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  • Binta Patel

Coding for Lupus

Demonstrate your solidarity with individuals who have this hard-to-diagnose autoimmune disorder.



Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease, specifically systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), that can cause the immune system to attack the body's own tissues and result in a range of health issues from mild to severe, such as swelling and pain throughout the body, fatigue, joint pain, blood clots, and organ damage. While there is currently no cure for lupus, various treatments and medications can assist in managing symptoms and enhance the quality of life for patients.

The diagnosis of lupus can be challenging since the symptoms might overlap with other common illnesses. Typically, a provider starts by taking into consideration the patient's family history and the symptoms experienced. Imaging and physical examination may also be necessary, in addition to an antinuclear antibody (ANA) lab test that looks for indicators of an autoimmune disease, such as low blood cell counts, anemia, and antibodies.


Since lupus is a chronic condition, it requires regular management to achieve remission and minimize organ damage. Medications such as steroids, hydroxychloroquine, chemotherapy drugs, immunosuppressive drugs, and monoclonal antibody drugs may be used to manage symptoms.


If the type of lupus is not clear in the documentation, a provider should be queried for clarification. For lack of a more specific code, SLE is assigned to one of these ICD-10-CM codes: M32.9 or M32.8. Cutaneous lupus erythematosus (CLE), which impacts the skin, can be treated with methods such as avoiding sunlight, fluorescent lighting, corticosteroid injections, Plaquenil, methotrexate, and topicals to reduce inflammation. Code CLE with L93. Drug-induced lupus, which is lupus-like and caused by some prescription drugs, is assigned the code M32.0.


Lupus with organ involvement is assigned one or more of the following ICD-10-CM codes: M32.10, M32.11, M32.12, M32.13, M32.14, M32.15, M32.19. Other complications of lupus should also be coded when documented. Neonatal lupus is coded with P00.89 and is associated with anti-SSA/Ro and/or anti-SSB/La antibodies from a mother with SLE that affects the fetus. With proper testing, physicians can now identify most at-risk mothers, and the infant can be treated at or before birth. Most infants of mothers with lupus are entirely healthy.

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