were identified by primary ICD-9-CM diagnosis codes related to ischemic stroke. The accuracy of V45.88 code utilization using administrative data provided by Health Information Management Services was assessed through a comparison with data collected in prospective stroke registries maintained at each hospital by a trained abstractor. Out of a total of 428 patients discharged from both hospitals with a diagnosis of ischemic stroke, 37 patients were given ICD-9-CM code V45.88. The internally validated data from the prospective stroke database demonstrated that a total of 40 patients met the criteria for drip-and-ship. A concurrent comparison found that 92% (sensitivity) of the patients treated with drip-and-ship were coded with V45.88. None of the non-drip-and-ship stroke cases received the V45.88 code (100% specificity). The new ICD-9-CM code for drip-and-ship appears to have high specificity and sensitivity, allowing effective data collection by the CMS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-123
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2012


  • ICD-9 code
  • V 45.88
  • drip and ship
  • ischemic stroke
  • rt-PA
  • stroke
  • thrombolytics


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