Regarded as one of the most common medical conditions, lung diseases affect the structure of the lung tissue and other parts of the respiratory system. Lungs are part of a complex apparatus, expanding and relaxing thousands of times each day to bring in oxygen and expel carbon dioxide. Scarring or inflammation of the tissue makes the lungs unable to expand fully. This makes it hard for the lungs to take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide. Lung disease can result from problems in any part of this system. Reports suggest that ten million people in the United States suffer from lung diseases in the United States. Smoking tobacco or second hand exposure to smoke, infections and genetics are responsible for most lung diseases. Knowing the early warning signs of lung disease can help you receive treatment before the disease becomes serious or even life threatening. Common warning signs include – chronic cough, shortness of breath, wheezing, chronic mucus production, coughing of blood and chest pain. Undergoing early treatment may help get symptoms under control before serious complications develop. Diagnosing respiratory/lung conditions can be complex. When it comes to reporting diagnoses, physicians can always rely on experienced cardiology medical billing companies. Having extensive knowledge about the anatomy of the respiratory system, related codes and guidelines, skilled medical coding service providers are well-equipped to handle ICD-10 coding for lung diseases.

The term lung disease refers to many disorders affecting the lungs, such as asthma, lung infections, lung cancer, and many other breathing problems. Here discussed are the ICD-10 codes for coding five common lung conditions –

Asthma – Asthma is a chronic disease that causes your airways to become narrow and swell and produce extra mucus. The condition can lead to difficulty in breathing and trigger coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. According to reports, around 8.1 percent of the US population suffered asthma in 2017. It is more common among females and children aged 5 to 14 years. A combination of environmental and genetic (inherited) factors like – air pollutants and irritants, cold air, respiratory infections, exposure to airborne substances (such as pollen, dust mites, mold spores, pet dander), stress and usage of certain medications can trigger signs and symptoms of this condition. There is no specific cure for asthma. However, the best way to manage the disease is to avoid triggers, take medications to keep the symptoms under control. The ICD-10 codes for asthma include –

  • J45 – Asthma
  • J45.2 – Mild intermittent asthma
    • J45.20 – Mild intermittent asthma, uncomplicated
    • J45.21 – Mild intermittent asthma, with (acute) exacerbation
    • J45.22 – Mild intermittent asthma, with status asthmaticus
  • J45.3 – Mild persistent asthma
    • J45.30 – Mild persistent asthma, uncomplicated
    • J45.31 – Mild persistent asthma, with (acute) exacerbation
    • J45.32 – Mild persistent asthma, with status asthmaticus
  • J45.4 – Moderate persistent asthma
    • J45.40 – Moderate persistent asthma, uncomplicated
    • J45.41 – Moderate persistent asthma, with (acute) exacerbation
    • J45.42 – Moderate persistent asthma, with status asthmaticus
  • J45.5 – Severe persistent asthma
    • J45.50 – Severe persistent asthma, uncomplicated
    • J45.51 – Severe persistent asthma, with (acute) exacerbation
    • J45.52 – Severe persistent asthma, with status asthmaticus
  • J45.9 – Other and unspecified asthma
    • J45.90 – Unspecified asthma
      • J45.901 – Unspecified asthma, with (acute) exacerbation
      • J45.902 – Unspecified asthma, with status asthmaticus
      • J45.909 – Unspecified asthma, uncomplicated
    • J45.99 – Other asthma
      • J45.990 – Exercise induced bronchospasm
      • J45.991 – Cough variant asthma
      • J45.998 – Other asthma

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)-COPD is an umbrella term that covers several respiratory illnesses that cause breathlessness, or the inability to exhale normally. Symptoms include breathing difficulty, cough, mucus (sputum) production and wheezing. People suffering from COPD are at increased risk of developing heart disease, lung cancer and a variety of other conditions. Diagnosis of this condition may begin with a detailed review of symptoms and exposure to lung irritants (especially cigarette smoke). Imaging tests like lung (pulmonary) function tests, chest X-ray, CT scan and arterial blood gas analysis. Treatment options include medications and lung therapies like oxygen therapy and pulmonary rehabilitation program. Related ICD-10 codes include –

  • J44 – Other chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • J44.0 – Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with acute lower respiratory infection
  • J44.1 – Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with (acute) exacerbation
  • J44.9 – Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, unspecified

Pulmonary Embolism – Regarded as one of the most common cardiovascular diseases in the United States, pulmonary embolism is a blockage in the pulmonary artery (which supplies the blood to the lungs). The blockage prevents oxygen from reaching the tissues of the lungs.Symptoms of pulmonary embolism include – chest pain (a sharp, stabbing pain), irregular heartbeat, dizziness, rapid breathing and dry cough. Treatment modalities include oxygen therapy and anticoagulant medications, (such as heparin, enoxaparin, or warfarin) which help thin the blood and prevent further clotting. The ICD-10 codes relevant to pulmonary embolism includes –

  • I26 – Pulmonary embolism
  • I26.0 – Pulmonary embolism with acute cor pulmonale
    • I26.01 – Septic pulmonary embolism with acute cor pulmonale
    • I26.02 – Saddle embolus of pulmonary artery with acute cor pulmonale
    • I26.09 – Other pulmonary embolism with acute cor pulmonale
  • I26.9 – Pulmonary embolism without acute cor pulmonale
    • I26.90 – Septic pulmonary embolism without acute cor pulmonale
    • I26.92 – Saddle embolus of pulmonary artery without acute cor pulmonale
    • I26.99 – Other pulmonary embolism without acute cor pulmonale

Lung Cancer – Lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States among women. According to the American Cancer Society’s 2018 estimates, there are about 234,030 new cases of lung cancer (121,680 in men and 112,350 in women). It is estimated that about 14 percent of new cases of cancers diagnosed in the US are related to the lungs.Typically, lung cancer doesn’t cause any specific signs and symptoms in its earliest stages. Symptoms usually appear only when the disease reaches its advanced stages. Common symptoms include – coughing up blood (even a small amount), losing body weight, headache, chest pain, shortness of breath and bone pain. Treatment plan for this condition depends on a number of factors like – overall health, type and stage of cancer and patient preferences. ICD-10 codes for reporting diagnosis of lung cancer include –

  • C34 – Malignant neoplasm of bronchus and lung
  • C34.0 – Malignant neoplasm of main bronchus
  • C34.1 – Malignant neoplasm of upper lobe, bronchus or lung
  • C34.2 – Malignant neoplasm of middle lobe, bronchus or lung
  • C34.3 – Malignant neoplasm of lower lobe, bronchus or lung
  • C34.8 – Malignant neoplasm of overlapping sites of bronchus and lung
  • C34.9 – Malignant neoplasm of unspecified part of bronchus or lung

Pulmonary Hypertension (PH) – PH refers to high blood pressure in the blood vessels leading from the heart to the lungs (pulmonary arteries). The increased blood pressure in the arteries causes the lungs to become narrow (or constrict), thereby reducing blood flow through the lungs and causing low levels of oxygen in the blood. The condition in most cases affects the right side of the heart causing severe symptoms like shortness of breath, chest pain, and lightheadedness. If left untreated, the increased blood pressure levels can damage your heart and may often lead to serious or life-threatening complications, such as heart failure or arrhythmias (or irregular heart rhythms). Cardiologists and other clinicians need to know the specific ICD-10 codes to report the diagnosis of PH correctly. Report the following codes ICD-10 codes for reimbursement purposes –

  • I27 – Other pulmonary heart diseases
  • I27.0 – Primary pulmonary hypertension
  • I27.1 – Kyphoscoliotic heart disease
  • I27.2 – Other secondary pulmonary hypertension
    • I27.20 – Pulmonary hypertension, unspecified
    • I27.21 – Secondary pulmonary arterial hypertension
    • I27.22 – Pulmonary hypertension due to left heart disease
    • I27.23 – Pulmonary hypertension due to lung diseases and hypoxia
    • I27.24 – Chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension
    • I27.29 – Other secondary pulmonary hypertension
  • I27.8 – Other specified pulmonary heart diseases
    • I27.81 – Cor pulmonale (chronic)
    • I27.82 – Chronic pulmonary embolism
    • I27.83 – Eisenmenger’s syndrome
    • I27.89 – Other specified pulmonary heart diseases
  • I27.9 – Pulmonary heart disease, unspecified

The majority of lung diseases are preventable. The risks of suffering the above-mentioned common lung conditions can be reduced to a great extent by taking adequate preventive measures like maintaining a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet and exercising, keeping cholesterol and blood pressure levels under control, reducing salt intake, and quitting the habit of smoking.

Healthcare providers need to be knowledgeable about the highly specific ICD-10 codes to report common lung diseases. Utilizing the services of a reliable medical billing and coding company can help or support physicians to ensure accurate claim submission for optimal reimbursement.