ICD-10 for Busy Physicians – Asthma and COPD

April 16th, 2012 / By Rhonda Butler

Asthma and COPD are two chronic conditions common enough in the general population that most physicians will want to know the documentation needs for coding in ICD-10. I’ll compare them to documentation for ICD-9.


Asthma coding has changed. Two axes of classification that physicians rarely documented in ICD-9 have been eliminated, and two axes of classification (that hopefully physicians will find useful) have been added in ICD-10. As a result, the total number of asthma and COPD codes is roughly the same in ICD-9 and ICD-10—17 ICD-9 codes and 20 ICD-10 codes.

Here are the two hair-splitting ICD-9 axes of classification that have been eliminated in ICD-10:

  • ICD-10 does not force physicians to categorize asthma as intrinsic or extrinsic. Asthma is just asthma.
  • ICD-10 does not have separate codes for chronic obstructive asthma, as opposed to chronic obstructive bronchitis or plain old chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. COPD is just COPD in ICD-10. More about COPD when we finish with asthma.

Read my latest blog at PhysBizTech.

Rhonda Butler is a Senior Clinical Research Analyst with 3M Health Information Systems.