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ICD-10 Code R05.9

Cough, unspecified

What is the code R05.9?

R05.9 is an ICD-10-CM code used to specify a diagnosis of cough, unspecified. This code is part of Chapter 18 of the ICD-10-CM classification system, which covers Symptoms, Signs, and Abnormal Clinical and Laboratory Findings, Not Elsewhere Classified.

Detailed description of R05.9

The ICD-10-CM code R05.9 pertains to a cough that is not otherwise specified. It is a symptom-based code used when a patient presents with a cough, but the healthcare provider has not determined a specific underlying cause. This can include acute or chronic coughs that do not have an identified etiology at the time of the visit.

Symptoms commonly associated with R05.9

Patients coded with R05.9 typically present with the following symptoms:

  • Persistent coughing
  • Intermittent coughing
  • Dry or productive cough
  • Coughing that may be exacerbated at night or with physical activity

There are several related ICD-10-CM codes that may be used depending on the specifics of the patient's condition:

  • R05: Cough
  • J20.9: Acute bronchitis, unspecified
  • J40: Bronchitis, not specified as acute or chronic
  • J41.0: Simple chronic bronchitis
  • J44.9: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, unspecified

Appropriate usage of R05.9 for billing

R05.9 should be used for billing when a patient presents with a cough that is not yet attributed to a specific underlying condition or remains undiagnosed. It is appropriate for use when the cough is the primary symptom and further diagnostic work is needed to determine the cause.

Instructional guidelines for coding R05.9

When using R05.9, it is important to:

  • Document the patient's history and any associated symptoms thoroughly.
  • Ensure that the cough is the primary symptom and not secondary to another diagnosed condition.
  • Use this code when no specific diagnosis has been made that explains the cough.

Additional instructional notes for R05.9 include:

  • Use this code only when the cough is not otherwise specified.
  • Consider ruling out other potential diagnoses that could explain the cough before using this code.
  • Ensure proper documentation to support the use of this unspecified code.

Common pitfalls in coding with R05.9

  • Using R05.9 when a more specific diagnosis is available.
  • Failing to update the code if a specific diagnosis is later determined.
  • Using R05.9 for chronic coughs without further investigation into potential underlying causes.

Key resources for R05.9 coding

For more information and resources on coding with R05.9, consider the following:


R05.9 is an ICD-10-CM code used to denote an unspecified cough. Understanding the appropriate application and common pitfalls can help ensure effective and accurate medical billing and coding practices.

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