Q: A trauma activation is called for a patient with a GSW to the lower abdomen. Immediate laparotomy is undertaken and a perforation to the sigmoid colon identified. The sigmoid is resected, colostomy placed, and the patient moves to the ICU. Please code this abdominal injury

A: The sigmoid is part of the colon and therefore coded to the “colon” in the abdomen chapter. A perforation is identified. The injury should not be coded any more severely just because the sigmoid was resected. Code:540824.3

Q: Patient arrives after a fall down a flight of outdoor stairs. The patient experiences an unknown period of exposure prior to being found and brought to the ED. The initial core temperature on arrival is 90.1 degrees Fahrenheit; What would you do with this information?

A: A tempreature of 90.1F is equivalent to a temperature of 32.3 C and therefore meets criteria for the hypothermia code 010004.2; this is not induced for medical treatment but rather from exposure and is included as an injury.

Q: How do you code a temporal artery laceration?

A: In the AIS 2005, Update 2008 we clarified coding of the temporal artery in FACE. 220200.1 now reads “External carotid artery branch(es) laceration NFS [includes facial, temporal, and internal maxillary]. The two codes indented under that code apply as well.

Q: How should one code asphyxia related to hanging?

A: Asphyxia codes are now available in AIS 2005, located in the Other Trauma section. Since we have no information as to neurological deficit, the correct code to use is 020000.3. There are also codes in the Head chapter for “hypoxic or ischemic brain damage secondary to systemic hypoxemia, hypotension or shock” but these codes

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