Radiology Coding Alert

You Be the Coder: D-Dimer Diagnosis

- Published on Sun, Sep 12, 2004
Question: A patient was evaluated for pulmonary embolism, on a CT chest with contrast. What is the diagnosis code for a positive D-dimer exam if there is no physician interpretation?
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Answer: Most experts suggest the use of ICD-9 790.99 (Other nonspecific findings on examination of blood; other).
While some coders use 790.92 (Abnormal coagulation profile), a D-dimer test looks for the breakdown of clots, rather than coagulation.
The levels of dextro dimer fragments in the blood can alert the doctor to the presence of venous thromboembolism, which often includes deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolus. There is now no official determination on the best code for this job.

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