Learn the ICD-10 Codes to Document Atherosclerosis

by | Jan 24, 2019 | Medical Billing, Resources | 0 comments

Atherosclerosis is a condition wherein the arteries become clogged with fatty substances called plaque, or atheroma. The condition occurs when the blood vessels that carry oxygen and essential nutrients from your heart to the rest of your body (arteries) become thick and stiff thereby restricting blood flow to your organs and tissues. The condition doesn’t cause any visible symptoms at first. However, many people may not be aware that they suffer from this condition which can lead to severe life-threatening complications such as heart attack and stroke if left untreated. The condition is largely preventable with a healthy lifestyle, and timely treatment. Billing and coding for atherosclerosis can be challenging. Cardiology health practices as well as medical billing and coding companies should stay up-to-date with the latest billing and coding changes along with the associated medical codes and report the right diagnoses codes on their medical claims.

Considered as a slow, progressive disease, atherosclerosis may often begin in childhood and progress with age. Even though the exact cause is unknown, the condition may start with damage or injury to the inner layer of an artery. The damage to the artery may be caused by – high blood pressure, high cholesterol, insulin resistance, obesity or diabetes, high triglycerides, a type of fat (lipid) in your blood, smoking and other sources of tobacco and inflammation from diseases, such as arthritis, lupus or infections.

Unlock the Symptoms

Most symptoms of this condition arise when a blockage occurs. The signs and symptoms of moderate to severe atherosclerosis depend on which arteries are affected. Common symptoms include –

  • Chest pain or angina
  • Weakness or numbness in the face or limbs
  • Vision problems
  • Trouble speaking
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain in your leg, arm, and anywhere else that has a blocked artery
  • Muscle weakness in your legs from lack of circulation
  • Loss of balance
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion, which occurs if the blockage affects circulation to your brain

Factors that can place people at risk for atherosclerosis include – family history, high blood pressure, diabetes, lack of physical exercise and smoking.

How Is Atherosclerosis Diagnosed and Treated?

Initial diagnosis of this condition will generally consist of medical history evaluation, physical examination and diagnostic test evaluation. Physicians will conduct a detailed physical examination wherein they will check for signs of narrowed, enlarged or hardened arteries, including – weakened pulse, decreased blood pressure in an affected limb, an aneurysm, (abnormal bulging or widening of an artery due to weakness of the arterial wall) and slow wound healing (indicating a restricted blood flow).

Physicians will also conduct blood tests to detect levels of cholesterol and blood sugar that may potentially increase the risk of the condition. A stress test, (also called an exercise stress test), will be performed which monitors your heart rate and blood pressure while you exercise on a treadmill or stationary bicycle. In addition, several diagnostic imaging tests such as – Electrocardiogram (ECG), Doppler ultrasound, Ankle-brachial index, Cardiac catheterization and angiogram, Computerized tomography (CT) scan, Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) will be conducted to check for any areas of decreased blood flow.

Incorporating positive lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet and doing regular physical exercise are considered the most appropriate treatments for atherosclerosis. Sometimes, medication or surgical procedure may be recommended as well. Medications include angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, calcium channel blockers, anti-platelet medications, Beta blocker medications and cholesterol medications. If symptoms are especially severe, or if muscle or skin tissue are endangered surgical procedures may be opted which include – Angioplasty and stent placement, Endarterectomy, Fibrinolytic therapy and Bypass surgery.

Cardiology medical coding involves using the specific ICD-10 codes to show accurate diagnosis of atherosclerosis on your medical claims.

ICD-10 Codes To Use

I70 – Atherosclerosis
I70.0 – Atherosclerosis of aorta
I70.1 – Atherosclerosis of renal artery
I70.2 – Atherosclerosis of native arteries of the extremities

  • I70.20 – Unspecified atherosclerosis of native arteries of extremities
  • I70.21 – Atherosclerosis of native arteries of extremities with intermittent claudication
  • I70.22 – Atherosclerosis of native arteries of extremities with rest pain
  • I70.23 – Atherosclerosis of native arteries of right leg with ulceration
  • I70.24 – Atherosclerosis of native arteries of left leg with ulceration
  • I70.25 – Atherosclerosis of native arteries of other extremities with ulceration
  • I70.26 – Atherosclerosis of native arteries of extremities with gangrene
  • I70.29 – Other atherosclerosis of native arteries of extremities

I70.3 – Atherosclerosis of unspecified type of bypass graft(s) of the extremities

  • I70.30 – Unspecified atherosclerosis of unspecified type of bypass graft(s) of the extremities
  • I70.31 – Atherosclerosis of unspecified type of bypass graft(s) of the extremities with intermittent claudication
  • I70.32 – Atherosclerosis of unspecified type of bypass graft(s) of the extremities with rest pain
  • I70.33 – Atherosclerosis of unspecified type of bypass graft(s) of the right leg with ulceration
  • I70.34 – Atherosclerosis of unspecified type of bypass graft(s) of the left leg with ulceration
  • I70.35 – Atherosclerosis of unspecified type of bypass graft(s) of other extremity with ulceration
  • I70.36 – Atherosclerosis of unspecified type of bypass graft(s) of the extremities with gangrene
  • I70.39 – Other atherosclerosis of unspecified type of bypass graft(s) of the extremities

I70.4 – Atherosclerosis of autologous vein bypass graft(s) of the extremities

  • I70.40 – Unspecified atherosclerosis of autologous vein bypass graft(s) of the extremities
  • I70.41 – Atherosclerosis of autologous vein bypass graft(s) of the extremities with intermittent claudication
  • I70.42 – Atherosclerosis of autologous vein bypass graft(s) of the extremities with rest pain
  • I70.43 – Atherosclerosis of autologous vein bypass graft(s) of the right leg with ulceration
  • I70.44 – Atherosclerosis of autologous vein bypass graft(s) of the left leg with ulceration
  • I70.45 – Atherosclerosis of autologous vein bypass graft(s) of other extremity with ulceration
  • I70.46 – Atherosclerosis of autologous vein bypass graft(s) of the extremities with gangrene
  • I70.49 – Other atherosclerosis of autologous vein bypass graft(s) of the extremities

I70.5 – Atherosclerosis of nonautologous biological bypass graft(s) of the extremities

  • I70.50 – Unspecified atherosclerosis of nonautologous biological bypass graft(s) of the extremities
  • I70.51 – Atherosclerosis of nonautologous biological bypass graft(s) of the extremities intermittent claudication
  • I70.52 – Atherosclerosis of nonautologous biological bypass graft(s) of the extremities with rest pain
  • I70.53 – Atherosclerosis of nonautologous biological bypass graft(s) of the right leg with ulceration
  • I70.54 – Atherosclerosis of nonautologous biological bypass graft(s) of the left leg with ulceration
  • I70.55 – Atherosclerosis of nonautologous biological bypass graft(s) of other extremity with ulceration
  • I70.56 – Atherosclerosis of nonautologous biological bypass graft(s) of the extremities with gangrene
  • I70.59 – Other atherosclerosis of nonautologous biological bypass graft(s) of the extremities

I70.6 – Atherosclerosis of nonbiological bypass graft(s) of the extremities

  • I70.60 – Unspecified atherosclerosis of nonbiological bypass graft(s) of the extremities
  • I70.61 – Atherosclerosis of nonbiological bypass graft(s) of the extremities with intermittent claudication
  • I70.62 – Atherosclerosis of nonbiological bypass graft(s) of the extremities with rest pain
  • I70.63 – Atherosclerosis of nonbiological bypass graft(s) of the right leg with ulceration
  • I70.64 – Atherosclerosis of nonbiological bypass graft(s) of the left leg with ulceration
  • I70.65 – Atherosclerosis of nonbiological bypass graft(s) of other extremity with ulceration
  • I70.66 – Atherosclerosis of nonbiological bypass graft(s) of the extremities with gangrene
  • I70.69 – Other atherosclerosis of nonbiological bypass graft(s) of the extremities

I70.7 – Atherosclerosis of other type of bypass graft(s) of the extremities

  • I70.70 – Unspecified atherosclerosis of other type of bypass graft(s) of the extremities
  • I70.71 – Atherosclerosis of other type of bypass graft(s) of the extremities with intermittent claudication
  • I70.72 – Atherosclerosis of other type of bypass graft(s) of the extremities with rest pain
  • I70.73 – Atherosclerosis of other type of bypass graft(s) of the right leg with ulceration
  • I70.74 – Atherosclerosis of other type of bypass graft(s) of the left leg with ulceration
  • I70.75 – Atherosclerosis of other type of bypass graft(s) of other extremity with ulceration
  • I70.76 – Atherosclerosis of other type of bypass graft(s) of the extremities with gangrene
  • I70.79 – Other atherosclerosis of other type of bypass graft(s) of the extremities

I70.8 – Atherosclerosis of other arteries
I70.9 – Other and unspecified atherosclerosis

Incorporating key lifestyle changes can help prevent or slow the progression of atherosclerosis in the long run. Several new steps can be included to limit the risk of plaque buildup which include – regular body exercise, quitting the habit of smoking, maintaining a healthy body weight, eating a healthy diet (that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol), managing stress and treating conditions associated with atherosclerosis, such as hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes.

Medical billing and coding for various cardiology conditions and procedures can be complex and requires knowledge regarding appropriate coding, modifiers and payer-specific medical billing. For correct and well-timed medical billing and claims submissions, healthcare practices can outsource their billing and coding tasks to a reliable and professional medical billing company that provides the services of AAPC-certified coding specialists.