nr-axSpA Given Diagnostic Code on International Classification of Diseases

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by Joana Carvalho |

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Non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis (nr-axSpA) has been given a diagnostic code, M46.80, that will be used to identify the condition in the 10th edition of the International Classification of Diseases, Clinical Modification (ICD-10-CM), a repository that contains the official codes of all types of diseases.

The updated ICD-10-CM document containing the new code was recently posted on the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services website. The code will go into effect on Oct. 1 and will be valid until Sept. 30, 2021.

In practical terms, the new code will make it easier for physicians to track, diagnose, and prescribe treatments for people with nr-axSpA. It will also help to enhance recognition and validation of the condition by regulatory authorities and the medical community in general, the Spondylitis Association of America (SAA) said on its website.

Axial spondyloarthritis is a type of arthritis that mainly affects the joints of the spine. It is called ankylosing spondylitis when joint damage is visible on regular X-rays of the spine and nr-axSpA when no such damage can be seen.

The SAA was one of the organizations that played a central role in requesting the new code that will be used officially to identify nr-axSpA.

“This seemingly small development has actually been years in the making, and the Spondylitis Association of America is proud to have been a champion advocating for the formal, and systemic recognition of non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis, and for those in our community living with this form of spondyloarthritis,” the SAA stated.

From writing letters and gathering feedback from patients, to participating in meetings with key opinion leaders and members of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the SAA has spearheaded a series of initiatives to give voice to those with nr-axSpA and ensure health professionals keep patients’ best interest in mind when making decisions.

The addition of the diagnostic code for nr-axSpA, as well as other updates to the ICD-10-CM document, can be found here.