Coding, Classification and Reimbursement

Encephalopathy and UTI

  • 1.  Encephalopathy and UTI

    Posted 01-28-2019 12:40
    I’m a bit confused when to sequence encephalopathy over a UTI. I tend to think when the UTI is being treated the encephalopathy will resolve. Can any please assist?

    Anthony Neal


  • 2.  RE: Encephalopathy and UTI

    Posted 02-01-2019 21:05
    I agree--when the patient has metabolic encephalopathy due to an UTI then I would code the UTI first for the reason you stated.  Encephalopathy is *always* (I generally dislike using the word always because it seems, especially in coding, that there is sometimes an exception to the rule) due to another condition, otherwise it would not be reversible.  As far as I know there is not a specific treatment for encephalopathy other than treating the underlying condition, which then makes sense to use the underlying condition as your primary diagnosis.  The only time I use encephalopathy as a primary diagnosis is when a lot of work-up is done and the physician still can't figure out what is the underlying etiology of the encephalopathy.

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    Alicia Kellogg, RHIT
    Inpatient Coder
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