I was wondering if it is appropriate to use icd-9 code 433.10 when the radiologist states mild or moderate plaque of the carotid artery? At one time, I was told that you could only use this code if the report states stenosis.
The person who told you that was most likely referring to what the insurance companies wanted you to code. Follow the ICD-9's conventions: Look-up the bold main term plaque, follow the subterm artery, arterial-see arteriosclerosis, Look up the bold main term arteriosclerosis/ subterm carotid. In general coding sense you can use this code when the provider substantiates plaque in carotid. I am also using an ICD-9 2007 manual so I don't know how accurate this is.
If you look up plaque in ICD-9 it leads you to arteriosclerosis of the carotid artery. If they mention plaque on one side you would code 433.10, if they mention bilateral plaque you would code 433.30. Hope this helps!