A41.0 is a non-specific and non-billable diagnosis code code, consider using a code with a higher level of specificity for a diagnosis of sepsis due to staphylococcus aureus. The code is not specific and is NOT valid for the year 2022 for the submission of HIPAA-covered transactions. Category or Header define the heading of a category of codes that may be further subdivided by the use of 4th, 5th, 6th or 7th characters.
Specific Coding for Sepsis due to Staphylococcus aureus
Non-specific codes like A41.0 require more digits to indicate the appropriate level of specificity. Consider using any of the following ICD-10 codes with a higher level of specificity when coding for sepsis due to staphylococcus aureus:
Information for Patients
What is sepsis?
Sepsis is your body's overactive and extreme response to an infection. Sepsis is a life-threatening medical emergency. Without quick treatment, it can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and even death.
What causes sepsis?
Sepsis happens when an infection you already have triggers a chain reaction throughout your body. Bacterial infections are the most common cause, but other types of infections can also cause it.
The infections are often in the lungs, stomach, kidneys, or bladder. It's possible for sepsis to begin with a small cut that gets infected or with an infection that develops after surgery. Sometimes, sepsis can occur in people who didn't even know that they had an infection.
Who is at risk for sepsis?
Anyone with an infection could get sepsis. But certain people are at higher risk:
- Adults 65 or older
- People with chronic conditions, such as diabetes, lung disease, cancer, and kidney disease
- People with weakened immune systems
- Pregnant women
- Children younger than one
What are the symptoms of sepsis?
Sepsis can cause one or more of these symptoms:
- Rapid breathing and heart rate
- Shortness of breath
- Confusion or disorientation
- Extreme pain or discomfort
- Fever, shivering, or feeling very cold
- Clammy or sweaty skin
It's important to get medical care right away if you think you might have sepsis or if your infection is not getting better or is getting worse.
What other problems can sepsis cause?
Severe cases of sepsis can lead to septic shock, where your blood pressure drops to a dangerous level and multiple organs can fail.
How is sepsis diagnosed?
Your health care provider may use many tools to make a diagnosis
- A medical history, which includes asking about your symptoms
- A physical exam, including checking vital signs (your temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing)
- Lab tests that check for signs of infection or organ damage
- Imaging tests such as an x-ray or a CT scan to find the location of the infection
Many of the signs and symptoms of sepsis can also be caused by other medical conditions. This may make sepsis hard to diagnose in its early stages.
What are the treatments for sepsis?
It is very important to get treatment right away. Treatment usually includes
- Maintaining blood flow to organs. This may involve getting oxygen and intravenous (IV) fluids.
- Treating the source of the infection
- If needed, medicines to increase blood pressure
In serious cases, you might need kidney dialysis or a breathing tube. Some people need surgery to remove tissue damaged by the infection.
Can sepsis be prevented?
To prevent sepsis, you should try to prevent getting an infection:
- Take good care of any chronic health conditions that you have
- Get recommended vaccines
- Practice good hygiene, such as handwashing
- Keep cuts clean and covered until healed
NIH: National Institute of General Medical SciencesCenters for Disease Control and Prevention
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What are Staphylococcal (staph) infections?
Staphylococcus (staph) is a group of bacteria. There are more than 30 types. A type called Staphylococcus aureus causes most infections.
Staph bacteria can cause many different types of infections, including
- Skin infections, which are the most common types of staph infections
- Bacteremia, an infection of the bloodstream. This can lead to sepsis, a very serious immune response to infection.
- Bone infections
- Endocarditis, an infection of the inner lining of the heart chambers and valves
- Food poisoning
- Toxic shock syndrome (TSS), a life-threatening condition caused by toxins from certain types of bacteria
What causes staph infections?
Some people carry staph bacteria on their skin or in their noses, but they do not get an infection. But if they get a cut or wound, the bacteria can enter the body and cause an infection.
Staph bacteria can spread from person to person. They can also spread on objects, such as towels, clothing, door handles, athletic equipment, and remotes. If you have staph and do not handle food properly when you are preparing it, you can also spread staph to others.
Who is at risk for staph infections?
Anyone can develop a staph infection, but certain people are at greater risk, including those who
- Have a chronic condition such as diabetes, cancer, vascular disease, eczema, and lung disease
- Have a weakened immune system, such as from HIV/AIDS, medicines to prevent organ rejection, or chemotherapy
- Had surgery
- Use a catheter, breathing tube, or feeding tube
- Are on dialysis
- Inject illegal drugs
- Do contact sports, since you may have skin-to-skin contact with others or share equipment
What are the symptoms of staph infections?
The symptoms of a staph infection depend on the type of infection:
- Skin infections can look like pimples or boils. They may be red, swollen, and painful. Sometimes there is pus or other drainage. They can turn into impetigo, which turns into a crust on the skin, or cellulitis, a swollen, red area of skin that feels hot.
- Bone infections can cause pain, swelling, warmth, and redness in the infected area. You may also have chills and a fever.
- Endocarditis causes some flu-like symptoms: fever, chills, and fatigue. It also causes symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, and fluid buildup in your arms or legs.
- Food poisoning typically causes nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, and a fever. If you lose too many fluids, you may also become dehydrated.
- Pneumonia symptoms include a high fever, chills, and cough that doesn't get better. You may also have chest pain and shortness of breath.
- Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) causes high fever, sudden low blood pressure, vomiting, diarrhea, and confusion. You may have a sunburn-like rash somewhere on your body. TSS can lead to organ failure.
How are staph infections diagnosed?
Your health care provider will do a physical exam and ask about your symptoms. Often, providers can tell if you have a staph skin infection by looking at it. To check for other types of staph infections, providers may do a culture, with a skin scraping, tissue sample, stool sample, or throat or nasal swabs. There may be other tests, such as imaging tests, depending on the type of infection.
What are the treatments for staph infections?
Treatment for staph infections is antibiotics. Depending on the type of infection, you may get a cream, ointment, medicines (to swallow), or intravenous (IV). If you have an infected wound, your provider might drain it. Sometimes you may need surgery for bone infections.
Some staph infections, such as MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), are resistant to many antibiotics. There are still certain antibiotics that can treat these infections.
Can staph infections be prevented?
Certain steps can help to prevent staph infections:
- Use good hygiene, including washing your hands often
- Don't share towels, sheets, or clothing with someone who has a staph infection
- It's best not to share athletic equipment. If you do need to share, make sure that it properly cleaned and dried before you use it.
- Practice food safety, including not preparing food for others when you have a staph infection
- If you have a cut or wound, keep it covered
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