In a stunning move by the WHO this past Friday, “Schmutz” was formally incorporated into the list of acceptable ICD-10 diagnoses for radiological findings.
Technically defined as a filthy substance such as dust or grime, “schmutz” is originally of Yiddish and German etymology. However, the term has been adopted by radiologists for decades to describe radiological findings that look like…well…schmutz.
“This is long overdue”, sighed a relieved Dr. Ray DeGraph. “For years we’ve been boxed into using certain terms that don’t really fit. Especially for chest imaging. Sometimes there’s a little something on CT you can’t quite describe. It’s not a consolidation, or ground glass, or even weird atelectasis. It’s just schmutz.”
Since the release of “Schmutz”, preliminary data from the WHO show plummeting usage rates of the codes for “Abnormal findings on diagnostic imaging of the lung” and “Other nonspecific abnormal finding of lung field”. Although usage rates of the code for “Bitten by shark, subsequent encounter” remain unchanged.