Medical professional conducting diagnostic tests and discussing treatment options for pyelonephritis, a kidney infection.

Pyelonephritis ICD-10 Code, Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

If severe problems are not addressed, pyelonephritis, a dangerous bacterial infection of the kidneys, can develop. An inflammation of the renal pelvis and parenchyma, affecting one or both kidneys, is the defining feature of this disorder. In the medical industry, proper coding and billing for pyelonephritis depend on the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Edition (ICD-10) code.

Pyelonephritis ICD 10 Code

The specific Pyelonephritis ICD 10 Code. The N10 code falls under the category of “Infections of the genitourinary system” and includes various conditions related to the kidneys and urinary tract. Assigning the correct ICD-10 code is crucial for healthcare providers and coders to ensure accurate documentation and billing.

Causes of Pyelonephritis

Pyelonephritis ICD 10 Code typically arises from the ascent of bacteria from the lower urinary tract into the kidneys. The most common causative agent is Escherichia coli (E. coli), although other bacteria such as Klebsiella, Proteus, and Enterococcus can also be responsible. The following variables raise the chance of getting pyelonephritis:

  1. Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs): UTIs, especially those left untreated, can progress to pyelonephritis.
  2. Urinary Tract Anomalies: Structural abnormalities in the urinary tract can hinder the normal flow of urine, making it easier for bacteria to reach the kidneys.
  3. Catheter Use: Indwelling urinary catheters provide a pathway for bacteria to enter the urinary tract, increasing the risk of infection.
  4. Sexual Activity: Sexual intercourse can introduce bacteria into the urethra, leading to the development of pyelonephritis in some cases.
  5. Compromised Immune System: Conditions such as diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and immunosuppressive therapy weaken the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to infections.

Symptoms of Pyelonephritis

Recognizing the symptoms of pyelonephritis is crucial for early diagnosis and prompt treatment. Common signs and symptoms include:

  1. Fever and Chills: Pyelonephritis often presents with a high fever and chills.
  2. Back Pain: Pain or discomfort in the lower back or side is a characteristic symptom.
  3. Frequent Urination: Individuals with pyelonephritis may experience a frequent urge to urinate.
  4. Painful Urination: Pain or a burning sensation during urination is common.
  5. Cloudy or Foul-Smelling Urine: Changes in urine color and odor may be observed.

Diagnosis of Pyelonephritis

Healthcare providers use a combination of clinical assessment and diagnostic tests to confirm the diagnosis of pyelonephritis. Common diagnostic methods include:

  1. Medical History and Physical Examination: The healthcare provider will inquire about symptoms and perform a physical examination to assess for signs of infection.
  2. Urinalysis: A urine sample is analyzed for the presence of white blood cells, red blood cells, and bacteria.
  3. Blood Cultures: Blood samples may be collected to identify the causative bacteria and determine the appropriate antibiotic treatment.
  4. Imaging Studies: Imaging tests such as ultrasound, CT scans, or MRI may be performed to visualize the kidneys and detect any abnormalities.

Treatment of Pyelonephritis

Prompt and appropriate treatment is essential to prevent complications associated with pyelonephritis. Treatment typically involves:

  1. Antibiotic Therapy: Antibiotics are prescribed to target the specific bacteria causing the infection. The choice of antibiotic may be adjusted based on the results of urine and blood cultures.
  2. Fluid Intake: Adequate hydration helps flush out bacteria from the urinary tract and promotes recovery.
  3. Pain Management: Pain relievers may be recommended to alleviate back pain and discomfort.
  4. Hospitalization: Severe cases of pyelonephritis, especially those accompanied by complications or systemic symptoms, may require hospitalization for intravenous antibiotics and close monitoring.

Prevention of Pyelonephritis

Several measures can help reduce the risk of developing pyelonephritis:

  1. Hygiene Practices: Practicing good hygiene, especially after using the bathroom, can help prevent the spread of bacteria.
  2. Adequate Hydration: Staying well-hydrated supports regular urine flow and helps eliminate bacteria from the urinary tract.
  3. Prompt Treatment of UTIs: Treating urinary tract infections promptly reduces the risk of progression to pyelonephritis.
  4. Avoiding Irritants: Avoiding substances that can irritate the urinary tract, such as certain chemicals and harsh soaps, can be beneficial.


Pyelonephritis is a serious condition that requires prompt diagnosis and appropriate treatment. The ICD-10 code N10 is crucial for accurate coding in medical records, ensuring proper billing and reimbursement. Recognizing the causes, symptoms, and diagnostic methods for pyelonephritis empowers both healthcare providers and patients to take proactive measures for prevention and early intervention. With timely and effective treatment, the majority of individuals with pyelonephritis can recover fully and avoid potential complications.

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Wasiur Rehman is fueled by a deep passion for advancing innovation in healthcare and medical research. He possesses a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science Engineering and has dedicated approximately two years to his role as a research analyst and SEO content writer. Currently, he is a valuable member of the DiseaseInfoHub team, serving as a content and research guide.

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