In ICD-10 CM, code category I63 should be utilized when the medical documentation indicates that an infarction or stroke has occurred. Coding of sequelae of stroke and infarction also demands a level of detail often missing in medical records. There are specific codes which indicate the cause of the infarction, such as embolism or thrombosis, as well as the specific affected arteries. The sixth digit provides additional information which designates the affected side when applicable. 

ICD Codes

Stroke type


Spontaneous subarachnoid hemorrhage


Spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage


Spontaneous subdural hemorrhage


Thrombosis/embolus precerebral arteries


Thrombosis/embolus cerebral arteries


Venous thrombosis


Other specified cerebral infarction


Unspecified cerebral infarction


Transient cerebral ischemic attack, unspecified (TIA)


Personal history of TIA or cerebral infarct without residual deficits


Seek answers to two questions when coding a stroke, infarction, or hemorrhage. First, ask if the cerebral event is acute, or emergent. Second, find in the medical record details of the site and the site, laterality, and type of stroke or infarction. Medical record documentation should clearly specify the cause-and-effect relationship between the medical intervention and the cerebrovascular accident in order to assign a code for an intraoperative or postprocedural cerebrovascular accident.

Clinical Scenario

The patient is admitted into hospital and diagnosed with cerebral infarction, unspecified (ICD-10 code I63.9). At the 3-week post-discharge follow-up appointment for the cerebral infarction, the office visit note states the patient had a stroke and has a residual deficit of hemiplegia, affecting the right dominant side.

In the scenario described above, assigning ICD-10 code I69.351, hemiplegia and hemiparesis following cerebral infarction affecting the right dominant side, accurately reflects the documentation in the medical record. Any insurance company reviews provider documentation to ensure the accuracy of diagnosis codes reported.

  • Once the patient is discharged, it is not appropriate to code for the cerebral infarction. Instead, you would code any and all residual deficits the patient has.
  • If the patient does not have any cerebral infarction deficits, you can apply the ICD-10 code Z86.73, personal history of transient ischemic attack (TIA), and cerebral infarction without residual deficits, if supported by the documentation in the chart.

Coding Guidelines

  • Documentation of unilateral weakness in conjunction with a stroke is considered by the ICD to be hemiparesis/hemiplegia due to the stroke and should be reported separately. Hemiparesis is not considered a normal sign or symptom of stroke and is always reported separately.
  • If the patient’s dominant side is not documented, assume the left side is non-dominant, except for ambidextrous patients. In ambidextrous patients, assume the affected side is dominant.
  • Report any and all neurological deficits of a cerebrovascular accident that are exhibited anytime during a hospitalization, even if the deficits resolve before the patient is released from the hospital.
  • Once the patient has completed the initial treatment for stroke and is released from acute care, report deficits with codes from I69 Sequelae of cerebral infarction. Neurologic deficits may be present at the time of the acute event or may arise at any time after the condition reported with I60-I67.
  • If the provider is not specific in recording the site of a stroke or infarction, it is permissible for coders to use the accompanying CT scans or other radiological reports to report the specific anatomic site.
  • Codes I60-I69 should never be used to report traumatic intracranial events.
  • Normally, do not report codes from I80-I67 with codes from I69. However, if the patient has deficits from an old cerebrovascular event and is currently having a new cerebrovascular event, both may be reported.
  • If a patient has a history of a past cerebrovascular event and has no residual sequelae, report Z86.73 Personal history of transient ischemic attack (TIA), and cerebral infarction without residual deficits.
  • If a patient is diagnosed with bilateral nontraumatic intracerebral hemorrhages, report I61.6 Nontraumatic intracerebral hemorrhage, multiple localized. For bilateral subarachnoid hemorrhage, assign a code for each site. Categories I65 and I66 have unique codes for bilateral conditions.
  • Also code any documented atrial fibrillation, CAD, diabetes, or hypertension as these comorbidities are stroke risk factors.

The amount of specificity and detail available in ICD-10 CM makes complete and accurate documentation essential. Coders will need to thoroughly review the record in order to locate and assign the correct diagnosis code. Insurance companies review provider documentation to ensure the accuracy of diagnosis codes reported. Connecting with professional medical billing company like Medical Billers and Coders (MBC) could help in streamlining your billing activities. Contact us at 888- for more information.

Published By - Medical Billers and Coders
Published Date - Apr-19-2021 Back

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