Certain International Classification of Diseases (ICD), Tenth Revision (ICD-10) codes are recorded more frequently before the initial diagnosis in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) compared with patients with other autoimmune diseases or individuals without these diseases, according to a study published in the June 15 issue of Neurology.
Christiane Gasperi, M.D., from the Technical University of Munich in Germany, and colleagues systematically assessed differences in the occurrence of diseases and symptoms in the five years before first diagnosis in 10,262 patients with MS compared to 15,502 with Crohn disease, 98,432 with psoriasis, and 73,430 without these diseases.
The researchers found that compared with controls without autoimmune disease, 43 ICD-10 codes were recorded more frequently for patients with MS before diagnosis. In comparison to the other control groups, many of these findings were confirmed. A high proportion of these codes represent symptoms indicative of demyelinating events or other neurologic diseases. No association remained significant in a sensitivity analysis excluding patients with such recordings before first diagnosis. Lower odds ratios of MS were seen in association with seven ICD-10 codes, four of which represent upper respiratory tract infections. In the sensitivity analysis, the relations with MS were even more pronounced.
“The sooner MS is recognized, the better we can treat the disease,” Gasperi said in a statement. “We now need to take a closer look at which early symptoms of MS might be overlooked. This could allow us to recognize the disease at an earlier stage and thus enable earlier treatment initiation.”
Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry; one author holds patents for the detection of antibodies against KIR4.1 in a subpopulation of MS patients and for genetic determinants of neutralizing antibodies to interferon.