AHA Coding Clinic® for ICD-9 - 2007 Issue 3; Ask the Editor

Acute Respiratory Failure Due to     Poisoning

A 60-year-old female attempted suicide by taking an overdose of amitriptyline, hydrocodone and tramadol. She was initially seen in the emergency department at another facility in a coma and in acute respiratory failure, intubated, and placed on mechanical ventilation. The patient was then transferred to our hospital for continued toxicology management and for treatment of acute respiratory failure. The patient remained on the ventilator for three days. According to coding guidelines, when acute respiratory failure is due to poisoning, the poisoning is assigned as the principal diagnosis. How should this case be coded? ...

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