In Search of a Controlled Vocabulary for Emergency Department Chief Complaint: A Comparison of Four Published Chief Complaint Lists


The lack of a standardized vocabulary for recording CC complicates the collection, aggregation, and analysis of CC for any purpose, but especially for real-time surveillance of patterns of illness and injury. The need for a controlled CC vocabulary has been articulated by national groups and a plan proposed for developing such a vocabulary. To date there has been no comparison of published CC lists.  This study lays the groundwork for a controlled ED CC vocabulary by comparing selected terms from several published ED CC lists.


The purpose of this study was to compare the most common chief complaints (CC) from a national emergency department (ED) survey, with four published CC lists in order to identify issues relevant to the creation of a controlled ED CC vocabulary.

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Original Publication Year: 
Event/Publication Date: 
December, 2008

July 30, 2018

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