Cracking the Code

Coding Alzheimer’s Disease

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Alzheimer’s Disease is a “progressive disease beginning with mild memory loss and possibly leading to loss of the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to the environment. Alzheimer’s disease involves parts of the brain that control thought, memory, and language. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia.

Alzheimer’s disease is reported with a code from ICD-10-CM category G30. The symptoms start as memory loss and confusion and eventually lead to not being able to remember, learn, or reason. Code selection is based on the onset of Alzheimer’s disease such as early onset or late onset.

If the provider documents dementia with Alzheimer’s, two codes would be required. These two codes would be a code from category G30, selected based on the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and code F02.- for dementia, and this would be dependent on associated disturbances. We can find these codes by navigating through our ICD-10-CM Alphabetic Index under Disease/Alzheimer’s and then looking at the indented entries for code selection. In the Tabular List, category code F02 has a note to code first the underlying physiological condition.

Q: A 63-year-old male patient sees the provider for confusion and loss of memory. The provider diagnoses the patient with early onset stages of Alzheimer’s disease with dementia. What ICD-10-CM codes are reported?
A: In our ICD-10-CM Alphabetic Index, we go to Disease, diseased/Alzheimer’s/early onset which directs us to G30.0 [F02.80]. Remember a code in brackets indicates a manifestation code. As we verify G30.0 in the Tabular, we see there is an instructional note under G30 that confirms that we should also code the dementia. F02.80 is the correct code as the provider does not mention any behavioral disturbances in the patient. Remember, sequencing rules tell us that the manifestation code always follows the etiology code.
Reference: 2024 ICD-10-CM code book
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