American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

2021 Data Dictionary Frequently Asked Questions

General

NTDS Patient Inclusion Criteria 2021 (pg. iv & v)

Do in-house traumas meet the NTDS Patient Inclusion Criteria?

Patients who had a traumatic event that resulted in an injury while being treated at your hospital do not meet the NTDS Patient Inclusion Criteria and should not be reported.

Do isolated hip fractures meet the NTDS Patient Inclusion Criteria?

The NTDS Patient Inclusion Criteria does not exclude patients who sustained a traumatic isolated hip fracture (IHF). If the patient sustained a traumatic isolated hip fracture within 14 days of their initial hospital encounter and meet at least one criterion from "Step 2", they must be reported.

Is the NTDS Patient Inclusion Criteria the same as the TQIP Inclusion Criteria?

No. Centers submitting data to the TQP must follow the NTDS Patient Inclusion Criteria as stated in the Participation Agreement. Then, TQIP determines which patients are included in the TQIP Benchmark Report using the internally defined TQIP Patient Inclusion Criteria. The TQIP Patient Inclusion Criteria is included for each TQIP Benchmark Report in the References section and can change over time.

"Patient transferred from one acute care hospital to another acute care hospital." Does this include patients who were transported by a private vehicle (POV)?

Yes. If the patient sustained a qualifying traumatic injury within 14 days of their initial hospital encounter and was transferred from one acute care hospital to another acute care hospital, regardless of the mode of transport, then they meet the NTDS Patient Inclusion Criteria and are reported to TQIP.

Are stand-alone/free-standing emergency departments considered acute care hospitals?

It depends on the individual facility and how they are recognized by CMS. Here is a link to more information.

If a patient is transferred to our hospital, must they have sustained their injury within 14 days of presenting to the referring hospital? Or within 14 days of arriving at our hospital?

The patient must have sustained a traumatic injury within 14 days of their initial hospital encounter. If the patient was transferred to your hospital, then they must have been injured within 14 days of arriving at the referring hospital. If their first hospital encounter was at your hospital, then they must have been injured within 14 days of arriving at your hospital.

Should patients with isolated burns be reported to the NTDB/TQIP?

No. Starting with the 2021 patient admission year, the "T20-T28 with 7th character modifier of A ONLY" and  "T30-T32 (burn by TBSA percentages)" codes were removed from the NTDS Patient Inclusion Criteria. The NTDS Workgroup determined that patients whose only injuries are burns should not be included. However, if a patient has a qualifying traumatic injury AND a burn, then they must be considered for NTDS inclusion.

Are trauma patients admitted for medical or non-trauma reasons excluded from the NTDS Patient Inclusion Criteria?

No. If the patient sustained a traumatic injury within 14 days of initial encounter, the injury meets "Step 1" criteria, and the patient was admitted to your hospital, they meet the NTDS Patient Inclusion Criteria.

Miscellaneous

Why were so many "Pre-hospital Information" data elements retired from the NTDS?

Beginning with the 2021 patient admission year, most of the previously reported EMS data elements were retired and replaced with a new data element EMS Patient Care Report Universally Unique Identifier (UUID), which can be found on page 31 of the 2021 NTDS Data Dictionary, revised January 2021. The UUID will be available with NEMSIS v3.5.0 which has not been released by NEMSIS.  As soon as NEMSIS v3.5.0 is released, that data will be available by using the UUID to link the EMS and Trauma registries.

What if my center needs to continue collecting retired "Pre-hospital Information" data elements in my registry?

We understand that centers are continuing to collect pre-hospital information in their local registries for other reporting entities and local data collection needs, which is perfectly acceptable. However, previously reported EMS data must not be included in the TQP data submission file.

What is Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) 40 and why are we reporting this?

The GCS at 40 assessment is a new approach to assessing the patient's level of consciousness in response to specific stimuli. Not all centers are using the GCS at 40 quite yet because it's still relatively new. It was added to the NTDS beginning with the 2019 patient arrival year because it was recently introduced in the 10th edition of ATLS and as such, some centers have started using the GCS at 40 assessment. Please note that the NTDS does not require that your center start using the GCS at 40 assessment for your patients and you should report what is documented in the patient's medical record.

For more information regarding the specifics of the GCS at 40 assessment, you may consider reviewing the Glasgow Coma Score website.

Is it true that the NTDS allows for either the standard GCS or GCS 40, but not both?

Yes. The Initial Field GCS 40, Initial ED/Hospital GCS 40, and Highest GCS 40 Motor data elements are reflective of the GCS 40 assessment criteria. If the providers at your hospital have not transitioned to using the GCS 40 criteria to assess your patients, and are using the standard GCS criteria, then report the null value "Not Known/Not Recorded" for the Initial ED/Hospital GCS 40-Eye/Verbal/Motor data elements.

Will the NTDS still be accepting standard GCS if our facility is not using GCS 40?

Yes. Centers should report either the standard GCS or GCS 40, but not both.

I have a suggestion to add, remove, and or change an NTDS data element definition. How can I communicate this?

Suggestions to add, improve, or remove an NTDS data element definition should be submitted at the Data Dictionary Revision Site.

For patients that we report to the NTDB/TQIP, do we report information after the trauma service has signed off on their care and they are still admitted at our hospital?

Yes. The NTDS does not consider the hospital service treating the patient. Therefore, all information must be reported up until the patient is ordered to be discharged from the hospital, regardless of the attending service.

Injury Information

Protective Devices (pg. 26)

How should the Protective Devices data element be reported on a patient that was walking and tripped and fell? “Not Applicable”? Or, “1. None”?

The Protective Devices data element does not to consider the mechanism of injury. If no protective devices or safety equipment was being used by the patient at the time of injury, regardless of the mechanism, you should report the Element Value "1. None".

Are things like a walker, wheelchair, etc., considered protective devices or equipment?

No. Wheelchairs, walkers, etc. are durable medical equipment that are prescribed for medical use and not as protective equipment or devices.

Protective Devices; Airbag Deployment (pgs. 26 & 28)

What should be reported when documentation states that there was no airbag deployment but did not state that airbags were present in the vehicle?

While most vehicles today are equipped with airbags, we cannot assume that all vehicles are equipped with airbags. Therefore, if you do not have documentation to support that the vehicle was equipped with airbags, then you should not report Element Value "8. Airbag Present" for the Protective Devices data element. Since you did not report Element Value "8. Airbag Present", you would then report the null value "Not Applicable" for the Airbag Deployment data element.

Pre-Hospital Information

EMS Patient Care Report Universally Unique Identifier (UUID) (pg. 31)

What is the UUID and why is it included in the NTDS?

The Universally Unique Identifier (UUID) is a HIPPA complaint method that will be assigned by EMS services to link data from NEMSIS to other reporting entities, like the TQP.  The UUID will be available when NEMSIS v3.5.0 is released.

EMS providers are not using NEMSIS v3.5.0. If a patient is transported from the scene of injury to my hospital, what should be reported for the UUID element?

Report the null value "Not Known/Not Recorded".

Inter-Facility Transfer (pg. 32)

A patient arrived by EMS from an urgent care clinic. Does the NTDS consider this to be an inter-facility transfer?

The NTDS defines an inter-facility transfer as a patient who was transferred to your facility from another acute care facility. Ultimately, it depends on your state. If the urgent care facility is licensed as an acute care facility, then yes. If not, then no.

Why does the COT VRC definition of an inter-facility transfer differ from the NTDS definition of an inter-facility transfer?

While the VRC program, the NTDS, and the TQIP program are under the Trauma Quality Programs umbrella at the American College of Surgeons, they are separate programs with different objectives.

What should be reported when a patient is transferred from one center to another center but travels by private car, rather than EMS transport?

If the patient was transferred from one acute care facility to another acute care facility and traveled by private auto, then Element Value "1. Yes" should be reported for the Inter-facility Transfer data element.

Emergency Department Information

Highest Activation (pg. 34)

What if EMS calls the highest level of activation, but the activation is cancelled or downgraded prior to arrival at our center? How is this reported?

If the highest level of trauma activation was called by EMS prior to arrival and then cancelled or downgraded prior to arrival, the Element Value "1. Yes" must be reported for the Highest Activation Level data element. The definition does not exclude cancelled or downgraded activations prior to arrival.

Is this data element strictly for patients that come from the scene? If a patient is transferred from an outside hospital and activated as the highest level of activation, how is the reported?

This data element applies to all patients. If the patient was transferred from an outside hospital and received the highest level of trauma activation at your hospital, then the Element Value "1. Yes" must be reported.

Trauma Surgeon Arrival Date, Trauma Surgeon Arrival Time (pgs. 35 & 36)

What date/time should be reported if the trauma surgeon arrives before the patient arrives at the ED/hospital? The patient hospital arrival date/time or the date/time the surgeon arrived?

Report the date and time the trauma surgeon arrived even if it was before the patient arrived.

What if the patient received a lower-level or no trauma activation, what do we report for the Trauma Surgeon Arrival Date and Trauma Surgeon Arrival Time data elements?

Report the null value "Not Applicable." The Trauma Surgeon Arrival Date and Trauma Surgeon Arrival Time data elements are only reported for patients who meet the Highest Activation data element criteria.

Initial ED/Hospital Pulse Rate, Initial ED/Hospital Respiratory Rate (pgs. 40 & 42)

Patient arrives to ED with CPR in progress. The physician describes in their narrative that the patient had no respirations, no pulse and declares the patient as expired.  Can we report a "0" value for the Initial ED/Hospital Pulse Rate and Initial ED/Hospital Respiratory Rate if there is no numerical value documented in the medical records?

If it is standard practice at your center to document zero respirations per minute and a zero pulse rate using the descriptors such as "no respirations", "respirations absent", or "no pulse" then "0" may be reported for the Initial ED Hospital Pulse Rate or Initial ED/Hospital Respiratory Rate, given that the documentation reflects the first recorded respiratory rate within 30 minutes or less of ED hospital arrival.

Initial ED/Hospital Temperature (pg. 41)

Is it necessary to report the patient's temperature?

Yes. It is the expectation that all centers reporting data follow the NTDS data dictionary definitions. The patient's initial ED/hospital temperature is an important predictor of their outcome.

Initial ED/Hospital Respiratory Rate (pg. 42)

A patient came into the ED with a documented "0" for their pulse and blood pressure and expired within a few minutes of arrival to the ED. There was no documentation of respiratory rate. What should we report for the Initial ED/Hospital Respiratory Rate?

If a respiratory rate was not documented within 30 minutes or less of the patient's arrival to your ED, then the appropriate null value to report for the Initial ED/Hospital Respiratory Rate data element is "Not Known/Not Recorded".

Initial ED/Hospital GCS Assessment Qualifiers (pg. 50)

To report the GCS Qualifier - Patient Intubated, would a patient who is mechanically or manually ventilated using a King airway or Combi tube be considered intubated?

The data element definition does not specify the type of intubation required to report these data elements. The King airway and Combi tube are different types of airway devices that interfere with the patient's ability to speak, so, if it were documented that the patient was mechanically or manually ventilated using a King airway or Combi tube in conjunction with their initial ED/hospital GCS assessment, you should report the Element Value "3. Patient Intubated."

Drug Screen (pg. 56)

If there is no drug screen done at our hospital, but the autopsy report shows a positive drug result for THC and Cocaine, can we report these results?

No. While the patient's autopsy report included a positive drug screen result, you should only report positive drug screen results within 24 hours after the patient's first hospital encounter. The NTDS does not collect post-discharge data, so using an autopsy report for this data element would not be accurate.

A trauma patient tested positive on the drug screen for barbiturates but is prescribed them. How is this reported?

If the patient was not administered a barbiturate during the patient care event, but the patient's first recorded drug screen results within 24 hours after the first hospital encounter was positive for barbiturates, then you should report the Element Value "2. BAR".

Now that marijuana is legalized in many states, do we report this if the patient has tested positive?

Yes. The NTDS definition does not consider the legality of a drug. Therefore, if a patient were to test positive on a drug screen for marijuana (if it was not administered by a facility during the treatment for this injury event), then you should report the Element Value "12. THC (Cannabinoid)".

ED Discharge Disposition (pg. 59)

We have a flexible ICU that admits ICU status patients and stepdown level patients. If the admission order states, "admit to stepdown", and the admission plan is documented as "observe in stepdown" but the room/unit is titled ICU what should we report for the ED Discharge Disposition?

 If the ED discharge disposition order was to admit the patient to stepdown, report Element Value "3. Telemetry/step-down unit."

For the ED Discharge Disposition Element Values, what is the difference between "4. Home with services" and "9. Home without services"?

The Element Value "4. Home with services" is reported for patients with a discharge order from the ED to their home that includes some type of ordered service such as home health. The Element Value "9. Home without services" is reported for patients with a discharge order for home without any additional services.

What should be reported for the ED Discharge Disposition if the discharge order instructed the patient to be discharged from the ED to the floor and the patient went to the telemetry floor?

Report the Element Value "1. Floor bed" because the disposition order was written for the patient to be discharged to the floor from the ED.

For trauma patients discharged from the ED to hospice (who did not come from hospice), which Element Value should be reported?

For patients whose ED discharge disposition order was home with hospice care, you should report Element Value "4. Home with services" because the patient is returning home, now with hospice services.

For patients whose ED discharge disposition order to a hospice care facility, you should report Element Value "6. Other (jail, institutional care, mental health, etc.)" because the patient is going to another institution that provides hospice care, instead of home.

ED Discharge Date; ED Discharge Time (pgs. 60 & 61)

What do I report for the date and time when the patient has multiple ED discharge orders? The first ED discharge order or the final ED discharge order?

If multiple ED discharge orders were written, the date and time that should be reported is the date and time the final discharge order was written by the physician that was ultimately responsible for the patient's care.

What date and time do I report if the patient leaves the ED against medical advice (AMA)?

If a patient left the ED AMA, report the date and time the patient signed the AMA form. If the patient refused to sign or did not sign the AMA form, report the date and time it was noted in the medical record that the patient left AMA, which could be documented in the nursing notes.

Hospital Procedure Information

ICD-10 Hospital Procedures (pgs. 62 & 63)

My center is a TQIP center so if transfusion data is being reported for the TQIP Measures for Processes of Care, why are they also reported for the ICD-10 Hospital Procedures?

The ICD-10 Hospital Procedures data element is reported by all hospitals and it is the ICD-10 PCS code of the first transfusion of packed red blood cells, platelets, and plasma within the first 24 hours. Whereas, TQIP centers who report the Measures for Processes of Care data elements must report the total amount of CCs of whole blood, packed red blood cells, plasma, platelets, and cryoprecipitate transfused on all patients within 4 hours of ED/hospital arrival.

Sometimes a patient may have a procedure done that starts after their discharge order was written. Should we report these procedures?

No. Anything that occurred after the patient was ordered to be discharged from your hospital is post-discharge data, which is not reported.

If the patient is intubated for surgery, remains intubated after surgery, and returns to the unit intubated, do we report the ICD-10 procedure code for the intubation?

If the only occurrence of the patient being intubated was in the operating room (OR), you should not report the intubation as an ICD-10 Hospital Procedure. This applies even if the patient remains intubated in the unit for several days following the surgery.

If a procedure is denoted in the NTDS definition with an asterisk and is performed multiple times in the operating room, should the procedure code only be reported once?

No. All procedures performed in the OR should be reported regardless if they have an asterisk or not. You should only report the first event for procedures with asterisks that were done in the ED, ICU, ward, or radiology department.

I have a question about an ICD-10 PCS code and/or ICD-10 PCS coding rule. Can NTDS/TQIP staff help with this?

No. For questions regarding an ICD-10 PCS coding rules or guidelines, consider contacting the ICD-10 coding champion at your center as they are the experts in that area.

Pre-Existing Conditions

Miscellaneous (pgs. 66–91)

Can I report other pre-existing conditions or comorbidities that are not defined in the NTDS Data Dictionary?

No. Centers may collect other pre-existing conditions in their registry per their data collection needs, but the only pre-existing conditions included in your TQP data submission file are those defined in the NTDS Data Dictionary.

Advanced Directive Limiting Care (pg. 66)

In the Advanced Directive Limiting Care definition, what does "present prior to arrival" mean?

The patient's advanced directive to limit life-sustaining treatment must have been present on their person on arrival or already on file at your center.

If on arrival to your hospital the patient states that they are a DNR and the family will be bringing the paperwork later, what should we report for the Advanced Directive Limiting Care data element since the paperwork was not present prior to arrival?

In this instance, the Element Value "2. No" should be reported for the Advanced Directive Limiting Care data element. The patient did not have a written request to limit life-sustaining therapy that was present prior to arrival at your facility.

Can the advanced directive limiting care be taken from past admissions? If so how far back should we look for it?

If the patient's advanced directive to limit life-sustaining therapy was on file from a past admission, then you should consider it present prior to arrival at your center. Regarding a timeframe, the definition does not specify a timeframe, just that the directive must limit your center from providing life-sustaining therapy.

Alcohol Use Disorder (pg. 67)

Where can I find more information about the descriptors that are consistent with the DSM 5, 2013 diagnostic criteria of alcohol use disorder?

Consider reaching out to the American Psychological Association (APA) or the Behavioral Health department at your center for descriptors that are consistent with the DSM 5, 2013 diagnostic criteria of alcohol use disorder.

A diagnosis of alcohol use disorder was not documented but descriptors consistent with the diagnostic criteria of alcohol use disorder were documented. How do I report this?

Report the Element Value "1. Yes". The NTDS definition requires that descriptors documented in the medical record consistent with the diagnostic criteria of alcohol use disorder OR a diagnosis of alcohol use disorder documented in the patient's medical record.

Anticoagulant Therapy (pg. 69)

What should be reported for patients who were prescribed a medication that interferes with blood clotting, but were noncompliant in taking it?

Report Element Value "1. Yes" if the patient was prescribed a medication that interferes with blood clotting, but were noncompliant in taking it.

In the Additional Information section of the definition, what is meant by "Anticoagulant must be part of the patient's active medication."

It means the patient must have been prescribed the medication when they were injured.

Bleeding Disorder (pg. 71)

Should I report the Element Value “1. Yes” for the Bleeding Disorder data element if the patient has a diagnosis sickle cell anemia?

No. The NTDS definition only considers conditions where the blood does not clot properly. Sickle cell anemia is not a clotting disorder so if that is their only bleeding disorder then the Element Value "2. No" must be reported.

Should I report the Element Value “1. Yes” for the Bleeding Disorder data element if the patient has a diagnosis of thrombocytopenia?

Yes. Thrombocytopenia is a condition in which the patient's blood cannot clot properly, so if there is documentation in the patient's medical record that the patient's thrombocytopenia was present prior to their injury, then it meets the NTDS definition criteria.

Should I report the Element Value “1. Yes” for the Bleeding Disorder data element if “bleeding disorder” is documented but doesn't specify what kind of bleeding disorder the patient has?

No. There are many types of bleeding disorders, but the qualifying disorders that meet the NTDS definition are the disorders in which the blood cannot clot properly. Consider investigating to see what type of bleeding disorder the patient has and whether it meets the NTDS definition criteria.

Congenital Anomalies (pg. 76)

Is there a comprehensive list available of the congenital anomalies that meet the NTDS definition criteria?

There is not a comprehensive list available or provided in the NTDS Data Dictionary. The reason why is that there are many different types of cardiac, pulmonary, body wall, CNS/spinal, GI, renal, orthopedic, or metabolic congenital anomalies and it would not be possible to list them all in the definition. We suggest that centers review discrete cases with their TPM or TMD if they have questions about specific conditions.

Current Smoker (pg. 78)

Do e-cigarettes or vape pens meet the definition criteria to report the Element Value "1. Yes" for Current Smoker?

No. The NTDS definition excludes patients who report smoking cigars, pipes, or smokeless tobacco. E-cigarettes and vape pens are considered smokeless tobacco.

Functionally Dependent Health Status (pg. 83)

Does dependency on an oxygen tank meet the definition criteria to report the Element Value “1. Yes” for the Functionally Dependent Health Status data element?

No. A patient on chronic oxygen therapy does not meet the NTDS definition criteria. The patient must be partially or completely dependent on a devise or person to perform their ADLs due to a cognitive or physical limitation, not a physiological limitation. In this instance, Element Value "2. No" must be reported.

Does anyone living in assisted living or a skilled nursing facility met the definition criteria of the Functionally Dependent Health Status data element because they do not live independently?

Yes. The NTDS definition is based on the inability of patients to complete age appropriate ADLs due to cognitive or physical limitations. Since patients who reside in an assisted living, adult foster care, or skilled nursing facility are partially dependent or completely dependent upon equipment, devices, or another person to complete some or all their ADLs, you must report the Element Value "1. Yes" for these patients.

I am not sure if my patient is functionally dependent? Who is a good contact to find out more information about activities of daily living (ADLs)?

Consider reaching out to the occupational therapy or physical therapy department at your center for more information about ADLs and functional dependency.

Hypertension (pg. 84)

A patient has a diagnosis of pre-injury hypertension and it is managed by diet and exercise. Does this meet the Hypertension data element definition criteria?

Yes. If a patient has a diagnosis of hypertension and their treatment includes diet and exercise, then that is considered “medical therapy.”

A patient was prescribed and administered antihypertensive medication during their initial stay at the hospital, but a diagnosis of "hypertension" was not documented. For this patient, should I report Element Value "1. Yes" for the Hypertension data element?

No. A diagnosis of hypertension must be documented in the patient's medical record and the patient's hypertension must have been present prior to injury.

Mental/Personality Disorders (pg. 85)

Does a diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder meet the Mental/Personality Disorders data element definition criteria?

No. For NTDS purposes, the patient must have a diagnosis of or been treated for one of the following mental/personality disorders: schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, social anxiety disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, or antisocial personality disorder.

Should I report the Element Value "1. Yes" for the Mental/Personality Disorders data element if the patient had a diagnosis of depression and the patient takes medication for depression?

No. The NTDS definition is consistent with the American Psychological Association (APA) DSM 5, 2013, and documentation of "depression" is not the same as the diagnosis of a major depressive disorder. The patient must have a diagnosis of a major depressive disorder OR received treatment for major depressive disorder in order to meet the NTDS definition criteria.

Peripheral Arterial Disease [PAD] (pg. 87)

Does a diagnosis of peripheral vascular disease (PVD) meet the Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) definition criteria?

Yes. PAD and PVD are used interchangeably in documentation with PAD because PAD is a type of PVD.

Pregnancy (pg. 88)

How should this be reported for males? For patients not of child-bearing ages?

The Pregnancy data element applies to all patients. If the patient did not have a diagnosis or confirmed pregnancy prior to arrival at your hospital, report the Element Value "2. No".

Substance Use Disorder (pg. 91 & 92)

Does the term "disorder" need to be documented or does documentation of "substance abuse" meet the Substance Use Disorder data element definition criteria?

Not necessarily. The NTDS definition includes a list of the substance use disorder diagnoses that meet the definition criteria. Descriptors documented in the patient's medical record consistent with the diagnostic criteria of substance use disorders specifically cannabis, hallucinogens, inhalants, opioids, sedative/hypnotics, and stimulants also meet the definition criteria.

Where can I find more information about the descriptors that are consistent with the DSM 5, 2013 diagnostic criteria of substance use disorders?

If you would like further information in regards to the substance use disorder diagnosis criteria as indicated in the DSM 5, 2013, you may consider reaching out to the American Psychological Association (APA) or the Behavioral Health Department liaison at your center, as this is their area of expertise.

Diagnosis Information

ICD-10 Injury Diagnoses (pg. 92)

I have a question about an ICD-10-CM code and/or ICD-10-CM coding rule. Can NTDS/TQIP staff help with this?

No. For questions regarding an ICD-10-CM coding rules or guidelines, consider contacting the ICD-10 coding champion at your center, as they are the experts in this area.

AIS Code (pgs. 93)

I have a question about an AIS code and/or AIS coding rule. Can NTDS/TQIP staff help with this?

No. For questions regarding AIS coding rules and guidelines, please contact the AIS coding experts at the AAAM: info@aaam.org.

AIS Version (pg. 94)

When will AIS 2015 be required and AIS 2005, Update 2008 no longer be accepted?

It has not been determined when the AIS 05, 08 code set will be retired. We will be sure to give centers ample time to prepare for the complete transition to AIS 2015. In the meantime, the NTDS accepts both AIS 05,08 and AIS 2015 code sets.

Hospital Events

Acute Kidney Injury [AKI] (pg. 95)

I have a patient that arrived at our hospital with an serum creatinine (SCr) level three times their baseline and they were diagnosed with an AKI. Does this meet the AKI data element definition criteria?

No. The patient's AKI was present on arrival, so it did not occur during their initial stay at your hospital.

In the AKI data element definition, how is the patient's baseline serum creatinine (SCr) defined?

The NTDS definition of AKI is consistent with the March 2012 KDIGO Guideline. A patient's baseline SCr is their normal SCr level given the patient's age, race, and gender.

Where can I find more information about the March 2012 KDIGO Guideline?

You can find more information about the March 2012 KDIGO Guideline.

Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome (pg. 97)

If a patient is admitted with a known alcohol use disorder and is started on alcohol detox initiatives, should I report Element Value "1. Yes" for the Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome data element?

No. The patient must have experienced the signs and symptoms of alcohol withdrawal during their initial stay at your hospital.

We have a patient who had the signs and symptoms of alcohol withdrawal upon arrival. Should I report Element Value “1. Yes” for the Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome data element?

No. The patient's alcohol withdrawal was present on arrival.

Does the term “alcohol withdrawal syndrome” need to be documented to meet the Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome data element definition criteria?

No. Only the signs and symptoms of alcohol withdrawal must be documented in the patient's medical record.

Cardiac Arrest with CPR (pg. 98)

A patient arrived with CPR in progress, and then had return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC). It was documented that the patient went into cardiac arrest again 4 minutes later and received CPR.  Is this patient excluded from the Cardiac Arrest with CPR data element definition?

No. In this instance, report the Element Value "1. Yes" for the Cardiac Arrest with CPR data element. Patients receiving CPR on arrival are excluded, however, if another episode of cardiac arrest with CPR happens at any time during their stay, then the second episode meets the NTDS definition criteria.

A patient meets the criteria for the Cardiac Arrest with CPR data element on three different days during their hospital stay. Do we report each event or just the first occurrence of cardiac arrest with CPR?

No. Only report the first occurrence of Cardiac Arrest with CPR. The same is true of all Hospital Events defined in the NTDS Data Dictionary.

After arriving at the trauma center, if a patient had documented loss of heart rate and had compressions started, but "cardiac arrest" was not documented in the chart, what should be reported for the Cardiac Arrest with CPR data element?

In this instance, report the Element Value "1. Yes" for the Cardiac Arrest with CPR data element because there is documentation of the cessation of cardiac activity after hospital arrival and the patient received compressions.

Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infection [CAUTI] (pgs. 99 & 100)

On hospital day 11, a patient was transferred off the trauma service to a medical service for further medical management and develops a CAUTI on hospital day 12. The patient meets all the definition criteria of the CAUTI data element. Since trauma is no longer following this patient, which Element Value should be reported?

If a patient meets the criteria of the CAUTI data element definition and the UTI occurred during the patient's initial stay at your hospital, then Element Value "1. Yes" must reported, regardless of the attending service. The NTDS definition does not consider the hospital service that was treating the patient at the time of the event, just that the event occurred during the patient's initial stay at your hospital.

Should patients who are transferred to our hospital from another facility with an indwelling catheter already in place be considered for the CAUTI data element?

Yes. The NTDS definition of CAUTI is consistent with the January 2019 CDC definition of CAUTI including the CDC transfer rule. If the catheter was placed at the referring facility, was in place for > 2 calendar days at your center (with Day 1 being the day the patient arrived with the catheter in place), then on the day of the event (the day the UTI was diagnosed) the patient met criterion 1 through 3 of the CAUTI Criterion SUTI 1a or SUTI 2, and the diagnosis of UTI was documented in the medical record, then Element Value "1. Yes" must be reported for the CAUTI data element.

If the patient arrived at your center with an indwelling catheter and was diagnosed with a UTI on the same day of arrival, then Element Value "2. No" must be reported for the CAUTI data element. The reason why is that this condition is considered present on admission which is consistent with the CDC's "transfer rule."

Deep Vein Thrombosis [DVT] (pg. 106)

During their initial stay at the hospital, a patient had an ultrasound that showed an acute deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in the right gastrocnemius vein.  Given the distal location of the newly diagnosed DVT, the patient was NOT treated with anticoagulation, an IVC filter, or clipping of the vena cava. What should be reported for the DVT data element?

For this patient, report the Element Value "2. No" for the DVT data element. The patient's DVT was not treated with anticoagulation therapy and/or placement of a vena cava filter or clipping of the vena cava, as required by the definition criteria.

Delirium (pg. 107)

A patient scored positive for delirium, but it was due to alcohol withdrawal. How should I report this?

Report the Element Value "2. No" for the Delirium data element if the patient's delirium was due to alcohol withdrawal.

Does my center have to use the Confusion Assessment Method (CAM) or the Intensive Care Delirium Screening Checklist (ICDSC) to screen for delirium?

No. Any objective screening tool used to test for delirium may be used. The CAM and ICDSC are just examples provided in the NTDS definition.

Is there a timeframe associated with the "Hospital Event" Delirium?

The only timeframe that applies to the Delirium data element is that it occurred during the patient's initial stay at your hospital. In other words, the onset of symptoms must have begun after arrival and during their initial stay at your hospital.

If the "acute onset of behaviors" is directly related to the injury, should that still be counted as a hospital event?

The only patients that are excluded are those whose delirium was due to alcohol withdrawal. If the delirium was attributed to their injury and the onset occurred after arrival at your hospital, then Element Value "1. Yes" must be reported.

A patient was diagnosed with hepatic encephalopathy during their initial stay at our hospital. Later that same visit, they had increased agitation and needed sedation for it. If someone is diagnosed with encephalopathy during their admission and does not have alcohol withdrawal, how should I report this?

Delirium and acute encephalopathy are different terms that describe the same thing. If your hospital documents acute encephalopathy instead of delirium as a diagnosis, if the acute encephalopathy was not alcohol related, you should report Element Value "1. Yes" for the Delirium data element.

Pressure Ulcer (pg. 115)

To meet the definition criteria of the Pressure Ulcer data element, does the wound have to be "staged" and documented in the medical record?

No. The definition does not require that the wound must be "staged", however, the definition does require documentation that the pressure ulcer is consistent with the NPUAP 2014 criteria for either a stage II-IV pressure ulcer, unstageable/unclassified, or suspected deep tissue injury.

In the event a patient has clear documentation of deep tissue injury where a specialized wound care team is treating the patient but there is no diagnosis of "pressure ulcer" in the record, will deep tissue injury meet the definition criteria?

If there is documentation of a "deep tissue injury" that meets the NPUAP 2014 criteria, you should report Element Value "1. Yes" for the Pressure Ulcer data element.

Unplanned Admission to ICU (pg. 121)

For the Unplanned Admission to ICU data element definition, what is meant by "EXCLUDE: Patients in which ICU care was required for postoperative care of a planned surgical procedure"? 

Excluded patients are those in which it was determined prior to their surgery that they would require ICU care post-operatively.

Does the Unplanned Admission to ICU data element only apply to patients moving between floor level and ICU level of care or should the move from an intermediate care/step-down/telemetry unit to ICU be included also?

The Unplanned Admission to ICU data element does not exclude patients that had an unplanned admission or return to the ICU from the intermediate care/step-down/telemetry unit. So, if the patient was on the intermediate care/step-down/telemetry unit and transferred to the ICU, report the Element Value "1. Yes" for the Unplanned Admission to ICU data element.

A patient went from the floor to the OR for an open reduction internal fixation of a fractured femur. While in the PACU, the patient had severe hypoxia and was then transferred to the ICU for closer monitoring. The following day the patient was transferred back to the floor. What should be reported for the Unplanned Admission to ICU data element in this instance?

Report Element Value "1. Yes" for the Unplanned Admission to ICU data element because it was not known prior going to the OR that the patient would require ICU care after surgery.

What should be reported for the Unplanned Admission to ICU data element if a COVID-positive trauma patient has an unplanned admission to the ICU due to COVID?

The NTDS definition does not exclude unplanned ICU admissions due to medical reasons. All patients that meet the Unplanned Admission to ICU criteria must have Element Value "1. Yes" reported.

Unplanned Intubation (pg. 122)

What should be reported for the Unplanned Intubation data element if a patient was intubated in the operating room, crashes, and is unable to be extubated from surgery?

In this instance, report the Element Value "2. No" for the Unplanned Intubation data element. Patients who are intubated for surgery do not meet the definition criteria unless they are reintubated more than 24 hours after being extubated.

What should be reported for the Unplanned Intubation data element when a patient is a high-risk for intubation gets admitted to the ICU with the known possibility that they may require intubation. The patient is given a trial of respiratory therapy but ends up being intubated due to hypoxia/ distress. 

In this instance, report Element Value "1. Yes" for the Unplanned Intubation data element. The decision to intubate a patient isn't always an immediate one. The patient's respiratory status was being closely monitored, however, the patient developed hypoxia and respiratory distress, which required the patient to be intubated.

What should be reported for the Unplanned Intubation data element for patients that were intubated to protect their airway?

In this instance, report Element Value "2. No" for the Unplanned Intubation data element because the definition requires the patient be intubated due to severe respiratory distress. Patients are sometimes intubated due to a change in mental status or are combative to protect their airway from potential compromise not due to respiratory failure.

Where can I find some additional examples of Unplanned Intubation?

The TQIP Education Portal has a tutorial for this and all NTDS Hospital Events.

Unplanned Return to the Operating Room (pg. 123)

A patient was taken to the operating room for damage control laparotomy. Knowing that the subsequent stage of the damage control surgery is going to be based on the patient's physiology and response to the first stage, what should be reported for the Unplanned Visit to the Operating Room data element?

If it was known that the patient would require subsequent or staged procedures after initial management of similar or related procedure, then they do not meet the Unplanned Visit to the Operating Room definition criteria and Element Value "2. No" should be reported because the second surgery was planned.

How should iatrogenic events occurring in the ED or ICU that prompt an unplanned trip to the OR be reported for the Unplanned Visit to the Operating Room data element?

The Unplanned Visit to the Operating Room data element definition does not exclude iatrogenic events from operative procedures performed in the emergency department (ED) or intensive care unit (ICU).

For patients that arrive with solid organ injury and stable vital signs, our standard practice is to attempt conservative management with serial exams and plan for operative treatment upon deterioration if needed. If the patient deteriorates and requires surgery, what should be reported for the Unplanned Visit to the Operating Room data element?

The definition does not exclude patients who failed conservative and/or non-operative management. If the patient fails conservative management of a solid organ injury, the Element Value "1. Yes" must be reported.

Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia [VAP] (pgs. 124–128)

Our infection control department collects VAE and not VAP. Why does the NTDS still define VAP and not VAE?

The CDC's revision cycle is on a much different schedule than the NTDS revision cycle so the NTDS Workgroup does not have access to the updated CDC definitions until after they have completed and released the NTDS Data Dictionary for the corresponding year of the CDC update. Also, in the past, we received many complaints from centers that found it confusing to frequently revise the NTDS definitions that are consistent with the CDC definitions. This was brought the NTDS Workgroup's attention and they decided that the best course of action would be to keep the NTDS definitions consistent for a minimum of three revision cycles (or three data dictionaries in a row) to maintain the integrity of the data.

Outcome Information

Total ICU Length of Stay (pgs. 130 & 131)

Should the Total ICU Length of Stay be reported based on the time the patient was physically in the ICU or the time the patient received ICU level of care?

The cumulative amount of time the patient is physically in the ICU should be reported for the Total ICU Length of Stay data element. The definition does not consider the date and time the order to cease ICU care was placed just the cumulative amount of time the patient was in the ICU.

Total Ventilator Days (pgs. 132 & 133)

When reporting the Total Ventilator Days data element, should patients with tracheostomies that require ventilator support be included post trach placement?

Patients that have a tracheostomy and on mechanical ventilation are not excluded from the definition. If the patient remained on a mechanical ventilator (via endotracheal tube or tracheostomy), then that time should be calculated towards the cumulative amount of time to report for the Total Ventilator Days data element.

Would bag valve mask ventilation performed through an i-gel, King airway or other adjunct be included when reporting the Total Ventilator Days data element?

A bag valve mask (BVM) is a non-invasive means of ventilator support; therefore, you should not include the use of a BVM when calculating the total ventilator days.

If a patient is intubated and on the ventilator but the ventilator is on CPAP. Does this meet the Total Ventilator Days definition criteria?

No. CPAP and BiPAP are not included in the calculation of ventilator days. So, if the patient was on either CPAP or BiPAP (even CPAP and BIPAP modes on the ventilator) the entire 24 hours of any calendar day, you should not include that time in your total vent time calculation.

What should be reported for the Total Ventilator Days data element if a patient was taken to the OR at 22:42 on 01-01-2021, and then went from the PACU to the ICU at 02:06 on 01-02-2021 and remained intubated in the ICU until 17:00 on 01-04-2021, when he was extubated?

For this scenario, the Element Value "3" must be reported for the Total Ventilator Days data element. You start counting the vent time when the patient leaves the PACU.

Hospital Discharge Date; Hospital Discharge Time (pgs. 135 & 136)

If a patient is transferred to inpatient hospice within our facility, what should be reported for the Hospital Discharge Date and Hospital Discharge Time data element? They are not “discharged” from the facility, but their care is transferred to the hospice provider.

Although the patient was transitioned to inpatient hospice care, they were not discharged from the hospital. So, the Hospital Discharge Date and Hospital Discharge Time data elements should be reported as the date the final discharge order was written for the patient to be discharged from the hospital.

When there is brain death, should we report the time that the brain death occurred, or the time physician pronounced the patient dead for the Hospital Discharge Date and Hospital Discharge Time data elements?

Report the time of death as it's documented on the patient's death certificate for the Hospital Discharge Date and Hospital Discharge Time data elements.

Hospital Discharge Disposition (pg. 134)

If a patient comes in from a hospice facility and is discharged back to the hospice facility, what should be reported for the Hospital Discharge Disposition data element?

If the patient's current residence is at the hospice facility, and the patient was discharged back to the hospice facility, then the Hospital Discharge Disposition should be reported as Element Value "6. Discharge to home of self-care."

Which Hospital Discharge Disposition Element Value should be reported for patients who are discharged home with orders for physical therapy?

If a patient was discharged home with orders to begin physical therapy on an outpatient basis, then Element Value "6. Discharged to home or self-care (routine discharge)" must be reported for the Hospital Discharge Disposition data element. If the patient was discharged home with a written order for home health services to provide physical therapy in their home, then Element Value "3. Discharged/Transferred to home under care of organized home health service" must be reported.

What do I report if the patient had multiple discharge orders written? The first or the last?

If multiple orders were written, report the final disposition order.

In the Additional Information section of the Hospital Discharge Disposition, it references UB-04 codes. Who at my center would be a good resource for more information about these codes?

The UB-04 codes are defined by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and your hospital's billing department is a good resource for more information about these codes. The only NTDS instruction that may differ from CMS is the information in the first bullet that states "Element value "6. Home" refers to the patient's current place of residence (e.g., Prison, Child Protective Services etc.)."

Measures for Processes of Care

(Level 1, 2, and Pediatric TQIP Participants ONLY)

Reporting Criterion: Report on patients with at least one injury in AIS head region, excluding patients with isolated scalp abrasion(s), scalp contusion(s), scalp laceration(s) and/or scalp avulsion(s).

Highest GCS Total (pg. 139)

When reporting the Highest GCS Total data element, is this to be reported as the highest documented "on" the next calendar day or "through" the next calendar day?

For patients that meet this Reporting Criterion, report the patient's highest total GCS on the calendar day after they arrived at your ED or hospital. For example, a trauma patient with a subdural hematoma arrived and was admitted to your hospital on 01-05-2021. Report the highest total GCS documented on 01-06-2021.

Initial ED/Hospital Pupillary Response (pg. 146)

For patients that meet this Reporting Criterion, what should be reported for the Initial ED/Hospital Pupillary Response data element when the patient experiences trauma to one eye, but the other eye was documented as reactive within 30 minutes of ED/hospital arrival?

Report the null value "Not Known/Not Recorded" for the Initial ED/Hospital Pupillary Response data element. This instruction can be found in the Additional Information section of the definition

For patients that meet this Reporting Criterion, what should be reported for the Initial ED/Hospital Pupillary Response data element if the patient is blind in both eyes?

If the patient is blind in one or both eyes, then you should report the appropriate Element Value ("1. Both Reactive", "2. One Reactive", "3. Neither Reactive") that was documented within 30 minutes of the patient's arrival to your ED or Hospital, because, depending on the etiology of their blindness, a patient may still have a pupillary response.

Reporting Criterion: Report on all patients

Venous Thromboembolism Prophylaxis Type (pg. 151)

Which Element Value should be reported for the Venous Thromboembolism Prophylaxis Type data element if the patient's first dose of VTE prophylaxis administered was Plavix?

The Element Value "10. Other" should be reported for patients whose first dose of VTE prophylaxis medication was not a LMWH, direct thrombin inhibitor, Xa inhibitor, or unfractionated heparin. As such, Plavix should be reported as Element Value "10. Other".

If a patient was on an anticoagulant at home (e.g., Eliquis) and they were started on the same medication while in the hospital, should we report this for the Venous Thromboembolism Prophylaxis Type data element?

If the patient was started back on their routine anticoagulant while in the hospital, and it was specifically for VTE prophylaxis, then you should report the type of VTE prophylaxis administered to the patient.

Packed Red Blood Cells (PRBCs), Whole Blood, Plasma, Platelets, and Cryoprecipitate (pgs. 154–158)

My center documents blood products in units. Do I need to convert each unit to CCs when reporting these?

Yes. The Packed Red Blood Cells (PRBCs), Whole Blood, Plasma, Platelets, and Cryoprecipitate data elements must be reported for all patients and in CCs (mLs).

Withdrawal of Life Supporting Treatment (pg. 167)

A patient was transferred to hospice. How should the Withdrawal of Life Supporting Treatment data element be reported?

Administering comfort care measures and/or transferring a patient to hospice is different from withdrawing or withholding life-supporting treatment. If the patient was placed in hospice and then expired, then the patient simply died, and Element Value "2. No" must be reported for the Withdrawal of Life Supporting Treatment data element.

What is an example of when the Element Value "1. Yes" should be reported for the Withdrawal of Life Supporting Treatment data element?

An example of a patient meeting this definition is: An intubated patient that physicians determined had a very poor prognosis. They discussed this with the patient's family, and they decided to extubate the patient once all the patient's family were able to arrive at the hospital. The patient expired soon after being extubated.

Reporting Criterion: Report on all patients with transfused packed red blood cells or whole blood within first 4 hours after ED/hospital arrival

Lowest ED/Hospital Systolic Blood Pressure (pg. 159)

A patient received whole blood within 4 hours of arrival at our ED. Do I have to report the Lowest ED/Hospital Systolic Blood Pressure data element?

Yes. The Reporting Criterion is "Report on all patients with transfused packed red blood cells or whole blood within first 4 hours after ED/hospital arrival." If the patient meets the Reporting Criterion, all associated data elements must be reported.

Surgery for Hemorrhage Control Type (pg. 164)

How should this element be reported for patients that meet the Reporting Criterion and had surgery within 24 hours, but it was not documented that the procedure was for hemorrhage control?

To report one of the listed procedures, the surgery must have been for hemorrhage control. If this is unclear or missing from the documentation, you may consider checking with your Trauma Medical Director or relevant surgeon to get clarification as to whether the surgery was for hemorrhage control or not.

A patient meets the Reporting Criterion, had surgery for hemorrhage control, but there isn't an Element Value for the type of surgery. How is this reported?

Element Value "1. None" is reported if Surgery for Hemorrhage Control Type is not a listed Element Value option.

Reporting Criterion: Report on all patients with any open fracture(s)

Miscellaneous (pgs. 170–172)

Does this Reporting Criterion apply to all open fractures or just long-bone fractures?

The Reporting Criterion "Report on all patients with any open fracture(s)", applies to ALL AIS codes that include open and/or amputation (associated with extremity codes) in its descriptor.

Antibiotic Therapy (pg. 170)

How should the Antibiotic Therapy data element be reported when the patient doesn't have an open fracture, but the AIS code descriptor includes "open" in addition to other descriptors? For example, a patient with a closed, displaced, comminuted nasal fracture assigned an AIS code "251002.2".

If the AIS code meets the Reporting Criterion "Collect on all patients with any fracture(s)" and the patient did not receive IV antibiotic therapy within 24 hours after the first hospital encounter, then report the Element Value "2. No" for the Antibiotic Therapy data element.