Understanding Asthma ICD-10 for Better Health

AFIHS - Understanding Asthma ICD-10 for Better Health

Understanding Asthma: A Guide to ICD-10 Coding for Accurate Medical Reporting

Asthma ICD-10

ICD-10, or the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Edition, is a system used globally for coding various diseases, conditions, and health-related issues. For asthma, the ICD-10 code is J45. This code is part of the larger category J40-J47, which encompasses chronic lower respiratory diseases, including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

For example, the ICD-10 code for mild intermittent asthma is J45.00, and for moderate persistent asthma with (acute) exacerbation, it is J45.32. The additional characters in the code help healthcare professionals precisely document and classify the condition for accurate medical records and billing purposes. It also aids in research and public health monitoring by providing detailed information about the characteristics of asthma cases.

We will be discussing documenting and coding chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma in ICD-10. For Accurate diagnosis and proper management, it is vital to distinguish Asthma and COPD as early as possible. As COPD and asthma have common features, differentiating them can be complicated, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. Practices also need to ensure accurate and up to date coding and proper documentation to ensure quality care and appropriate reimbursement and to also avoid risk of audit.

Asthma: Introduction

Asthma is a chronic disease of the airways causing blockage of bronchial airways restricting the Air flow to Lungs. Asthma triggers differ from person to person and include pollen, dust mites, mold, pet hair, respiratory infections, physical activity, cold air, smoke, certain medications, some preservatives and food and beverages, stress, and gastro esophageal reflux disease. According to the centers for Disease Controls, 1 in 13 people in the US have asthma.


More than 25 million Americans have asthma and is the leading chronic disease in children.. COPD is mainly responsible for obstructing air flow to lungs. It is one of leading cause of deaths and disabilities in United States. Smoking is the most common cause of COPD, according to the Mayo Clinic. 20-30 % of people who smoke on a regular basis develop COPD. Types of COPD includes Bronchitis & Emphysema. According to the AAFP, in 2010, COPD was the primary diagnosis in 10.3 million physician office visits, 1.5 million emergency department visits, and 699,000 hospital discharges.


The specific code for asthma can be further detailed based on factors such as severity, presence of exacerbation, and whether the asthma is allergic or non-allergic. The complete ICD-10 code for asthma would include additional characters after J45 to provide more information about the nature and specifics of the condition.



Disease Management:

The American Lung Association estimates that there may be as many as 24 million American adults living with COPD. Both asthma and COPD are treatable. With proper management, most people with COPD can achieve good symptom control and quality of life, as well as reduce risk of other associated conditions. Life Expectancy depends greatly upon distinguishing COPD and Asthma. As these conditions have many common features, the AFP recommends that an approach that focuses on the features that can directly distinguish asthma from COPD.


If one of these conditions is documented as exasperated, this does not automatically imply that the other condition is also exasperated. Physicians need to focus on accurate chart documentation and diagnosis reporting for these pulmonary conditions. I hope this helps, but always remember that documentation, as well as a thorough knowledge of payer regulations and guidelines, is critical to ensure accurate reimbursement through the procedures performed.

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