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External cause

In medicine, an external cause is a reason for the existence of a medical condition which can be associated with a specific object or acute process that was caused by something outside the body. Such causes are classified as "E codes" in ICD 9.[1]

External Cause of Injury Codes (E codes) are ICD-9-CM codes or ICD-10 codes that are used to define the mechanism of death or injury, along with the place of occurrence of the event. [1] E codes are assigned on death certificates based on the manner of death. ICD-10 codes in the range V01–X59 refer to unintentional injuries. Codes in the range X60–X84 refer to intentional self-harm. Codes in the range Y85–Y09 refer to assault, and codes in the range Y10–Y34 refer to events of undetermined intent. [2]

E codes are well-collected on death certificate data, but less so on hospital discharge data. Numerous initiatives have increased the percentage of records coded (CDC, MMWR March 28, 2008 / Vol. 57 / No. RR-1).


  1. ^ LeMier M, Cummings P, West TA (2001). "Accuracy of external cause of injury codes reported in Washington State hospital discharge records". Inj. Prev. 7 (4): 334–8. doi:10.1136/ip.7.4.334. PMC 1730776. PMID 11770664.