Dysphagia ICD-10 is the code used by Speech-Language Pathologists working with adults diagnosed with Dysphagia. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), describes Dysphagia as a ”swallowing disorder involving the oral cavity, pharynx, esophagus, or gastroesophageal junction.”
Dysphagia not only affects a client’s quality of life but can lead to serious health consequences. Swallowing disorders can result in medical conditions such as aspiration pneumonia, choking, malnutrition, dehydration, and overall compromised general health.
Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) play a critical role as part of an interdisciplinary team of medical professionals treating a client with Dysphagia. SLPs are responsible for identifying signs and symptoms of Dysphagia through assessments. The SLP also provides treatment for Dysphagia that can include certain exercises to improve the strength and coordination of oral-pharyngeal musculature for swallowing.
SLPs working with clients who have Dysphagia also provide recommendations for how to modify the client’s diet, including adjusting the consistency of food and thickening of liquids.
Dysphagia occurs commonly in the U.S. population, with about 1 in 25 adults experiencing a swallowing problem each year. SLPs need to understand the nature of the speech disorder and how to properly diagnose it.
Being knowledgeable about Dysphagia can also help Speech-Language Pathologists ensure they are following Medicaid and ASHA guidelines to document a Dysphagia ICD-10 code for certain clients to the highest degree of specificity.
Here’s what you need to know about the Dysphagia ICD-10 code criteria symptoms of Dysphagia, and the top-recommended resources to guide your treatment.
SLPs are required to use ICD-10 codes when diagnosing clients and charging procedures. To stay compliant with HIPAA regulations and for payment by Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance companies, therapists must use the most accurate, specific ICD-10 codes.
R13.1 is the Dysphagia ICD-10 code to use when diagnosing a client with this condition.
Therapists can use the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) ICD-10 lookup tool to view some of the specifications surrounding when to use the Dysphagia ICD-10 code for a client who has swallowing difficulty.
According to the 2022 list of ICD-10 CM Diagnosis Codes related to Speech, Language, and Swallowing Disorders by the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA), R13.1 should be used as the Dysphagia ICD-10 code for this diagnosis. This excludes Dysphagia following cerebrovascular disease (I69. with final characters -91 should be used in that case).
The code for Dysarthria falls under the area of “Symptoms and signs involving the digestive system and abdomen” (R10-R19).
Here are some of the specific codes that fall under the R13.1 Dysphagia code:
Unspecified; Difficulty in swallowing NOS
R13.19 Other dysphagia
Cervical dysphagia, Neurogenic dysphagia
When giving the R13.1 diagnosis for Dysphagia ICD-10, SLPs should be knowledgeable about the signs and symptoms of this speech disorder.
Signs and Symptoms of Dysphagia
The Mayo Clinic reports, “Dysphagia is difficulty swallowing - taking more time and effort to move food or liquid from your mouth to your stomach. Dysphagia can be painful. In some cases, swallowing is impossible.”
Common Causes of Dysphagia include:
- Damage to the central nervous system or brain, such as troke, TBI, Parkinson’s disease, dementia and developmental disabilities
- Disorders that affect the head/neck, such ascancer (esophageal, oral), surgery, trauma, history of intubation or tracheostomy or poor dentition.
- Other factors include pulmonary diseases and side effects from certain medications.
Some of the signs and symptoms that are associated with Dysphagia include the following:
- Choking, inability to swallow
- Weight loss
- Presence of drooling
- Hoarse vocal quality
- Difficulty managing saliva/drooling
- Painful swallowing
An individual does not have to present all of the above symptoms to have a diagnosis of Dysphagia. Clients with Dysphagia may demonstrate any number of these signs. The severity of a client’s Dysphagia can range from mild to severe.
An individual may be diagnosed with Dysphagia at any age, however the disorder is more commonly seen in adults than in children.
In the pediatric population, Dysphagia may be seen in children who have diagnoses such as Cerebral Palsy, genetic disorders, and those who have experienced a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or a brain tumor.
SLPs working with adults may see signs of Dysphagia in those individuals who have had a stroke, TBI, or a progressive neurological disease such as Parkinson’s Disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), and Muscular Dystrophy.
Dysarthria can co-occur with speech and language disorders. For example, a child may have both a mixed receptive-expressive language disorder and Dysphagia. An adult who has had a Cerebrovascular Incident may have Aphasia as well as Dysphagia.
SLPs such be sure to review the CDC’s changes for 2022 regarding swallowing disorders, including new ICD-10 codes for Pediatric Feeding Difficulties, which are differentiated from the Dysphagia ICD-10 code. SLPs can learn more through ASHA’s description of the changes.
Prevalence of Dysphagia
According to ASHA, Dysphagia may occur in 22% of adults over 50 years old.
There are several estimates of the prevalence of Dysphagia as it is associated with common neurological diagnoses:
- 29% - 64% of stroke patients
- Up to 90% of individuals with Parkinson’s disease or ALS
- 13% to 57% of those with Dementia
When Not to Use R13.1 for the Dysphagia ICD-10 Code
SLPs are advised to use R13.1 as the Dysphagia ICD-10 code for children who have a Pediatric Feeding Disorder (PFD).
Therapists should follow the sequelae of Dysphagia to include the most specific, accurate code, such as for Dysphagia:
- Following cerebral infarction (I69.391)
- Following subarachnoid hemorrhage (169.091)
- Following specified disease NEC (169.891)
- Neurogenic (R13.19)
And several others.
SLPs should refer to the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC’s) ICD-10 lookup tool each year to ensure they are using the most accurate, up to date ICD Code
The Dysphagia ICD-10 code can be used for a client in conjunction with codes that indicate language disorders, such as F80.1 Expressive Language Delay or F80.2 Mixed Receptive Expressive Language Disorder.
Assessment and Treatment for Individuals with Dysphagia
An assessment for a client who is suspected of having Dysphagia may include:
- Oral motor examination
- Case history (obtaining information through interviewing the client and/or family, asking about symptoms, reviewing medical chart/history, and interdisciplinary collaboration with other professionals managing the client’s treatment).
- Non-instrumental assessment: May include assessment of secretion management, viewing and analyzing swallowing pattern, assessment of vocal quality.
- Instrumental assessment (such as a video swallow study)
When providing treatment for a client with Dysphagia, the SLP may include:
- Modifications to diet consistency
- Compensatory strategies/modifications that the client is taught
- Electrical Stimulation (E-Stim)
SLPs can utilize the following resources for providing treatment:
- ASHA: Adult Dysphagia
- Medbridge: Courses for SLPs on Dysphagia
- American Board of Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders
- TheraPlatform Resource Center
SLPs working with individuals who have a diagnosis requiring the Dysphagia ICD-10 code can use TheraPlatform for helpful resources including free speech-language therapy games. TheraPlatform is also an all-in-one EMR software that helps therapists manage their private practices by storing electronic medical records, billing and therapy notes.