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what is "NOS" on a diagnosis?

Posted

Specializes in Med/Surg, Home Health.

I see it all the time:

dx: pneumonia NOS

Pancreatic CA NOS

What is NOS?

ghillbert, MSN, NP

Specializes in CTICU. Has 20 years experience.

Not Otherwise Specified.

chenoaspirit, ASN, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg, Home Health.

what exactly does that mean? I mean, this patient has pancreatic cancer, pneumonia, and HTN. all of them have NOS after them. HTN NOS, Pneumonia NOS, Pancreatic CA NOS.

The diagnosis is not pinpointed any further than the global diagnostic term.

epg_pei

Has 3 years experience.

In psych it's a DSM-IV reference for an illness not otherwise specified under the manual

travel50

Specializes in LTC, geriatric, psych, rehab. Has 26 years experience.

It just means that the doctor has not specified what type of cancer cells, what caused the pneumonia (bacterial, viral, fungal, location, etc), what caused the HTN. When people put in codes from the ICD-9 code book (for insurance purposes), they either have to know specifics such as rt lower lobe pneumonia caused by a specific bug, or else they just put the general code number for "He has pneu, but I have no idea what kind or where it is...just pay for it b/c he is really sick" number.

Don't feel bad. I kept seeing NSTEMI as a dx until it drove me nuts. I even asked several docs who didn't know. Finally found a doc from a large hosp in the city who could tell me. Non st elevated myocardial infarction.

stellina615

Specializes in Med-Surg/Oncology, Psych. Has 1 years experience.

It's a way to dx a pt without necessarily knowing the specific etiology of the problem. For instance, at my facility, we see psychosis NOS a lot. This means that a patient may be experiencing, for instance, auditory or visual hallucinations, but the doc hasn't determined why as of yet. The psychosis may be drug-induced or may be related to another dx such as bipolar d/o, but if you see NOS you know that a patient is having a problem whose underlying cause hasn't been entirely figured out yet. Hope that helps.

chenoaspirit, ASN, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg, Home Health.

Thanks guys. Now I understand. It was driving me nuts because I kept seeing it and had no clue what it meant. Thanks for all your responses. Now I can have peace of mind. lol

Whispera, MSN, RN

Specializes in psych, addictions, hospice, education.

It also means that the disorder doesn't quite fit the diagnostic criteria for something specific. For instance, in psych, a person may have some symptoms of depression and some of schizophrenia, but not quite fit either one totally, according to the "rules." So, the diagnoser might diagnose "depressive disorder NOS," because there is no diagnostic name that fits the symptoms exactly.

Daytonite, BSN, RN

Specializes in med/surg, telemetry, IV therapy, mgmt. Has 40 years experience.

pneumonia nos

pancreatic ca nos

what is nos?

nos
is an abbreviation for "not otherwise specified". this is one of the coding conventions used in the icd-9-cm tabular section of the coding manuals. this is what the manual states it means:

this abbreviation is the equivalent of 'unspecified' and is used only when the coder lacks the information necessary to code to a more specific four-digit category.

i am not being mean to anyone who has responded to this post, but when a doctor writes diagnoses like this, he has been interacting with medical coders. he has written the diagnosis that way for the medical coding people who are involving with billing--not for the nursing staff. these are the actual translations into words for these two diagnoses:

  • pneumonia
    nos
    is code 486 (
    pneumonia, organism unspecified
    )

  • pancreatic ca
    nos
    is code 157.9 (
    malignant neoplasm of pancreas, part unspecified
    ).

Who said the doctor was writing to the nursing staff? The OP said she just wanted to know what it means.

Daytonite, BSN, RN

Specializes in med/surg, telemetry, IV therapy, mgmt. Has 40 years experience.

who said the doctor was writing to the nursing staff? the op said she just wanted to know what it means.

i never said the doctor was writing to the nursing staff; he's writing it that way for the coding people in the him office. i just explained what nos meant and the origin of the term. i am also a medical coder. i can tell you that someone in coding has called this doctor in the past because medical school doesn't teach doctors about the term nos.

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