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ICD-10 Code I10

What is the code I10? 

I10 is a billable/specific ICD-10-CM code designated for "Essential (primary) hypertension." This code falls under the chapter of Diseases of the circulatory system (I00-I99) and, more specifically, under category I10 Essential (primary) hypertension. Essential hypertension is diagnosed by a provider when high blood pressure readings (140/90 mmHg or higher) are observed on multiple occasions without an identifiable secondary cause.

Detailed description of I10 

The diagnosis of essential hypertension (I10) implies that the high blood pressure is not due to any other identifiable disease. It is characterized by persistently high arterial blood pressure and can lead to significant health issues if not managed properly, including risks of stroke, heart attack, kidney failure, and vision problems. The condition often requires lifelong management through medication, lifestyle changes, and regular monitoring.

Symptoms commonly associated with I10 

Typically, high blood pressure does not exhibit overt symptoms and is often discovered during routine checks. However, severe or long-term uncontrolled hypertension may lead to:

  • Headaches
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nosebleeds
  • Flushing
  • Dizziness
  • Visual disturbances

Codes related to I10 include:

  • I11.9 (Hypertensive heart disease without heart failure)
  • I12.9 (Hypertensive chronic kidney disease with stage 1 through stage 4 chronic kidney disease or unspecified chronic kidney disease)
  • I13.10 (Hypertensive heart and chronic kidney disease without heart failure, with stage 1 through stage 4 chronic kidney disease or unspecified chronic kidney disease)These conditions involve organ damage that results from longstanding hypertension.

Appropriate usage of I10 for billing 

I10 is used for billing purposes to indicate a diagnosis of essential hypertension without associated heart or renal disease.

Instructional guidelines for providers coding I10

When using ICD-10-CM code I10 for hypertension, clinicians should ensure accurate blood pressure measurement and rule out secondary causes of hypertension, though this documentation is not necessary for diagnosis reporting. It's important to regularly update medical records to reflect any changes in the patient's condition.

In ICD-10-CM, hypertension is presumed to be causally related to heart and kidney involvement unless explicitly stated otherwise in the medical records. Therefore, if a patient has chronic kidney disease or any heart condition classified under codes I50.-, I51.4-I51.7, I51.89, or I51.9, code I10 should not be used unless it is documented that the conditions are unrelated.

For cases of hypertension with heart or kidney involvement, or both, the appropriate codes from categories I11 (Hypertensive heart disease), I12 (Hypertensive chronic kidney disease), or I13 (Hypertensive heart and chronic kidney disease) should be utilized. This coding structure ensures that the relationships between hypertension and significant organ involvement are accurately captured and managed.

Common pitfalls in coding with I10

  • Misuse of I10 when a more specific diagnosis involving organ damage is evident.
  • Failure by a provider to document, in the assessment portion of their note, the associated conditions or complications that might influence the choice of specific related hypertensive codes.

Key resources for I10 coding


The ICD-10-CM code I10 is used for diagnosing and managing essential hypertension. Accurate use of this code not only helps in appropriate billing but also in guiding treatment decisions to manage the patient's condition effectively, thereby reducing the risk of severe complications.

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