Coding Tip: Chronic Kidney Disease Coding
This Coding Tip was updated on 12/4/2018
Kim Carrier RHIT, CDIP, CCS, CCS-P
Director of Coding Quality Assurance
AHIMA Approved ICD-10-CM/PCS Trainer
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is the gradual loss of kidney function. The function of your kidney is to filter waste and excess fluids from your blood and excrete into the urine. In patients with CKD, the waste and excess fluids can build up in the body. In the early stages of CKD, there may be few signs and symptoms and oftentimes is not known until there is significant damage to the kidney function.
There are five stages of chronic kidney disease and seven ICD-10-CM codes to report these. The Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR) is the rate at which the kidneys filter waste and relates to a patient’s kidney function. The GFR listed below would not be a one-time laboratory value but based on evidence of CKD for at least three months.
Stage 1: Patient will have GFR of 90+ with normal kidney function. Kidney structural abnormalities, urine findings or genetic trait pointing to kidney disease. Treatment for this stage is observation, blood pressure control and identifying the cause to try and reverse it. ICD-10-CM code N18.1 (CKD stage 1) is used to report this stage.
Stage 2: Patient will have GFR of 60-89 with mildly reduced kidney function, kidney structural abnormalities, urine findings or genetic trait pointing to kidney disease. Treatment for this stage is monitoring creatinine level, blood pressure control and reduce risk factors. ICD-10-CM code N18.2 (CKD stage 2) is used to report this stage.
Stage 3: Patient will have GFR 30-59 with moderately reduced kidney function. Treatment is to continue to monitor and stop or slow the worsening kidney function. ICD-10-CM code N18.3 (CKD stage 3) is used to report this stage.
Stage 4: Patient will have GFR 15-29 with severely reduced kidney function. Treatment is planning for end-stage renal failure by creating access site for dialysis and obtaining assessment for possible future transplant. ICD-10-CM code N18.4 (CKD stage 4) is used to report this stage.
Stage 5: Patient will have GFR
CKD affects around 26 million Americans.
Signs and symptoms sometimes go undiagnosed and progress because they are so subtle.
Here are the 10 key kidney disease symptoms:
- Change in urination (more, less, amount is different than normal, foamy or bubbly urine or blood in the urine and difficulty with urination
- Skin rash/itching
- Pain in the leg, back or side
- Ammonia breath/metallic taste in the mouth
- Nausea and vomiting
- Feeling cold
- Shortness of breath
- Dizziness and trouble with concentration
CKD occurs when a disease/condition impairs kidney function causing damage to the kidney.
Leading causes of CKD:
- Glomerular disease
- Congenital kidney diseases or inherited kidney disorders/diseases
- Post poisoning or Medication taken over long period of time
- Post trauma to the kidney
- Recurrent pyelonephritis
- Vesicoureteral reflux
- Prolonged urinary tract obstruction
Diabetes is the number 1 cause of CKD.
Please note: when coding DM with CKD of unspecified stage, there is an instructional note in the ICD-10-CM Index that stats “Use additional code to identify stage of chronic kidney disease (N18.1-N18.6).” Code N18.9 is not included in this range of codes and provides no further specificity. In this case, only E11.22 would be needed for DM with CKD of unspecified stage. It would not be appropriate to report N18.9 as an additional code based on the instructional note in the index. When hypertension and CKD are documented, the unspecified stage CKD (N18.9) would be reported since the index does include this code in the range listed. Please follow the instructional notes in the ICD-10-CM Index.
The information contained in this coding advice is valid at the time of posting. Viewers are encouraged to research subsequent official guidance in the areas associated with the topic as they can change rapidly.
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