Jurek AM, Greenland S, Spector LG, Roesler MA, Robison LL, Ross JA. Self-report versus medical record – perinatal factors in a study of infant leukaemia: a study from the Children's Oncology Group. Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology 2011; 25: 540–548.
In a case–control study of infant leukaemia, we assessed agreement between medical records and mother's self-reported pregnancy-related conditions and procedures and infant treatments. Interview and medical record data were available for 234 case and 215 control mothers. Sensitivity, specificity and predictive values for maternal report were estimated for case and control mothers separately, taking the medical record as correct. For most perinatal conditions, sensitivity and specificity were over 75%. Low sensitivity was observed for maternal protein or albumin in the urine (cases: 12% [95% exact confidence interval (CI) 8%, 18%]; controls: 11% [95% CI 7%, 17%]) and infant supplemental oxygen use (cases: 25% [95% CI 11%, 43%]; controls: 24% [95% CI 13%, 37%]). Low specificity was found for peripheral oedema (cases: 47% [95% CI 37%, 58%]; controls: 54% [95% CI 43%, 64%]). Sensitivity for maternal hypertension appeared much lower for cases (cases: 46% [95% CI 28%, 66%]; controls: 90% [95% CI 70%, 99%]; P = 0.003). We did not detect other case–control differences in recall (differentiality), even though the average time between childbirth and interview was 2.7 years for case and 3.7 years for control mothers. Many conditions exhibited notable differences between interview and records. We recommend use of multiple measurement sources to allow both cross-checking and synthesis of results into more accurate measures.