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7th Character: (S) Sequela  

A Seq...Well... uhh... ? se·​quela | \ si-ˈkwe-lə  \   plural sequelae\ si-​ˈkwe-​(ˌ)lē

Sequela, is a Latin word that means "that which follows."  Therefore, medically speaking, a sequela is a condition which is a consequence, or residual effect, of a previous disease, injury, or other trauma. A sequela is typically a chronic condition that follows an acute condition. For ICD-10-CM purposes, the seventh letter "S"which is used to designate the treatment of a sequela, is attached to the original injury code, NOT the sequela itself. 

Reporting of sequelae usually require at least two codes: 

  • (FIRST): The sequela condition that is currently being treated as a result of the sequela 

  • (SECOND): The sequela code (the original injury code followed with the seventh character "S")


There is no time limit on reporting sequelae. Some sequelae are quickly apparent, such as paralysis following a stroke, or may appear later,  such as a contracture following a tendon injury. 





NEVER use the code for the acute phase of an illness or injury that led to the sequela with a code for the late effect. Sequelae are NOT reported as symptoms. 

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