Respiratory Failure in setting of cardiac arrest

Do you think its appropriate to query for Respiratory Failure in the setting of a cardiac arrest/code?

Example: pt presents w/ weakness, metastatic cancer, & anemia. Goes to OR for exploratory lap. Post op day 4, patient found unresponsive,  code blue called, and pt expires.

Usually in these situations, charting is scarce- pt found unresponsive, cpr initiated, pt intubated.... etc, etc. code unsuccessful, pt expired. 

Sometimes I see documentation of "cardiopulmonary arrest" and sometimes I see just "cardiac arrest". (I know they both code to cardiac arrest). Thoughts on Respiratory Failure? I see both sides of the argument....



  • Jillian: Do not query for "respiratory failure" in setting of cardiopulmonary/cardiac (coded in category I46) or respiratory arrest (R09.2) unless preceding respiratory failure clearly occurred or patient is successfully resuscitated and then managed for the consequent respiratory failure after recovery from "arrest".  Hope this makes sense?

    Richard D. Pinson, MD, FACP, CCS
    Pinson & Tang
    CDI Educators and Advisers
    Authors of the CDI Pocket Guide

  • Makes absolute sense and I agree. Thank you Dr. Pinson!
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