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Define PAF categories to avoid queries

18 Mar 2018

ICD-10 requires more specificity in A-fib diagnosis

By: Catherine Trevis, RN/CCDS, clinical documentation specialist

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With the implementation of ICD-10 in October 2015 came the need for increased specificity. One very common diagnosis that requires further specification is atrial fibrillation.  Per the coding rules, atrial fibrillation needs to be classified as chronic/permanent, paroxysmal or persistent.  

Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation: Lasts for less than a week at a time. 

Persistent atrial fibrillation: Lasts longer than a week.

Permanent (chronic) atrial fibrillation: Atrial fibrillation which has lasted longer than one year. 

Many doctors like to use PAF or pAfib when documenting atrial fibrillation. This abbreviation is unclear because PAF could technically be any of the three types of atrial fibrillation (paroxysmal, persistent or permanent). 

Documentation of PAF or pAfib requires a query to further specify the type of atrial fibrillation. To avoid a query, please use the full term when documenting type of atrial fibrillation.