Aspiration pneumonia

With the new update, our coding department is saying that aspiration pneumonia defaults to non-infectious aspiration pneumonitis. So if a patient is admitted with sepsis, the documentation needs to say Sepsis due to bacterial pneumonia due to aspiration. If the documentation says, Sepsis due to aspiration pneumonia then coding says it defaults to non-infectious aspiration pneumonitis and sepsis will not be primary since it is not an infection. What are y'all's thoughts?



  • Edited to added: This is based on the 10/1 update. Thanks!
  • there a coding clinic regarding this change?
  • talked briefly in coding clinic 2017 quarter 1. that question addresses COPD and aspiration
  • Given that 'sepsis' represents a systemic response causing organ dysfunctions, and that not 'all' patient with aspiration pneumonia are septic, it is my view that sepsis must be the principal diagnosis rather than any inflammation or infection of a single body system.   Even if or when the cause of sepsis may not be known, the presence of sepsis represents life-threatening organ dysfunction caused by response to infection.

    Paul Evans, RHIA, CCDS

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