ICD-10-CM/PCS: potential methodologic strengths and challenges for thoracic surgery researchers and reviewers

J Thorac Dis. 2019 Mar;11(Suppl 4):S585-S595. doi: 10.21037/jtd.2019.01.86.


The recent implementation of the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision, Clinical Modification and Procedure Coding System (ICD-10-CM/PCS) provides a robust classification of diagnoses and procedures for hospital systems. As researchers begin using ICD-10-CM/PCS for outcomes research from administrative datasets, it is important to understand ICD-10-CM/PCS, as well as the strengths and challenges of these new classifications. In this review, we describe the development of ICD-10-CM/PCS and summarize how it applies specifically to thoracic surgery patients undergoing pulmonary lobectomy, sublobar resection (segmentectomy or wedge resection) and esophagectomy. This myriad of ICD-10-CM/PCS codes presents challenges and questions for thoracic surgery researchers and medical journal reviewers and editors when evaluating thoracic surgical outcomes research utilizing ICD-10-CM/PCS. Additional work is needed to develop consensus guidelines and uniformity for accurate and coherent research methods to utilize ICD-10-CM/PCS in future outcomes research efforts.

Keywords: International Classification of Diseases; clinical coding; outcomes research; research design; thoracic surgical procedures.

Publication types

  • Review