Yes! It’s R42 “Dizziness and giddiness.” Before we get into a discussion on the words dizziness and giddiness, let’s be clear on the significance of having an ICD code.
- The International Classification of Diseases (ICD) was established by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1949.
- An ICD code is needed for a person’s medical records—it is important for administration, epidemiology, and research. ICD codes are not how a doctor diagnoses a patient.
- ICD-CM (diagnoses) and ICD-PCS (procedures) codes are used by a practioner’s office when submitting for reimbursement from insurance agencies.
R42 is the billing code for a diagnosis of “Dizziness and giddiness,” which is medical terminology recognized by clinicians. It serves as an umbrella for conditions that in lay terms may be described as constant vertigo, dysequilibrium, loss of equilibrium, non-labyrinthine vertigo, etc. Note that we recommend patients avoid using the words dizzy or vertigo when seeking an accurate MdDS diagnosis from your doctor. Instead, use descriptive language such as, “I feel like I’m rocking or bobbing,” “I feel like I’m on a boat,” or “the floor feels like a trampoline.” Describing your symptoms is rather than offering a self-diagnosis of vertigo will go a long way toward averting misdiagnosis.
Having an ICD code means a condition is recognized by WHO. Given this validation, and a billing code to use, certain physicians may be persuaded to recognize and treat MdDS as a legitimate condition. Your doctor will find Mal de Débarquement indexed under Syndrome in the ICD-10-CM.
The “10” in ICD-10-CM indicates the code book is in its tenth revision. Little used codes are deleted when the book is revised annually. Thanks to volunteers who worked with a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) liaison, MdDS is just one the 500 rare diseases/disorders that have a code. This means there are over 6,500 known rare diseases/disorders without a code! We hope each of them has an advocacy group like the MdDS Foundation and volunteers who will put in the hours, championing their cause.
There is more biomedical literature available today than in 2003 when we began the year-long process to get a code. But still without specific tests to diagnose MdDS or symptoms, signs and abnormal clinical and laboratory findings, it is nearly impossible to be reclassified in the ICD code book. Acceptance under Dizziness and giddiness is actually to our benefit. We can take advantage of the existing, recognized code to reduce the number of doubting doctors and increase the likelihood for research. But we can’t do this without your help. In observance of International Volunteer Day (December 5, 2020) will you please write to us and volunteer? Whether your forte is fundraising or the gift of gab, tell us how you can help. We’re looking forward to working together.