Diagnosis Codes

A warning for those of you who are as number aversive as I was:  lots of numbers coming up! 

I wanted to know exactly what my diagnoses codes meant.  I wanted to understand the words associated with the numbers since I’m a word person, not a number person, so I used my computer. I discovered a site where these codes are explained. It’s the site for the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision. You can identify each of your codes at http://apps.who.int/classifications/apps/icd/icd10online/.

Libraries also carry a copy of The International Classification of Diseases, Clinical Modification : ICD-CM  although it may be a reference book meaning it cannot be taken out of the library.  The call number is 616.1612. But, then again, most libraries offer the free use of their computers for their members.

As you can see, I have a host of codes.  Most kidney patients do since there are so many accompanying “gifts” from, or contributing to, the disease.  The ICD is clearly, numerically organized. For example, my first code is: 585.3.  When I went to the ICD online, I clicked on 580-629 and discovered this group of codes deals with Diseases of the Genitourinary System [urination and production].

Within that range of diagnoses, I clicked on 580-589 which revealed that these codes deal with Nephritis, Nephrotic Syndrome, And Nephrosis [nephro = kidney]. Refining the diagnosis code even more, I clicked on 585 which turned out to be Chronic Kidney Disease. From the menu under 585, I clicked .3 to discover that this is Stage 3 of the disease. So I have Stage 3 Chronic Kidney Disease.

I researched my second diagnosis in exactly the same manner. 403.10 falls within the range of 390-459, Circulatory Diseases. 401-405 deal specifically with Hypertensive Disease. Narrowing the diagnosis down to 403 brings us to Hypertensive Kidney Disease, while the .10 lands me at Benign Hypertensive Renal Disease without renal failure. The drop down menus under each more generalized code made this a painless process.

By the time I got to the third diagnosis code, I couldn’t think of anything else that might be wrong with me. My third diagnosis was 593.2. I dutifully clicked on 580-629, which I already knew from my first diagnosis code is the category for Diseases Of The Genitourinary System, On the dropdown menu, I clicked 590-599 which turned out to be Other Diseases Of Urinary System. Other Diseases of Urinary System? 

What was this? I clicked 593*. That was Other Disorders of Kidney and Ureter, which didn’t help much. The asterisk referred me to the second volume of The ICD for the specific Medicare or Medicaid code (which surprised me since I do not use either as my insurance, but there seems to be no other code for this). Finally, the .2 tells me this is a Cyst of Kidney Acquired. Oh, right.  I vaguely remembered the nephrologist mentioning I had a cyst.

My last diagnosis code was 285.21. The ICD trail for that is: 280-289 – Diseases Of The Blood And Blood-Forming Organs (Oh no!  I had a blood disease, too?); 285 – Other and Unspecified Anemias; 21* – Anemia in Chronic Kidney Disease. The asterisk means the same as it does for 593.2 above. After a sigh of relief that this wasn’t worse, I realized that I had always been borderline anemic and the CKD exacerbated that.

This took a lot less time on the computer than it took to write about the process.  It’s just a matter of click, click, click. Of course, you may need the dictionary to understand your final diagnoses. While you may have the same diagnoses I do, you also may have other diagnoses that I don’t. You research them the same way. The benefit of actually going to the library is that you have a reference librarian to help if you find yourself in research trouble.

I was delighted to see how easy it was to crack the codes once I got the hang of  it.  Here’s hoping you have the same easy time of it.

Have a great weekend and until Tuesday,

Keep living!

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Published in: on October 29, 2010 at 12:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

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