"ICD-10 was endorsed by the Forty-third World Health Assembly
in May 1990 and came into use in WHO Member States as from 1994.
The classification is the latest in a series which has its origins
in the 1850s. The first edition, known as the International List
of Causes of Death, was adopted by the International Statistical
Institute in 1893. WHO took over the responsibility for the ICD
at its creation in 1948 when the Sixth Revision, which included
causes of morbidity for the first time, was published.
The ICD has become the international standard diagnostic classification
for all general epidemiological and many health management purposes.
These include the analysis of the general health situation of population
groups and monitoring of the incidence and prevalence of diseases
and other health problems in relation to other variables such as
the characteristics and circumstances of the individuals affected.
It is used to classify diseases and other health problems recorded
on many types of health and vital records including death certificates
and hospital records. In addition to enabling the storage and retrieval
of diagnostic information for clinical and epidemiological purposes,
these records also provide the basis for the compilation of national
mortality and morbidity statistics by WHO Member States."
ICD-10 contains 21 chapters. The code consists of four digits:
First a letter, which is assigned (with excepitons) to a certain
chapter. The chapters are divided into similar groups of 3-digit
categories. The fourth digit describes more specific information
about special states and localisations.
Special characters like / * are used as an indicator for the
"etiology-key-number" respectively "manifestation-key-number"
for special indications which have a double classification.