What is ICD-9?

Article Details
  • Written By: J. Beam
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 07 October 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
Free Widgets for your Site/Blog
In 1961, the Kennedy family was given a puppy named Pushinka; her mother was one of the first Soviet space dogs.  more...

October 17 ,  1777 :  The British surrendered to US military forces in the Battle of Saratoga.  more...

ICD-9 is an acronym used in the medical field that stands for International Classification of Diseases, ninth revision. In the United States, the ICD-9 covered the years 1979 to 1998. Currently, ICD-10, which is the tenth revision, is in effect as the most current database of disease classifications. ICD-9 was used in the US until the 10th revision became fully implemented in 1998, though the actual revision was concluded some years earlier.

The ICD is used to provide a standard classification of diseases for the purpose of health records. The World Health Organization (WHO) assigns, publishes, and uses the ICD to classify diseases and to track mortality rates based on death certificates and other vital health records. Medical conditions and diseases are translated into a single format with the use of ICD codes. The current ICD-10 varies slightly from the previous ICD-9 and includes almost double the number of categories in a total of three volumes.


Current ICD classifications are alphanumeric codes that represent any known disease, condition, or circumstance that has or could cause a person’s death. The classifications are as specific as possible. For example, cancer is a leading cause of death, but the ICD provides a specific classification for each type of cancer, from lung cancer to breast cancer and so forth. Further, there are ICD classifications assigned to deaths not caused by disease, such as suicide, homicide, and accidental death. The September 11 attacks on the United States prompted further classifications for death by terrorism.

Many of the ICD-9 codes remain unchanged in the newest revision, and only where it became necessary to further classify or provide new classifications did the ICD-9 change. Individuals in the healthcare profession who manage health information and records must constantly keep abreast of the changes and modifications applied to the ICD.

The ICD has been in use since its inception in 1900. It is updated annually with minor revisions and every three years with major revisions, and it is republished in a fully revised version every ten years. It has been published by the WHO since 1970. The United States Department of Health and Human Services publishes their own further indexed version of the ICD to include diagnostic and operative procedures, which at present is ICD-9-CM, meaning clinically modified. In addition to statistics and mortality rates, the ICD is used for health records, reimbursement systems, and public data.


You might also Like


Discuss this Article

Post 3

Hypochondriacs will find a coding book useless as it does not list symptoms. ICD 9 and the transition into ICD 10 are sources for billing and paying medical claims. Should a person view their explanation of benefits from their health insurance provider or from their health care provider, they may be able to look up a code to verify that yes they do infant agree with the diagnosis given but in all actuality, the physician should have already stated what the diagnosis is while the person was in the clinic.

While paying claims with a health insurance company, I will often see a diagnosis for "feigning illness" or a diagnosis which describes the persona as a drug seeker which means

that the patient may have to pay for the services on their own.

In this case, I would love to see a person dispute their prescription drug habit in a court of law. Other than that, a coding manual is really of no use to anyone outside of the medical community. It serves no purpose. Maybe you are both thinking of the many revisions of the Physicians Desk Reference (PDR).

Post 2

@FightingOkra - I agree that too much information at your fingertips might not always be the best answer. Aside from that and furthermore, I also agree that the ICD-9 is a great reference tool for aspiring medical career-oriented individuals. That being said, it's wise to know some of the most common ICD 10 codes as well for quick reference and comparison.

Post 1

When looking up diseases and illnesses in the ICD-9 it is common for readers to self diagnose themselves and fear for the worst. Make sure to always consult a doctor before you assume the worst illness possible. Having a copy of the ICD-9 is always a great reference tool for medical students and individuals interested in the medical field!

Post your comments

Post Anonymously


forgot password?