ASN's Mission

To create a world without kidney diseases, the ASN Alliance for Kidney Health elevates care by educating and informing, driving breakthroughs and innovation, and advocating for policies that create transformative changes in kidney medicine throughout the world.

learn more

Contact ASN

1401 H St, NW, Ste 900, Washington, DC 20005


The Latest on X

Kidney Week

Abstract: SA-PO1093

Beyond Morse: How Do Kidney Biopsy Registries Code Renal Disease? On Behalf of the Kidney Biopsy Codes (KBC) for Pathologists Project

Session Information

Category: Pathology and Lab Medicine

  • 1502 Pathology and Lab Medicine: Clinical


  • Dendooven, Amélie, University Hospital of Antwerp (UZA), Edegem, Belgium
  • Helbert, Mark Jf, Ziekenhuis Netwerk Antwerpen, Antwerpen, Belgium
  • Peetermans, Han, Ziekenhuis Netwerk Antwerpen, Antwerpen, Belgium
  • Nguyen, Tri Q., UMC Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands
  • Leh, Sabine, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway

Group or Team Name

  • Kidney Biopsy Codes for Pathologists project

Data collected from kidney biopsy registries are used for quality control, research, teaching and health policy decisions. For analysis and comparison, unified pathology codes are a prerequisite. The KBC for pathologists project aims to provide a complete, structured set of terms and codes applicable to non-neoplastic kidney biopsies for use by nephropathologists or kidney biopsy registries. The first step is an inventory of existing coding practice.


A structured 10-question questionnaire was sent out to 12 national and regional kidney biopsy registries. Additional information was collected by a pubmed search, through web pages of registries and personal communication.


The questionaire was returned by 11/12 registries; 7/10 use self-made codes, 2/10 ERA-EDTA codes and 1/10 an updated SNOMED version based on SNOMED II. One registry does not code, only lists diagnosis. Codes are compatible with SNOMED-CT in 3/11 registries. Mean user satisfaction was 3.4 on a scale from 0 to 5.
Self-made coding systems represented classifications with hierarchical structures and meaningful, easy to understand code numbers. Problems were: coding difficulties with clinically-based coding systems, problematic mapping of systems to one another, updates and maintenance lacking, difficulties in coding multiple diagnoses and missing codes, e.g. documentation of applied technology or diagnostic certainty.


The inventory phase of the KBC project has identified multiple challenges in coding kidney disease. Considering the current coding practice and future needs, a common system should be easy to understand, apply, maintain and update. It should contain specific pathology codes. Mapping to a reference terminology would be necessary for interoperability.