Identification Number:
DI 34001 TN 25
Intended Audience:See Transmittal Sheet
Originating Office:ORDP ODP
Title:Listings of Impairments - Current Part A Listings
Type:POMS Transmittals
Program:All Programs
Link To Reference:
 

PROGRAM OPERATIONS MANUAL SYSTEM
Part DI – Disability Insurance
Chapter 340 – Listing of Impairments - Current
Subchapter 01 – Listings of Impairments - Current Part A Listings
Transmittal No. 25, 04/01/2021

Audience

OQR: DE, PA, PE, TL;
PSC: DE, DEC, PA, PE, TL;
OCO-OEIO: BET, CR, ERE, FDE, RECONE;
OCO-ODO: BET, DE, DEC, DS, RECONE;
ODD-DDS: ADJ, DHU;
OHO/OAO: FedHOs, FedROs;

Originating Component

ODP

Effective Date

Upon Receipt

Background

On December 3, 2020, we published rules in the Federal Register revising the criteria in the Listing of Impairments that we use to evaluate claims involving musculoskeletal disorders under section 1.00. These rules also included conforming changes to claims involving the cardiovascular system and immune system disorders under sections 4.00 and 14.00. The rules are effective April 2, 2021.

Summary of Changes

DI 34001.005 Listing of Impairments - Part A - Section Overview

We revised this section to reflect the changes in the Listing of Impairments for evaluating musculoskeletal disorders.

DI 34001.010 Musculoskeletal Disorders

We revised this section to reflect the changes in the Listing of Impairments for evaluating musculoskeletal disorders.

DI 34001.016 Cardiovascular System

We revised this section to reflect the changes in the Listing of Impairments for evaluating the cardiovascular system.

DI 34001.036 Immune System Disorders

We revised this section to reflect the changes in the Listing of Impairments for evaluating immune system disorders.

DI 34001.005 Listing of Impairments - Part A - Section Overview

 

The following sections in Part A are applicable to individuals age 18 and over and to children under age 18 where criteria are appropriate.

Sec.

 

100

Musculoskeletal Disorders

200

Special Senses and Speech

300

Respiratory Disorders

400

Cardiovascular System

500

Digestive System

600

Genitourinary Impairments

700

Hematological Disorders

800

Skin Disorders

900

Endocrine Disorders

1000

Congenital Disorders That Affect Multiple Body Systems

1100

Neurological Disorders

1200

Mental Disorders

1300

Cancer (Malignant Neoplastic Diseases)

1400

Immune System Disorders

DI 34001.010 Musculoskeletal Disorders

1.00 Musculoskeletal Disorders (Effective Date: 04/02/21)

A. Which musculoskeletal disorders do we evaluate under these listings?

1. We evaluate disorders of the skeletal spine (vertebral column) or of the upper or lower extremities that affect musculoskeletal functioning under these listings. We use the term “skeletal” when we are referring to the structure of the bony skeleton. The skeletal spine refers to the bony structures, ligaments, and discs making up the spine. We refer to the skeletal spine in some musculoskeletal listings to differentiate it from the neurological spine (see 1.00B1). Musculoskeletal disorders may be congenital or acquired, and may include deformities, amputations, or other abnormalities. These disorders may involve the bones or major joints; or the tendons, ligaments, muscles, or other soft tissues.

2. We evaluate soft tissue injuries (including burns) or abnormalities that are under continuing surgical management (see 1.00O1). The injuries or abnormalities may affect any part of the body, including the face and skull.

3. We evaluate curvatures of the skeletal spine that affect musculoskeletal functioning under 1.15. If a curvature of the skeletal spine is under continuing surgical management (see 1.00O1), we will evaluate it under 1.21 using our rules for determining medical equivalence. See §§ 404.1526 and 416.926 of this chapter.

 

B. Which related disorders do we evaluate under other listings?

1. We evaluate a disorder or injury of the skeletal spine that results in damage to, and neurological dysfunction of, the spinal cord and its associated nerves (for example, paraplegia or quadriplegia) under the listings in 11.00 .

2. We evaluate inflammatory arthritis (for example, rheumatoid arthritis) under the listings in 14.00 .

3. We evaluate curvatures of the skeletal spine that interfere with your ability to breathe under the listings in 3.00 , impair myocardial function under the listings in 4.00 , or result in social withdrawal or depression under the listings in 12.00 .

4. We evaluate non-healing or pathological fractures due to cancer, whether it is a primary site or metastases, under the listings in 13.00 .

5. We evaluate the leg pain associated with peripheral vascular claudication and foot ulceration associated with peripheral arterial disease under the listings in 4.00 .

6. We evaluate burns that do not require continuing surgical management under the listings in 8.00 .

 

C. What evidence do we need to evaluate your musculoskeletal disorder?

1. General. We need objective medical evidence from an acceptable medical source to establish that you have a medically determinable musculoskeletal disorder. We also need evidence from both medical and nonmedical sources, who can describe how you function, to assess the severity and duration of your musculoskeletal disorder. We will determine the extent and kinds of evidence we need from medical and nonmedical sources based on the individual facts about your disorder. For our basic rules on evidence, see §§ 404.1512 , 404.1513 , 404.1520b , 416.912 , 416.913 , and 416.920b of this chapter. For our rules on evidence about your symptoms, see §§ 404.1529 and 416.929 of this chapter.

2. Physical examination report(s). In the report(s) of your physical examination, we require a medical source’s detailed description of the orthopedic, neurologic, or other objective clinical findings appropriate to your specific musculoskeletal disorder from his or her direct observations during your physical examination. We will not accept a report of your statements about your symptoms and limitations in place of the medical source’s report of objective clinical findings. We will not use findings on imaging or other diagnostic tests (see 1.00C3) as a substitute for findings on physical examination.

a. When the medical source reports that a clinical test sign(s) is positive, unless we have evidence to the contrary, we will assume that he or she performed the test properly and accept the medical source’s interpretation of the test. For example, we will assume a straight-leg raising test was conducted properly (that is, in sitting and supine positions), even if the medical source does not specify the positions in which the test was performed.

b. If you use an assistive device (see 1.00C6), the report must support the medical need for the device.

c. If your musculoskeletal disorder causes a reduction in muscle strength, the report must document measurement of the strength of the muscle(s) in question. The measurement should be based on a muscle strength grading system that is considered medically acceptable based on your age and impairments. For example, a grading system of 0 to 5, with 0 indicating complete loss of strength and 5 indicating maximum strength or equivalent medically acceptable scale (see Table 1). Reduction in muscle strength is demonstrated by evidence that your muscle strength is less than active range of motion (ROM) against gravity with maximum resistance. If the reduction in muscle strength involves one or both of your hands, the report must also document measurements of grip and pinch strength.

Table 1 – Grading System of Muscle Function

Grade

Function of the Muscle

0

None

No visible or palpable contraction.

1

Trace

Visible or palpable contraction with no motion.

2

Poor

Active ROM with gravity eliminated.

3

Fair

Active ROM against gravity only, without resistance.

4

Good

Active ROM against gravity, moderate resistance.

5

Normal

Active ROM against gravity, maximum resistance.

3. Imaging and other diagnostic tests.

a. Imaging refers to medical imaging techniques, such as x-ray, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and radionuclide scanning. For the purpose of these listings, the imaging must be consistent with the prevailing state of medical knowledge and clinical practice as the proper technique to support the evaluation of the disorder.

b. Findings on imaging must have lasted, or be expected to last, for a continuous period of at least 12 months.

c. Imaging and other diagnostic tests can provide evidence of physical abnormalities; however, these abnormalities may correlate poorly with your symptoms, including pain, or with your musculoskeletal functioning. Accordingly, we will not use findings on imaging or other diagnostic tests as a substitute for findings on physical examination about your ability to function, nor can we infer severity or functional limitations based solely on such tests.

d. For our rules on purchasing imaging and other diagnostic tests, see §§ 404.1519k , 404.1519m , 416.919k , and 416.919m of this chapter.

4. Operative reports. If you have had a surgical procedure, we need a copy of the operative report, including details of the findings at surgery and information about any medical complications that may have occurred. If we do not have the operative report, we need confirmatory evidence of the surgical procedure from a medical source (for example, detailed follow-up reports or notations in the medical records concerning the surgical procedure in your medical history).

5. Effects of treatment.

a. General. Treatments for musculoskeletal disorders may have beneficial or adverse effects, and responses to treatment vary from person to person. We will evaluate all of the effects of treatment (including surgical treatment, medications, and therapy) on the symptoms, signs, and laboratory findings of your musculoskeletal disorder, and on your musculoskeletal functioning.

b. Response to treatment. To evaluate your musculoskeletal functioning in response to treatment, we need the following: A description, including the frequency of the administration, of your medications; the type and frequency of therapy you receive; and a description of your response to treatment and any complications you experience related to your musculoskeletal disorder. The effects of treatment may be temporary or long-term. We need information over a sufficient period to determine the effects of treatment on your current musculoskeletal functioning and permit reasonable projections about your future functioning. We will determine the amount of time that constitutes a sufficient period in consultation with a medical consultant on a case-by-case basis. In some cases, we will need additional evidence to make an assessment about your response to treatment. Your musculoskeletal disorder may meet or medically equal one of these listings regardless of whether you were prescribed opioid medication, or whether you were prescribed opioid medication and did not follow this prescribed treatment.

6. Assistive devices.

a. General. An assistive device, for the purposes of these listings, is any device that you use to improve your stability, dexterity, or mobility. An assistive device can be worn (see 1.00C6b and 1.00C6c), hand-held (see 1.00C6d), or used in a seated position (see 1.00C6e). When we use the phrase “documented medical need,” we mean that there is evidence from a medical source that supports your medical need for an assistive device (see 1.00C2b) for a continuous period of at least 12 months (see 1.00C6a). This evidence must describe any limitation(s) in your upper or lower extremity functioning and the circumstances for which you need to use the assistive device. We do not require that you have a specific prescription for the assistive device.

b. Prosthesis(es). A prosthesis is a wearable device, such as an artificial limb, that takes the place of an absent body part. If you have a prosthesis(es), we need evidence from a medical source documenting your ability to walk, or perform fine and gross movements (see 1.00E4), with the prosthesis(es) in place. When amputation(s) involves one or both lower extremities, it is not necessary for the medical source to evaluate your ability to walk without the prosthesis(es) in place. If you cannot use your prosthesis(es) due to complications affecting your residual limb(s), we need evidence from a medical source documenting the condition of your residual limb(s) and the medical basis for your inability to use the device(s).

c. Orthosis(es). An orthosis is a wearable device, such as a brace, that prevents or corrects a dysfunction or deformity by aligning or supporting the affected body part. If you have an orthosis(es), we need evidence from a medical source documenting your ability to walk, or perform fine and gross movements (see 1.00E4), with the orthosis(es) in place. If you cannot use your orthosis(es), we need evidence from a medical source documenting the medical basis for your inability to use the device(s).

d. Hand-held assistive devices. Hand-held assistive devices include walkers, canes, or crutches, which you hold onto with your hand(s) to support or aid you in walking. When you use a one-handed, hand-held assistive device (such as a cane) with one upper extremity to walk and you cannot use your other upper extremity for fine or gross movements (see 1.00E4), the need for the assistive device limits the use of both upper extremities. If you use a hand-held assistive device, we need evidence from a medical source describing how you walk with the device.

e. Wheeled and seated mobility devices. Wheeled and seated mobility devices are assistive devices that you use in a seated position, such as manual wheelchairs, motorized wheelchairs, rollators, and power operated vehicles. If you use a wheeled and seated mobility device, we need evidence from a medical source describing the type of wheeled and seated mobility device that you use and how you use the assistive device including any customizations or modifications to the assistive device itself or for your use of the assistive device. For example, if you use a wheelchair that typically requires the use of both hands but has been customized for your use with one hand, then we will evaluate your use of the assistive device using the criteria in 1.00E3b and not 1.00E3a.

(i) Wheeled and seated mobility devices involving the use of both hands. Some wheeled and seated mobility devices involve the use of both hands to use the assistive device (for example, most manual wheelchairs). If you use a wheeled and seated mobility device that involves the use of both hands, then the need for the assistive device limits the use of both upper extremities.

(ii) Wheeled and seated devices involving the use of one hand. Some wheeled and seated mobility devices involve the use of one hand to use the assistive device (for example, most motorized wheelchairs). If you use a wheeled and seated mobility device that involves the use of one upper extremity and you cannot use your other upper extremity for fine or gross movements (see 1.00E4), then the need for the assistive device limits the use of both upper extremities.

7. Longitudinal evidence.

a. We generally need a longitudinal medical record to assess the severity and duration of your musculoskeletal disorder because the severity of symptoms, signs, and laboratory findings related to most musculoskeletal disorders may improve over time or respond to treatment. Evidence over an extended period will show whether your musculoskeletal functioning is improving, worsening, or unchanging.

b. For 1.15, 1.16, 1.17, 1.18, 1.20C, 1.20D, 1.22, and 1.23, all of the required criteria must be present simultaneously, or within a close proximity of time, to satisfy the level of severity needed to meet the listing. The phrase “within a close proximity of time” means that all of the relevant criteria must appear in the medical record within a consecutive 4-month period. When the criterion is imaging, we mean that we could reasonably expect the findings on imaging to have been present at the date of impairment or date of onset. For listings that use the word “and” to link the elements of the required criteria, the medical record must establish the simultaneous presence, or presence within a close proximity of time, of all the required medical criteria. Once this level of severity is established, the medical record must also show that this level of severity has continued, or is expected to continue, for a continuous period of at least 12 months.

8. Surgical treatment and physical therapy. For some musculoskeletal disorders, a medical source may recommend surgery or physical therapy (PT). If you have not yet had the recommended surgery or PT, we will not assume that these interventions will resolve your disorder or improve your functioning. We will assess each case on an individual basis. Depending on your response to treatment, or your medical sources’ treatment plans, we may defer our findings regarding the effect of surgery or PT, until a sufficient period has passed to permit proper consideration or judgment about your future functioning. When necessary, we will follow the rules on following prescribed treatment in §§ 404.1530 and 416.930 of this chapter, including consideration of your reasons for failure to follow prescribed treatment.

 

D. How do we consider symptoms, including pain, under these listings?

1. Musculoskeletal disorders may cause pain or other symptoms; however, your statements about your pain or other symptoms will not alone establish that you are disabled. We will not substitute an alleged or a reported increase in the intensity of a symptom, such as pain, no matter how severe, for a medical sign or diagnostic finding present in the listing criteria. Pain is included as just one consideration in 1.15A, 1.16A, and 1.18A, but it is not required to satisfy the criteria in 1.15, 1.16, and 1.18.

2. To consider your symptom(s), we require objective medical evidence from an acceptable medical source showing the existence of a medically determinable musculoskeletal impairment that we could reasonably expect to produce the symptom(s). See §§ 404.1529 and 416.929 of this chapter for how we evaluate symptoms, including pain, related to your musculoskeletal disorder.

 

E. How do we use the functional criteria to evaluate your musculoskeletal disorder under these listings?

1. General. The functional criteria are based on impairment-related physical limitations in your ability to use both upper extremities, one or both lower extremities, or a combination of one upper and one lower extremity. The required impairment-related physical limitation of musculoskeletal functioning must have lasted, or be expected to last, for a continuous period of at least 12 months. We do not use the functional criteria in 1.20A, 1.20B, or 1.21.

2. Work environment. We use the relevant evidence that we have to evaluate your musculoskeletal functioning with respect to the work environment rather than the home environment. For example, an ability to walk independently at home without an assistive device does not, in and of itself, indicate an ability to walk without an assistive device in a work environment.

3. Functional criteria. A musculoskeletal disorder satisfies the functional criteria of a listing when the medical documentation shows the presence of at least one of the impairment-related limitations cited in the listing. The required impairment-related limitation of musculoskeletal functioning must be medically documented by one of the following:

a. A documented medical need (see 1.00C6a) for a walker, bilateral canes, or bilateral crutches (see 1.00C6d) or a wheeled and seated mobility device involving the use of both hands (see 1.00C6e(i));

b. An inability to use one upper extremity to independently initiate, sustain, and complete work-related activities involving fine and gross movements (see 1.00E4), and a documented medical need (see 1.00C6a) for a one-handed, hand-held assistive device (see 1.00C6d) that requires the use of your other upper extremity or a wheeled and seated mobility device involving the use of one hand (see 1.00C6e(ii));

c. An inability to use both upper extremities to the extent that neither can be used to independently initiate, sustain, and complete work-related activities involving fine and gross movements (see 1.00E4).

4. Fine and gross movements. Fine movements, for the purposes of these listings, involve use of your wrists, hands, and fingers; such movements include picking, pinching, manipulating, and fingering. Gross movements involve use of your shoulders, upper arms, forearms, and hands; such movements include handling, gripping, grasping, holding, turning, and reaching. Gross movements also include exertional abilities such as lifting, carrying, pushing, and pulling. Examples of performing fine and gross movements include, but are not limited to, taking care of personal hygiene, sorting and handling papers or files, and placing files in a file cabinet at or above waist level.

 

F. What do we consider when we evaluate disorders of the skeletal spine resulting in compromise of a nerve root(s) (1.15)?

1. General. We consider musculoskeletal disorders such as herniated nucleus pulposus, spinal osteoarthritis (spondylosis), vertebral slippage (spondylolisthesis), degenerative disc disease, facet arthritis, and vertebral fracture or dislocation. Spinal disorders may cause cervical or lumbar spine dysfunction when abnormalities of the skeletal spine compromise nerve roots of the cervical spine, a nerve root of the lumbar spine, or a nerve root of both cervical and lumbar spines. We consider spinal nerve disorders that originate in the nervous system (for example, spinal arachnoiditis), under the neurological disorders body system, 11.00 .

2. Compromise of a nerve root(s). Compromise of a nerve root, sometimes referred to as “nerve root impingement,” is a phrase used when a physical object, such as a tumor, herniated disc, foreign body, or arthritic spur, is pushing on the nerve root as seen on imaging or during surgery. It can occur when a musculoskeletal disorder produces irritation, inflammation, or compression of the nerve root(s) as it exits the skeletal spine between the vertebrae. Related symptoms must be associated with, or follow the path of, the affected nerve root(s).

a. Compromise of unilateral nerve root of the cervical spine. Compromise of a nerve root as it exits the cervical spine between the vertebrae may affect the functioning of the associated upper extremity. The physical examination reproduces the related symptoms based on radicular signs and clinical tests appropriate to the specific cervical nerve root (for example, a positive Spurling test).

b. Compromise of bilateral nerve roots of the cervical spine. Although uncommon, if compromise of a nerve root occurs on both sides of the cervical spinal column, functioning of both upper extremities may be limited.

c. Compromise of a nerve root(s) of the lumbar spine. Compromise of a nerve root as it exits the lumbar spine between the vertebrae may limit the functioning of the associated lower extremity. The physical examination reproduces the related symptoms based on radicular signs and clinical tests. When a nerve root of the lumbar spine is compromised, we require a positive straight-leg raising test (also known as a Lasègue test) in both supine and sitting positions appropriate to the specific lumbar nerve root that is compromised.

 

G. What do we consider when we evaluate lumbar spinal stenosis resulting in compromise of the cauda equina (1.16)?

1. General. We consider how pain, sensory changes, and muscle weakness caused by compromise of the cauda equina due to lumbar spinal stenosis affect your functioning. The cauda equina is a bundle of nerve roots that descends from the lower part of the spinal cord. Lumbar spinal stenosis can compress the nerves of the cauda equina, causing sensory changes and muscle weakness that may affect your ability to stand or walk. Pain related to compromise of the cauda equina is nonradicular because it is not typically associated with a specific nerve root (as is radicular pain in the cervical or lumbar spine).

2. Compromise of the cauda equina due to lumbar spinal stenosis can affect your ability to walk or stand because of neurogenic claudication (also known as pseudoclaudication), a condition usually causing nonradicular pain that starts in the low back and radiates bilaterally (or less commonly, unilaterally) into the buttocks and lower extremities (or extremity). Extension of the lumbar spine, which occurs when you walk or stand, may provoke the pain of neurogenic claudication. The pain may be relieved by forward flexion of the lumbar spine or by sitting. In contrast, the leg pain associated with peripheral vascular claudication results from inadequate arterial blood flow to a lower extremity. It occurs repeatedly and consistently when a person walks a certain distance and is relieved when the person rests.

 

H. What do we consider when we evaluate reconstructive surgery or surgical arthrodesis of a major weight-bearing joint (1.17)?

1. General. We consider reconstructive surgery or surgical arthrodesis when an acceptable medical source(s) documents the surgical procedure(s) and associated medical treatments to restore function of, or eliminate motion in, the affected major weight-bearing joint. Reconstructive surgery may be done in a single procedure or a series of procedures directed toward the salvage or restoration of functional use of the affected joint.

2. Major weight-bearing joints are the hip, knee, and ankle-foot. The ankle and foot are considered together as one major joint.

3. Surgical arthrodesis is the artificial fusion of the bones that form a joint, essentially eliminating the joint.

 

I. What do we consider when we evaluate abnormality of a major joint(s) in any extremity (1.18)?

1. General. We consider musculoskeletal disorders that produce anatomical abnormalities of major joints of the extremities, which result in functional abnormalities in the upper or lower extremities (for example, osteoarthritis, chronic infections of bones and joints, and surgical arthrodesis of a joint). Abnormalities of the joints include ligamentous laxity or rupture, soft tissue contracture, or tendon rupture, and can cause muscle weakness of the affected joint(s).

a. An anatomical abnormality is one that is readily observable by a medical source during a physical examination (for example, subluxation or contracture), or is present on imaging (for example, joint space narrowing, bony destruction, ankylosis, or deformity).

b. A functional abnormality is abnormal motion or instability of the affected joint(s), including limitation of motion, excessive motion (hypermobility), movement outside the normal plane of motion for the joint (for example, lateral deviation), or fixation of the affected joint(s).

2. Major joint of an upper extremity refers to the shoulder, elbow, and wrist-hand. We consider the wrist and hand together as one major joint.

3. Major joint of a lower extremity refers to the hip, knee, and ankle-foot. We consider the ankle and hindfoot together as one major joint.

 

J. What do we consider when we evaluate pathologic fractures due to any cause (1.19)? We consider pathologic fractures of the bones in the skeletal spine, extremities, or other parts of the skeletal system. Pathologic fractures result from disorders that weaken the bones, making them vulnerable to breakage. Pathologic fractures may occur with osteoporosis, osteogenesis imperfecta or any other skeletal dysplasias, side effects of medications, and disorders of the endocrine or other body systems. Under 1.19, the fractures must have occurred on separate, distinct occasions, rather than multiple fractures occurring at the same time, but the fractures may affect the same bone(s) multiple times. There is no required time that must elapse between the fractures, but all three must occur within a 12-month period; for example, separate incidents may occur within hours or days of each other. We evaluate non-healing or complex traumatic fractures without accompanying pathology under 1.22 or 1.23.

 

K. What do we consider when we evaluate amputation due to any cause (1.20)?

1. General. We consider amputation (the full or partial loss or absence of any extremity) due to any cause including trauma, congenital abnormality or absence, surgery for treatment of conditions such as cancer or infection, or complications of peripheral vascular disease or diabetes mellitus.

2. Amputation of both upper extremities (1.20A). Under 1.20A, we consider upper extremity amputations that occur at any level at or above the wrists (carpal joints), up to and including disarticulation of the shoulder (glenohumeral) joint. If you have had both upper extremities amputated at any level at or above the wrists up to and including the shoulder, your impairment satisfies the duration requirement in §§ 404.1509 and 416.909 of this chapter. For amputations below the wrist, we will follow the rules described in 1.00S. We do not evaluate amputations below the wrist under 1.20A because the resulting limitation of function of the thumb(s), finger(s), or hand(s) will vary, depending on the extent of loss and corresponding effect on fine and gross movements.

3. Hemipelvectomy or hip disarticulation (1.20B). Under 1.20B, we consider hemipelvectomy, which involves amputation of an entire lower extremity through the sacroiliac joint, and hip disarticulation, which involves amputation of an entire lower extremity through the hip joint capsule and closure of the remaining musculature over the exposed acetabular bone. If you have had a hemipelvectomy or hip disarticulation, your impairment satisfies the duration requirement in §§ 404.1509 and 416.909 of this chapter.

4. Amputation of one upper extremity and one lower extremity (1.20C). Under 1.20C, we consider the amputation of one upper extremity at any level at or above the wrist and one lower extremity at or above the ankle. If you have a documented medical need for a one-handed, hand-held assistive device (such as a cane) or a wheeled and seated mobility device involving the use of one hand (such as a motorized wheelchair), then you must use your remaining upper extremity to hold the device, making the extremity unavailable to perform other fine and gross movements (see 1.00E4).

5. Amputation of one lower extremity or both lower extremities with complications of the residual limb(s) (1.20D). Under 1.20D, we consider the amputation of one lower extremity or both lower extremities at or above the ankle. We also consider the condition of your residual limb(s), whether you can wear a prosthesis(es) (see 1.00C6b), and whether you have a documented medical need (see 1.00C6a) for a hand-held assistive device(s) (see 1.00C6d) or a wheeled and seated mobility device (see 1.00C6e). If you have a non-healing residual limb(s) and are receiving ongoing surgical treatment expected to re-establish or improve function, and that ongoing surgical treatment has not ended, or is not expected to end, within at least 12 months of the initiation of the surgical management (see 1.00L), we evaluate your musculoskeletal disorder under 1.21.

 

L. What do we consider when we evaluate soft tissue injuries or abnormalities under continuing surgical management (1.21)?

1. General.

a. We consider any soft tissue injury or abnormality involving the soft tissues of the body, whether congenital or acquired, when an acceptable medical source(s) documents the need for ongoing surgical procedures and associated medical treatments to restore function of the affected body part(s) (see 1.00O1). Surgical management includes the surgery(ies) itself, as well as various post-surgical procedures, surgical complications, infections or other medical complications, related illnesses, or related treatments that delay your attainment of maximum benefit from therapy (see 1.00O2).

b. Surgical procedures and associated treatments typically take place over extended periods, which may render you unable to perform work-related activity on a sustained basis. To document such inability, we must have evidence from an acceptable medical source(s) confirming that the surgical management has continued, or is expected to continue, for at least 12 months from the date of the first surgical intervention. These procedures and treatments must be directed toward saving, reconstructing, or replacing the affected part of the body to re-establish or improve its function, and not for cosmetic appearances alone.

c. Examples include malformations, third- and fourth-degree burns, crush injuries, craniofacial injuries, avulsive injuries, and amputations with complications of the residual limb(s).

d. We evaluate skeletal spine abnormalities or injuries under 1.15 or 1.16, as appropriate. We evaluate abnormalities or injuries of bones in the lower extremities under 1.17, 1.18, or 1.22. We evaluate abnormalities or injuries of bones in the upper extremities under 1.18 or 1.23.

2. Documentation. In addition to the objective medical evidence we need to establish your soft tissue injury or abnormality, we also need all of the following medically documented evidence about your continuing surgical management:

a. Operative reports and related laboratory findings;

b. Records of post-surgical procedures;

c. Records of any surgical or medical complications (for example, related infections or systemic illnesses);

d. Records of any prolonged post-operative recovery periods and related treatments (for example, surgeries and treatments for burns);

e. An acceptable medical source’s plans for additional surgeries; and

f. Records detailing any other factors that have delayed, or that an acceptable medical source expects to delay, the saving, restoring, or replacing of the involved part for a continuous period of at least 12 months following the initiation of the surgical management.

3. Burns. Third- and fourth-degree burns damage or destroy nerve tissue, reducing or preventing transmission of signals through those nerves. Such burns frequently require multiple surgical procedures and related therapies to re-establish or improve function, which we evaluate under 1.21. When burns are no longer under continuing surgical management (see 1.00O1), we evaluate the residual impairment(s). When the residual impairment(s) affects the musculoskeletal system, as often occurs in third- and fourth-degree burns, it can result in permanent musculoskeletal tissue loss, joint contractures, or loss of extremities. We will evaluate such impairments under the relevant musculoskeletal disorders listing, for example, 1.18 or 1.20. When the residual impairment(s) involves another body system, we will evaluate the impairment(s) under the listings in the relevant body system(s).

4. Craniofacial injuries. Surgeons may treat craniofacial injuries with multiple surgical procedures. These injuries may affect vision, hearing, speech, and the initiation of the digestive process, including mastication. When the craniofacial injury-related residual impairment(s) involves another body system(s), we will evaluate the impairment(s) under the listings in the relevant body system(s).

 

M. What do we consider when we evaluate non-healing or complex fractures of the femur, tibia, pelvis, or one or more of the talocrural bones (1.22)?

1. Non-healing fracture. A non-healing (nonunion) fracture is a fracture that has failed to unite completely. Nonunion is usually established when a minimum of 9 months has elapsed since the injury and the fracture site has shown no, or minimal, progressive signs of healing for a minimum of 3 months.

2. Complex fracture. A complex fracture is a fracture with one or more of the following:

a. Comminuted (broken into many pieces) bone fragments;

b. Multiple fractures in a single bone;

c. Bone loss due to severe trauma;

d. Damage to the surrounding soft tissue;

e. Severe cartilage damage to the associated joint; or

f. Dislocation of the associated joint.

3. When a complex fracture involves soft tissue damage, the treatment may involve continuing surgical management to restore or improve functioning. In such cases, we may evaluate the fracture(s) under 1.21.

 

N. What do we consider when we evaluate non-healing or complex fracture of an upper extremity (1.23)?

1. Non-healing fracture. A non-healing (nonunion) fracture is a fracture that has failed to unite completely. Nonunion is usually established when a minimum of 9 months has elapsed since the injury and the fracture site has shown no, or minimal, progressive signs of healing for a minimum of 3 months.

2. Complex fracture. A complex fracture is a fracture with one or more of the following:

a. Comminuted (broken into many pieces) bone fragments;

b. Multiple fractures in a single bone;

c. Bone loss due to severe trauma;

d. Damage to the surrounding soft tissue;

e. Severe cartilage damage to the associated joint; or

f. Dislocation of the associated joint.

3. When a complex fracture involves soft tissue damage, the treatment may involve continuing surgical management to restore or improve functioning. In such cases, we may evaluate the fracture(s) under 1.21.

 

O. How will we determine whether your soft tissue injury or abnormality or your upper extremity fracture is no longer under continuing surgical management or you have received maximum benefit from therapy?

1. We will determine that your soft tissue injury or abnormality, or your upper extremity fracture, is no longer under continuing surgical management, as used in 1.21 and 1.23, when the last surgical procedure or medical treatment directed toward the re-establishment or improvement of function of the involved part has occurred.

2. We will determine that you have received maximum benefit from therapy, as used in 1.21, if there are no significant changes in physical findings or on appropriate imaging for any 6-month period after the last surgical procedure or medical treatment. We may also determine that you have received maximum benefit from therapy if your medical source(s) indicates that further improvement is not expected after the last surgical procedure or medical treatment.

3. When you have received maximum benefit from therapy, we will evaluate any impairment-related residual symptoms, signs, and laboratory findings (including those on imaging), any complications associated with your surgical procedures or medical treatments, and any residual limitations in your functioning (see 1.00S).

 

P. How do we evaluate your musculoskeletal disorder if there is no record of ongoing treatment?

1. Despite having a musculoskeletal disorder, you may not have received ongoing treatment, may have just begun treatment, may not have access to prescribed medical treatment, or may not have an ongoing relationship with the medical community. In any of these situations, you will not have a longitudinal medical record for us to review when we evaluate your disorder and we may ask you to attend a consultative examination to determine the severity and potential duration of your disorder. See §§ 404.1519a(b) and 416.919a(b) of this chapter.

2. In some instances, we may be able to assess the severity and duration of your musculoskeletal disorder based on your medical record and current evidence alone. If the information in your case record is not sufficient to show that you have a musculoskeletal disorder that meets the criteria of one of the musculoskeletal disorders listings, we will follow the rules described in 1.00S.

 

Q. How do we consider the effects of obesity when we evaluate your musculoskeletal disorder? Obesity is a medically determinable impairment that is often associated with musculoskeletal disorders. Obesity increases stress on weight-bearing joints and may contribute to limitation of the range of motion of the skeletal spine and extremities. The combined effects of obesity with a musculoskeletal disorder can be greater than the effects of each of the impairments considered separately. We consider the additional and cumulative effects of your obesity when we determine whether you have a severe musculoskeletal disorder, a listing-level musculoskeletal disorder, a combination of impairments that medically equals the severity of a listed impairment, and when we assess your residual functional capacity.

 

R. How do we evaluate your musculoskeletal disorder if there is evidence establishing a substance use disorder? If we find that you are disabled and there is medical evidence in your case record establishing that you have a substance use disorder, we will determine whether your substance use disorder is a contributing factor material to the determination of disability. See §§ 404.1535 and 416.935 of this chapter.

 

S. How do we evaluate musculoskeletal disorders that do not meet one of these listings?

1. These listings are only examples of musculoskeletal disorders that we consider severe enough to prevent you from doing any gainful activity. If your impairment(s) does not meet the criteria of any of these listings, we must also consider whether you have an impairment(s) that meets the criteria of a listing in another body system.

2. If you have a severe medically determinable impairment(s) that does not meet a listing, we will determine whether your impairment(s) medically equals a listing. See §§ 404.1526 and 416.926 of this chapter. If your impairment(s) does not meet or medically equal a listing, you may or may not have the residual functional capacity to engage in substantial gainful activity. We proceed to the fourth step and, if necessary, the fifth step of the sequential evaluation process in §§ 404.1520 and 416.920 of this chapter.

3. We use the rules in §§ 404.1594 and 416.994 of this chapter, as appropriate, when we decide whether you continue to be disabled.

 

1.01 Category of Impairments, Musculoskeletal Disorders

 

1.15 Disorders of the skeletal spine resulting in compromise of a nerve root(s) (see 1.00F), documented by A, B, C, and D:

A. Neuro-anatomic (radicular) distribution of one or more of the following symptoms consistent with compromise of the affected nerve root(s):

1. Pain; or

2. Paresthesia; or

3. Muscle fatigue.

AND

B. Radicular distribution of neurological signs present during physical examination (see 1.00C2) or on a diagnostic test (see 1.00C3) and evidenced by 1, 2, and either 3 or 4:

1. Muscle weakness; and

2. Sign(s) of nerve root irritation, tension, or compression, consistent with compromise of the affected nerve root (see 1.00F2); and

3. Sensory changes evidenced by:

a. Decreased sensation; or

b. Sensory nerve deficit (abnormal sensory nerve latency) on electrodiagnostic testing; or

4. Decreased deep tendon reflexes.

AND

C. Findings on imaging (see 1.00C3) consistent with compromise of a nerve root(s) in the cervical or lumbosacral spine.

AND

D. Impairment-related physical limitation of musculoskeletal functioning that has lasted, or is expected to last, for a continuous period of at least 12 months, and medical documentation of at least one of the following:

1. A documented medical need (see 1.00C6a) for a walker, bilateral canes, or bilateral crutches (see 1.00C6d) or a wheeled and seated mobility device involving the use of both hands (see 1.00C6e(i)); or

2. An inability to use one upper extremity to independently initiate, sustain, and complete work-related activities involving fine and gross movements (see 1.00E4), and a documented medical need (see 1.00C6a) for a one-handed, hand-held assistive device (see 1.00C6d) that requires the use of the other upper extremity or a wheeled and seated mobility device involving the use of one hand (see 1.00C6e(ii)); or

3. An inability to use both upper extremities to the extent that neither can be used to independently initiate, sustain, and complete work-related activities involving fine and gross movements (see 1.00E4).

 

1.16 Lumbar spinal stenosis resulting in compromise of the cauda equina (see 1.00G), documented by A, B, C, and D:

A. Symptom(s) of neurological compromise manifested as:

1. Nonradicular distribution of pain in one or both lower extremities; or

2. Nonradicular distribution of sensory loss in one or both lower extremities; or

3. Neurogenic claudication.

AND

B. Nonradicular neurological signs present during physical examination (see 1.00C2) or on a diagnostic test (see 1.00C3) and evidenced by 1 and either 2 or 3:

1. Muscle weakness.

2. Sensory changes evidenced by:

a. Decreased sensation; or

b. Sensory nerve deficit (abnormal sensory nerve latency) on electrodiagnostic testing; or

c. Areflexia, trophic ulceration, or bladder or bowel incontinence.

3. Decreased deep tendon reflexes in one or both lower extremities.

AND

C. Findings on imaging (see 1.00C3) or in an operative report (see 1.00C4) consistent with compromise of the cauda equina with lumbar spinal stenosis.

AND

D. Impairment-related physical limitation of musculoskeletal functioning that has lasted, or is expected to last, for a continuous period of at least 12 months, and medical documentation of at least one of the following:

1. A documented medical need (see 1.00C6a) for a walker, bilateral canes, or bilateral crutches (see 1.00C6d) or a wheeled and seated mobility device involving the use of both hands (see 1.00C6e(i)); or

2. An inability to use one upper extremity to independently initiate, sustain, and complete work-related activities involving fine and gross movements (see 1.00E4), and a documented medical need (see 1.00C6a) for a one-handed, hand-held assistive device (see 1.00C6d) that requires the use of the other upper extremity or a wheeled and seated mobility device involving the use of one hand (see 1.00C6e(ii)).

 

1.17 Reconstructive surgery or surgical arthrodesis of a major weight-bearing joint (see 1.00H), documented by A, B, and C:

A. History of reconstructive surgery or surgical arthrodesis of a major weight-bearing joint.

AND

B. Impairment-related physical limitation of musculoskeletal functioning that has lasted, or is expected to last, for a continuous period of at least 12 months.

AND

C. A documented medical need (see 1.00C6a) for a walker, bilateral canes, or bilateral crutches (see 1.00C6d) or a wheeled and seated mobility device involving the use of both hands (see 1.00C6e(i)).

 

1.18 Abnormality of a major joint(s) in any extremity (see 1.00I), documented by A, B, C, and D:

A. Chronic joint pain or stiffness.

AND

B. Abnormal motion, instability, or immobility of the affected joint(s).

AND

C. Anatomical abnormality of the affected joint(s) noted on:

1. Physical examination (for example, subluxation, contracture, or bony or fibrous ankylosis); or

2. Imaging (for example, joint space narrowing, bony destruction, or ankylosis or arthrodesis of the affected joint).

AND

D. Impairment-related physical limitation of musculoskeletal functioning that has lasted, or is expected to last, for a continuous period of at least 12 months, and medical documentation of at least one of the following:

1. A documented medical need (see 1.00C6a) for a walker, bilateral canes, or bilateral crutches (see 1.00C6d) or a wheeled and seated mobility device involving the use of both hands (see 1.00C6e(i)); or

2. An inability to use one upper extremity to independently initiate, sustain, and complete work-related activities involving fine and gross movements (see 1.00E4), and a documented medical need (see 1.00C6a) for a one-handed, hand-held assistive device (see 1.00C6d) that requires the use of the other upper extremity or a wheeled and seated mobility device involving the use of one hand (see 1.00C6e(ii)); or

3. An inability to use both upper extremities to the extent that neither can be used to independently initiate, sustain, and complete work-related activities involving fine and gross movements (see 1.00E4).

 

1.19 Pathologic fractures due to any cause (see 1.00J), documented by A and B:

A. Pathologic fractures occurring on three separate occasions within a 12-month period.

AND

B. Impairment-related physical limitation of musculoskeletal functioning that has lasted, or is expected to last, for a continuous period of at least 12 months, and medical documentation of at least one of the following:

1. A documented medical need (see 1.00C6a) for a walker, bilateral canes, or bilateral crutches (see 1.00C6d) or a wheeled and seated mobility device involving the use of both hands (see 1.00C6e(i)); or

2. An inability to use one upper extremity to independently initiate, sustain, and complete work-related activities involving fine and gross movements (see 1.00E4), and a documented medical need (see 1.00C6a) for a one-handed, hand-held assistive device (see 1.00C6d) that requires the use of the other upper extremity or a wheeled and seated mobility device involving the use of one hand (see 1.00C6e(ii)); or

3. An inability to use both upper extremities to the extent that neither can be used to independently initiate, sustain, and complete work-related activities involving fine and gross movements (see 1.00E4).

 

1.20 Amputation due to any cause (see 1.00K), documented by A, B, C, or D:

A. Amputation of both upper extremities, occurring at any level at or above the wrists (carpal joints), up to and including the shoulder (glenohumeral) joint.

OR

B. Hemipelvectomy or hip disarticulation.

OR

C. Amputation of one upper extremity, occurring at any level at or above the wrist (carpal joints), and amputation of one lower extremity, occurring at or above the ankle (talocrural joint), and medical documentation of at least one of the following:

1. A documented medical need (see 1.00C6a) for a walker, bilateral canes, or bilateral crutches (see 1.00C6d) or a wheeled and seated mobility device involving the use of both hands (see 1.00C6e(i)); or

2. A documented medical need (see 1.00C6a) for a one-handed, hand-held assistive device (see 1.00C6d) requiring the use of the other upper extremity or a wheeled and seated mobility device involving the use of one hand (see 1.00C6e(ii)); or

3. The inability to use the remaining upper extremity to independently initiate, sustain, and complete work-related activities involving fine and gross movements (1.00E4).

OR

D. Amputation of one or both lower extremities, occurring at or above the ankle (talocrural joint), with complications of the residual limb(s) that have lasted, or are expected to last, for a continuous period of at least 12 months, and medical documentation of 1 and 2:

1. The inability to use a prosthesis(es); and

2. A documented medical need (see 1.00C6a) for a walker, bilateral canes, or bilateral crutches (see 1.00C6d) or a wheeled and seated mobility device involving the use of both hands (see 1.00C6e(i)).

 

1.21 Soft tissue injury or abnormality under continuing surgical management (see 1.00L), documented by A, B, and C:

A. Evidence confirms continuing surgical management (see 1.00O1) directed toward saving, reconstructing, or replacing the affected part of the body.

AND

B. The surgical management has been, or is expected to be, ongoing for a continuous period of at least 12 months.

AND

C. Maximum benefit from therapy (see 1.00O2) has not yet been achieved.

 

1.22 Non-healing or complex fracture of the femur, tibia, pelvis, or one or more of the talocrural bones (see 1.00M), documented by A, B, and C:

A. Solid union not evident on imaging (see 1.00C3) and not clinically solid.

AND

B. Impairment-related physical limitation of musculoskeletal functioning that has lasted, or is expected to last, for a continuous period of at least 12 months.

AND

C. A documented medical need (see 1.00C6a) for a walker, bilateral canes, or bilateral crutches (see 1.00C6d) or a wheeled and seated mobility device involving the use of both hands (see 1.00C6e(i)).

 

1.23 Non-healing or complex fracture of an upper extremity (see 1.00N), documented by A and B:

A. Nonunion or complex fracture of the shaft of the humerus, radius, or ulna, under continuing surgical management (see 1.00O1) directed toward restoration of functional use of the extremity.

AND

B. Medical documentation of an inability to independently initiate, sustain, and complete work-related activities involving fine and gross movements (see 1.00E4) that has lasted, or is expected to last, for a continuous period of at least 12 months.

 

 

DI 34001.016 Cardiovascular System

4.00 CARDIOVASCULAR SYSTEM (Effective date: 04/02/2021)

A. General

1. What do we mean by a cardiovascular impairment?

a. We mean any disorder that affects the proper functioning of the heart or the circulatory system (that is, arteries, veins, capillaries, and the lymphatic drainage). The disorder can be congenital or acquired.

b. Cardiovascular impairment results from one or more of four consequences of heart disease:

(i) Chronic heart failure or ventricular dysfunction.

(ii) Discomfort or pain due to myocardial ischemia, with or without necrosis of heart muscle.

(iii) Syncope, or near syncope, due to inadequate cerebral perfusion from any cardiac cause, such as obstruction of flow or disturbance in rhythm or conduction resulting in inadequate cardiac output.

(iv) Central cyanosis due to right-to-left shunt, reduced oxygen concentration in the arterial blood, or pulmonary vascular disease.

c. Disorders of the veins or arteries (for example, obstruction, rupture, or aneurysm) may cause impairments of the lower extremities (peripheral vascular disease), the central nervous system, the eyes, the kidneys, and other organs. We will evaluate peripheral vascular disease under 4.11 or 4.12 and impairments of another body system(s) under the listings for that body system(s).

2. What do we consider in evaluating cardiovascular impairments? The listings in this section describe cardiovascular impairments based on symptoms, signs, laboratory findings, response to a regimen of prescribed treatment, and functional limitations.

3. What do the following terms or phrases mean in these listings?

a. Medical consultant is an individual defined in §§404.1616(a) and 416.1016(a). This term does not include medical sources who provide consultative examinations for us. We use the abbreviation “MC” throughout this section to designate a medical consultant.

b. Persistent means that the longitudinal clinical record shows that, with few exceptions, the required finding(s) has been present, or is expected to be present, for a continuous period of at least 12 months, such that a pattern of continuing severity is established.

c. Recurrent means that the longitudinal clinical record shows that, within a consecutive 12-month period, the finding(s) occurs at least three times, with intervening periods of improvement of sufficient duration that it is clear that separate events are involved.

d. Appropriate medically acceptable imaging means that the technique used is the proper one to evaluate and diagnose the impairment and is commonly recognized as accurate for assessing the cited finding.

e. A consecutive 12-month period means a period of 12 consecutive months, all or part of which must occur within the period we are considering in connection with an application or continuing disability review.

f. Uncontrolled means the impairment does not adequately respond to standard prescribed medical treatment.

B. Documenting cardiovascular impairment

1. What basic documentation do we need? We need sufficiently detailed reports of history, physical examinations, laboratory studies, and any prescribed treatment and response to allow us to assess the severity and duration of your cardiovascular impairment. A longitudinal clinical record covering a period of not less than 3 months of observations and treatment is usually necessary, unless we can make a determination or decision based on the current evidence.

2. Why is a longitudinal clinical record important? We will usually need a longitudinal clinical record to assess the severity and expected duration of your impairment(s). If you have a listing-level impairment, you probably will have received medically prescribed treatment. Whenever there is evidence of such treatment, your longitudinal clinical record should include a description of the ongoing management and evaluation provided by your treating or other medical source. It should also include your response to this medical management, as well as information about the nature and severity of your impairment. The record will provide us with information on your functional status over an extended period of time and show whether your ability to function is improving, worsening, or unchanging.

3. What if you have not received ongoing medical treatment?

a. You may not have received ongoing treatment or have an ongoing relationship with the medical community despite the existence of a severe impairment(s). In this situation, we will base our evaluation on the current objective medical evidence and the other evidence we have. If you do not receive treatment, you cannot show an impairment that meets the criteria of most of these listings. However, we may find you disabled because you have another impairment(s) that in combination with your cardiovascular impairment medically equals the severity of a listed impairment or based on consideration of your residual functional capacity and age, education, and work experience.

b. Unless we can decide your claim favorably on the basis of the current evidence, a longitudinal record is still important. In rare instances where there is no or insufficient longitudinal evidence, we may purchase a consultative examination(s) to help us establish the severity and duration of your impairment.

4. When will we wait before we ask for more evidence?

a. We will wait when we have information showing that your impairment is not yet stable and the expected change in your impairment might affect our determination or decision. In these situations, we need to wait to properly evaluate the severity and duration of your impairment during a stable period. Examples of when we might wait are:

(i) If you have had a recent acute event; for example, a myocardial infarction (heart attack).

(ii) If you have recently had a corrective cardiac procedure; for example, coronary artery bypass grafting.

(iii) If you have started new drug therapy and your response to this treatment has not yet been established; for example, beta-blocker therapy for dilated congestive cardiomyopathy.

b. In these situations, we will obtain more evidence 3 months following the event before we evaluate your impairment. However, we will not wait if we have enough information to make a determination or decision based on all of the relevant evidence in your case.

5. Will we purchase any studies? In appropriate situations, we will purchase studies necessary to substantiate the diagnosis or to document the severity of your impairment, generally after we have evaluated the medical and other evidence we already have. We will not purchase studies involving exercise testing if there is significant risk involved or if there is another medical reason not to perform the test. We will follow sections 4.00C6, 4.00C7, and 4.00C8 when we decide whether to purchase exercise testing.

6. What studies will we not purchase? We will not purchase any studies involving cardiac catheterization, such as coronary angiography, arteriograms, or electrophysiological studies. However, if the results of catheterization are part of the existing evidence we have, we will consider them together with the other relevant evidence. See 4.00C15a.

C. Using cardiovascular test results

1. What is an ECG?

a. ECG stands for electrocardiograph or electrocardiogram. An electrocardiograph is a machine that records electrical impulses of your heart on a strip of paper called an electrocardiogram or a tracing. To record the ECG, a technician positions a number of small contacts (or leads) on your arms, legs, and across your chest to connect them to the ECG machine. An ECG may be done while you are resting or exercising.

b. The ECG tracing may indicate that you have a heart abnormality. It may indicate that your heart muscle is not getting as much oxygen as it needs (ischemia), that your heart rhythm is abnormal (arrhythmia), or that there are other abnormalities of your heart, such as left ventricular enlargement.

2. How do we evaluate ECG evidence? We consider a number of factors when we evaluate ECG evidence:

a. An original or legible copy of the 12-lead ECG obtained at rest must be appropriately dated and labeled, with the standardization inscribed on the tracing. Alteration in standardization of specific leads (such as to accommodate large QRS amplitudes) must be identified on those leads.

(i) Detailed descriptions or computer-averaged signals without original or legible copies of the ECG as described in listing 4.00C2a are not acceptable.

(ii) The effects of drugs or electrolyte abnormalities must be considered as possible noncardiac causes of ECG abnormalities of ventricular repolarization; that is, those involving the ST segment and T wave. If available, the predrug (especially digitalis glycosides) ECG should be submitted.

b. ECGs obtained in conjunction with treadmill, bicycle, or arm exercise tests should meet the following specifications:

(i) ECG reports must include the original calibrated ECG tracings or a legible copy.

(ii) A 12-lead baseline ECG must be recorded in the upright position before exercise.

(iii) A 12-lead ECG should be recorded at the end of each minute of exercise.

(iv) If ECG documentation of the effects of hyperventilation is obtained, the exercise test should be deferred for at least 10 minutes because metabolic changes of hyperventilation may alter the physiologic and ECG-recorded response to exercise.

(v) Post-exercise ECGs should be recorded using a generally accepted protocol consistent with the prevailing state of medical knowledge and clinical practice.

(vi) All resting, exercise, and recovery ECG strips must have the standardization inscribed on the tracing. The ECG strips should be labeled to indicate the date, the times recorded and the relationship to the stage of the exercise protocol. The speed and grade (treadmill test) or work rate (bicycle or arm ergometric test) should be recorded. The highest level of exercise achieved, heart rate and blood pressure levels during testing, and the reason(s) for terminating the test (including limiting signs or symptoms) must be recorded.

3. What are exercise tests and what are they used for?

a. Exercise tests have you perform physical activity and record how your cardiovascular system responds. Exercise tests usually involve walking on a treadmill, but other forms of exercise, such as an exercise bicycle or an arm exercise machine, may be used. Exercise testing may be done for various reasons; such as to evaluate the severity of your coronary artery disease or peripheral vascular disease or to evaluate your progress after a cardiac procedure or an acute event, like a myocardial infarction (heart attack). Exercise testing is the most widely used testing for identifying the presence of myocardial ischemia and for estimating maximal aerobic capacity (usually expressed in METs – metabolic equivalents) if you have heart disease.

b. We include exercise tolerance test (ETT) criteria in 4.02B3 (chronic heart failure) and 4.04A (ischemic heart disease). To meet the ETT criteria in these listings, the ETT must be a sign- or symptom-limited test in which you exercise while connected to an ECG until you develop a sign or symptom that indicates that you have exercised as much as is considered safe for you.

c. In 4.12B, we also refer to exercise testing for peripheral vascular disease. In this test, you walk on a treadmill, usually for a specified period of time, and the individual who administers the test measures the effect of exercise on the flow of blood in your legs, usually by using ultrasound. The test is also called an exercise Doppler test. Even though this test is intended to evaluate peripheral vascular disease, it will be stopped for your safety if you develop abnormal signs or symptoms because of heart disease.

d. Each type of test is done in a certain way following specific criteria, called a protocol. For our program, we also specify certain aspects of how any exercise test we purchase is to be done. See 4.00C10 and 4.00C17.

4. Do ETTs have limitations? An ETT provides an estimate of aerobic capacity for walking on a grade, bicycling, or moving one’s arms in an environmentally controlled setting. Therefore, ETT results do not correlate with the ability to perform other types of exertional activities, such as lifting and carrying heavy loads, and do not provide an estimate of the ability to perform activities required for work in all possible work environments or throughout a workday. Also, certain medications (such as beta blockers) and conduction disorders (such as left or right bundle branch blocks) can cause false-negative or false-positive results. Therefore, we must consider the results of an ETT together with all the other relevant evidence in your case record.

5. How does an ETT with measurement of maximal or peak oxygen uptake (VO2) differ from other ETTs? Occasionally, medical evidence will include the results of an ETT with VO2. While ETTs without measurement of VO2 provide only an estimate of aerobic capacity, measured maximal or peak oxygen uptake provides an accurate measurement of aerobic capacity, which is often expressed in METs (metabolic equivalents). The MET level may not be indicated in the report of attained maximal or peak VO2 testing, but can be calculated as follows: 1 MET = 3.5 milliliters (ml) of oxygen uptake per kilogram (kg) of body weight per minute. For example, a 70 kg (154 lb.) individual who achieves a maximal or peak VO2 of 1225 ml in 1 minute has attained 5 METs (1225 ml/70 kg/1 min = 17.5 ml/kg/min. 17.5/3.5 = 5 METs).

6. When will we consider whether to purchase an exercise test?

a. We will consider whether to purchase an exercise test when:

(i) There is a question whether your cardiovascular impairment meets or medically equals the severity of one of the listings, or there is no timely test in the evidence we have (see 4.00C9), and we cannot find you disabled on some other basis; or

(ii) We need to assess your residual functional capacity and there is insufficient evidence in the record to make a determination or decision.

b. We will not purchase an exercise test when we can make our determination or decision based on the evidence we already have.

7. What must we do before purchasing an exercise test?

a. Before we purchase an exercise test, an MC, preferably one with experience in the care of patients with cardiovascular disease, must review the pertinent history, physical examinations, and laboratory tests that we have to determine whether the test would present a significant risk to you or if there is some other medical reason not to purchase the test (see 4.00C8).

b. If you are under the care of a treating source (see §§404.1502 and 416.902) for a cardiovascular impairment, this source has not performed an exercise test, and there are no reported significant risks to testing, we will request a statement from that source explaining why it was not done or should not be done before we decide whether we will purchase the test.

c. The MC, in accordance with the regulations and other instructions on consultative examinations, will generally give great weight to the treating source’s opinion about the risk of exercise testing to you and will generally not override it. In the rare situation in which the MC does override the treating source’s opinion, the MC must prepare a written rationale documenting the reasons for overriding the opinion.

d. If you do not have a treating source or we cannot obtain a statement from your treating source, the MC is responsible for assessing the risk to exercise testing based on a review of the records we have before purchasing an exercise test for you.

e. We must also provide your records to the medical source who performs the exercise test for review prior to conducting the test if the source does not already have them. The medical source who performs the exercise test has the ultimate responsibility for deciding whether you would be at risk.

8. When will we not purchase an exercise test or wait before we purchase an exercise test?

a. We will not purchase an exercise test when an MC finds that you have one of the following significant risk factors:

(i) Unstable angina not previously stabilized by medical treatment.

(ii) Uncontrolled cardiac arrhythmias causing symptoms or hemodynamic compromise.

(iii) An implanted cardiac defibrillator.

(iv) Symptomatic severe aortic stenosis.

(v) Uncontrolled symptomatic heart failure.

(vi) Aortic dissection.

(vii) Severe pulmonary hypertension (pulmonary artery systolic pressure greater than 60 mm Hg).

(viii) Left main coronary stenosis of 50 percent or greater that has not been bypassed.

(ix) Moderate stenotic valvular disease with a systolic gradient across the aortic valve of 50 mm Hg or greater.

(x) Severe arterial hypertension (systolic greater than 200 mm Hg or diastolic greater than 110 mm Hg).

(xi) Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy with a systolic gradient of 50 mm Hg or greater.

b. We also will not purchase an exercise test when you are prevented from performing exercise testing due to another impairment affecting your ability to use your arms and legs.

c. We will not purchase an ETT to document the presence of a cardiac arrhythmia.

d. We will wait to purchase an exercise test until 3 months after you have had one of the following events. This will allow for maximal, attainable restoration of functional capacity.

(i) Acute myocardial infarction.

(ii) Surgical myocardial revascularization (bypass surgery).

(iii) Other open-heart surgical procedures.

(iv) Percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty with or without stenting.

e. If you are deconditioned after an extended period of bedrest or inactivity and could improve with activity, or if you are in acute heart failure and are expected to improve with treatment, we will wait an appropriate period of time for you to recuperate before we purchase an exercise test.

9. What do we mean by a “timely” test?

a. We consider exercise test results to be timely for 12 months after the date they are performed, provided there has been no change in your clinical status that may alter the severity of your cardiovascular impairment.

b. However, an exercise test that is older than 12 months, especially an abnormal one, can still provide information important to our adjudication. For example, a test that is more than 12 months old can provide evidence of ischemic heart disease or peripheral vascular disease, information on decreased aerobic capacity, or information about the duration or onset of your impairment. Such tests can be an important component of the longitudinal record.

c. When we evaluate a test that is more than 12 months old, we must consider the results in the context of all the relevant evidence, including why the test was performed and whether there has been an intervening event or improvement or worsening of your impairment.

d. We will purchase a new exercise test only if we cannot make a determination or decision based on the evidence we have.

10. How must ETTs we purchase be performed?

a. The ETT must be a sign- or symptom-limited test characterized by a progressive multistage regimen. It must be performed using a generally accepted protocol consistent with the prevailing state of medical knowledge and clinical practice. A description of the protocol that was followed must be provided, and the test must meet the requirements of 4.00C2b and this section. A radionuclide perfusion scan may be useful for detecting or confirming ischemia when resting ECG abnormalities, medications, or other factors may decrease the accuracy of ECG interpretation of ischemia. (The perfusion imaging is done at the termination of exercise, which may be at a higher MET level than that at which ischemia first occurs. If the imaging confirms the presence of reversible ischemia, the exercise ECG may be useful for detecting the MET level at which ischemia initially appeared.) Exercise tests may also be performed using echocardiography to detect stress-induced ischemia and left ventricular dysfunction (see 4.00C12 and 4.00C13).

b. The exercise test must be paced to your capabilities and be performed following the generally accepted standards for adult exercise test laboratories. With a treadmill test, the speed, grade (incline), and duration of exercise must be recorded for each exercise test stage performed. Other exercise test protocols or techniques should use similar workloads. The exercise protocol may need to be modified in individual cases to allow for a lower initial workload with more slowly graded increments than the standard Bruce protocol.

c. Levels of exercise must be described in terms of workload and duration of each stage; for example, treadmill speed and grade, or bicycle ergometer work rate in kpm/min or watts.

d. The exercise laboratory's physical environment, staffing, and equipment must meet the generally accepted standards for adult exercise test laboratories.

11. How do we evaluate ETT results? We evaluate ETT results on the basis of the work level at which the test becomes abnormal, as documented by onset of signs or symptoms and any ECG or imaging abnormalities. The absence of an ischemic response on an ETT alone does not exclude the diagnosis of ischemic heart disease. We must consider the results of an ETT in the context of all of the other evidence in your case record.

12. When are ETTs done with imaging? When resting ECG abnormalities preclude interpretation of ETT tracings relative to ischemia, a radionuclide (for example, thallium-201 or technetium-99m) perfusion scan or echocardiography in conjunction with an ETT provides better results. You may have resting ECG abnormalities when you have a conduction defect--for example, Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, left bundle branch block, left ventricular hypertrophy--or when you are taking digitalis or other antiarrhythmic drugs, or when resting ST changes are present. Also, these techniques can provide a reliable estimate of ejection fraction.

13. Will we purchase ETTs with imaging? We may purchase an ETT with imaging in your case after an MC, preferably one with experience in the care of patients with cardiovascular disease, has reviewed your medical history and physical examination, any report(s) of appropriate medically acceptable imaging, ECGs, and other appropriate tests. We will consider purchasing an ETT with imaging when other information we have is not adequate for us to assess whether you have severe ventricular dysfunction or myocardial ischemia, there is no significant risk involved (see 4.00C8a), and we cannot make our determination or decision based on the evidence we already have.

14. What are drug-induced stress tests? These tests are designed primarily to provide evidence about myocardial ischemia or prior myocardial infarction, but do not require you to exercise. These tests are used when you cannot exercise or cannot exercise enough to achieve the desired cardiac stress. Drug-induced stress tests can also provide evidence about heart chamber dimensions and function; however, these tests do not provide information about your aerobic capacity and cannot be used to help us assess your ability to function. Some of these tests use agents, such as Persantine or adenosine, that dilate the coronary arteries and are used in combination with nuclear agents, such as thallium or technetium (for example, Cardiolyte or Myoview), and a myocardial scan. Other tests use agents, such as dobutamine, that stimulate the heart to contract more forcefully and faster to simulate exercise and are used in combination with a 2-dimensional echocardiogram. We may, when appropriate, purchase a drug-induced stress test to confirm the presence of myocardial ischemia after a review of the evidence in your file by an MC, preferably one with experience in the care of patients with cardiovascular disease.

15. How do we evaluate cardiac catheterization evidence?

a. We will not purchase cardiac catheterization; however, if you have had catheterization, we will make every reasonable effort to obtain the report and any ancillary studies. We will consider the quality and type of data provided and its relevance to the evaluation of your impairment. For adults, we generally see two types of catheterization reports: Coronary arteriography and left ventriculography.

b. For coronary arteriography, the report should provide information citing the method of assessing coronary arterial lumen diameter and the nature and location of obstructive lesions. Drug treatment at baseline and during the procedure should be reported. Some individuals with significant coronary atherosclerotic obstruction have collateral vessels that supply the myocardium distal to the arterial obstruction so that there is no evidence of myocardial damage or ischemia, even with exercise. When the results of quantitative computer measurements and analyses are included in your case record, we will consider them in interpreting the severity of stenotic lesions.

c. For left ventriculography, the report should describe the wall motion of the myocardium with regard to any areas of hypokinesis (abnormally decreased motion), akinesis (lack of motion), or dyskinesis (distortion of motion), and the overall contraction of the ventricle as measured by the ejection fraction. Measurement of chamber volumes and pressures may be useful. Quantitative computer analysis provides precise measurement of segmental left ventricular wall thickness and motion. There is often a poor correlation between left ventricular function at rest and functional capacity for physical activity.

16. What details should exercise Doppler test reports contain? The reports of exercise Doppler tests must describe the level of exercise; for example, the speed and grade of the treadmill settings, the duration of exercise, symptoms during exercise, and the reasons for stopping exercise if the expected level of exercise was not attained. They must also include the blood pressures at the ankle and other pertinent sites measured after exercise and the time required for the systolic blood pressure to return toward or to the pre-exercise level. The graphic tracings, if available, should also be included with the report. All tracings must be annotated with the standardization used by the testing facility.

17. How must exercise Doppler tests we purchase be performed? When we purchase an exercise Doppler test, you must exercise on a treadmill at 2 mph on a 12 percent grade for up to 5 minutes. The reports must include the information specified in 4.00C16. Because this is an exercise test, we must evaluate whether such testing would put you at significant risk, in accordance with the guidance found in 4.00C6, 4.00C7, and 4.00C8.

D. Evaluating chronic heart failure

1. What is chronic heart failure (CHF)?

a. CHF is the inability of the heart to pump enough oxygenated blood to body tissues. This syndrome is characterized by symptoms and signs of pulmonary or systemic congestion (fluid retention) or limited cardiac output. Certain laboratory findings of cardiac functional and structural abnormality support the diagnosis of CHF. There are two main types of CHF:

(i) Predominant systolic dysfunction (the inability of the heart to contract normally and expel sufficient blood), which is characterized by a dilated, poorly contracting left ventricle and reduced ejection fraction (abbreviated EF, it represents the percentage of the blood in the ventricle actually pumped out with each contraction), and

(ii) Predominant diastolic dysfunction (the inability of the heart to relax and fill normally), which is characterized by a thickened ventricular muscle, poor ability of the left ventricle to distend, increased ventricular filling pressure, and a normal or increased EF.

b. CHF is considered in these listings as a single category whether due to atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries), cardiomyopathy, hypertension, or rheumatic, congenital, or other heart disease. However, if the CHF is the result of primary pulmonary hypertension secondary to disease of the lung (cor pulmonale), we will evaluate your impairment using 3.09, in the respiratory system listings.

2. What evidence of CHF do we need?

a. Cardiomegaly or ventricular dysfunction must be present and demonstrated by appropriate medically acceptable imaging, such as chest x-ray, echocardiography (M-Mode, 2-dimensional, and Doppler), radionuclide studies, or cardiac catheterization.

(i) Abnormal cardiac imaging showing increased left ventricular end diastolic diameter (LVEDD), decreased EF, increased left atrial chamber size, increased ventricular filling pressures measured at cardiac catheterization, or increased left ventricular wall or septum thickness, provides objective measures of both left ventricular function and structural abnormality in heart failure.

(ii) An LVEDD greater than 6.0 cm or an EF of 30 percent or less measured during a period of stability (that is, not during an episode of acute heart failure) may be associated clinically with systolic failure.

(iii) Left ventricular posterior wall thickness added to septal thickness totaling 2.5 cm or greater with left atrium enlarged to 4.5 cm or greater may be associated clinically with diastolic failure.

(iv) However, these measurements alone do not reflect your functional capacity, which we evaluate by considering all of the relevant evidence. In some situations, we may need to purchase an ETT to help us assess your functional capacity.

(v) Other findings on appropriate medically acceptable imaging may include increased pulmonary vascular markings, pleural effusion, and pulmonary edema. These findings need not be present on each report, since CHF may be controlled by prescribed treatment.

b. To establish that you have chronic heart failure, your medical history and physical examination should describe characteristic symptoms and signs of pulmonary or systemic congestion or of limited cardiac output associated with the abnormal findings on appropriate medically acceptable imaging. When an acute episode of heart failure is triggered by a remediable factor, such as an arrhythmia, dietary sodium overload, or high altitude, cardiac function may be restored and a chronic impairment may not be present.

(i) Symptoms of congestion or of limited cardiac output include easy fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath (dyspnea), cough, or chest discomfort at rest or with activity. Individuals with CHF may also experience shortness of breath on lying flat (orthopnea) or episodes of shortness of breath that wake them from sleep (paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea). They may also experience cardiac arrhythmias resulting in palpitations, lightheadedness, or fainting.

(ii) Signs of congestion may include hepatomegaly, ascites, increased jugular venous distention or pressure, rales, peripheral edema, or rapid weight gain. However, these signs need not be found on all examinations because fluid retention may be controlled by prescribed treatment.

3. Is it safe for you to have an ETT, if you have CHF? The presence of CHF is not necessarily a contraindication to an ETT, unless you are having an acute episode of heart failure. Measures of cardiac performance are valuable in helping us evaluate your ability to do work-related activities. Exercise testing has been safely used in individuals with CHF; therefore, we may purchase an ETT for evaluation under 4.02B3 if an MC, preferably one experienced in the care of patients with cardiovascular disease, determines that there is no significant risk to you. (See 4.00C6 for when we will consider the purchase of an ETT. See 4.00C7- 4.00C8 for what we must do before we purchase an ETT and when we will not purchase one.) ST segment changes from digitalis use in the treatment of CHF do not preclude the purchase of an ETT.

4. How do we evaluate CHF using 4.02?

a. We must have objective evidence, as described in 4.00D2, that you have chronic heart failure.

b. To meet the required level of severity for this listing, your impairment must satisfy the requirements of one of the criteria in A and one of the criteria in B.

c. In 4.02B2, the phrase periods of stabilization means that, for at least 2 weeks between episodes of acute heart failure, there must be objective evidence of clearing of the pulmonary edema or pleural effusions and evidence that you returned to, or you were medically considered able to return to, your prior level of activity.

d. Listing 4.02B3c requires a decrease in systolic blood pressure below the baseline level (taken in the standing position immediately prior to exercise) or below any systolic pressure reading recorded during exercise. This is because, normally, systolic blood pressure and heart rate increase gradually with exercise. Decreases in systolic blood pressure below the baseline level that occur during exercise are often associated with ischemia-induced left ventricular dysfunction resulting in decreased cardiac output. However, a blunted response (that is, failure of the systolic blood pressure to rise 10 mm Hg or more), particularly in the first 3 minutes of exercise, may be drug-related and is not necessarily associated with left ventricular dysfunction. Also, some individuals with increased sympathetic responses because of deconditioning or apprehension may increase their systolic blood pressure and heart rate above their baseline level just before and early into exercise. This can be associated with a drop in systolic pressure in early exercise that is not due to left ventricular dysfunction. Therefore, an early decrease in systolic blood pressure must be interpreted within the total context of the test; that is, the presence or absence of symptoms such as lightheadedness, ischemic changes, or arrhythmias on the ECG.

E. Evaluating ischemic heart disease

1. What is ischemic heart disease (IHD)? IHD results when one or more of your coronary arteries is narrowed or obstructed or, in rare situations, constricted due to vasospasm, interfering with the normal flow of blood to your heart muscle (ischemia). The obstruction may be the result of an embolus, a thrombus, or plaque. When heart muscle tissue dies as a result of the reduced blood supply, it is called a myocardial infarction (heart attack).

2. What causes chest discomfort of myocardial origin?

a. Chest discomfort of myocardial ischemic origin, commonly known as angina pectoris, is usually caused by coronary artery disease (often abbreviated CAD). However, ischemic discomfort may be caused by a noncoronary artery impairment, such as aortic stenosis, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, pulmonary hypertension, or anemia.

b. Instead of typical angina pectoris, some individuals with IHD experience atypical angina, anginal equivalent, variant angina, or silent ischemia, all of which we may evaluate using 4.04. We discuss the various manifestations of ischemia in 4.00E3-4.00E7.

3. What are the characteristics of typical angina pectoris? Discomfort of myocardial ischemic origin (angina pectoris) is discomfort that is precipitated by effort or emotion and promptly relieved by rest, sublingual nitroglycerin (that is, nitroglycerin tablets that are placed under the tongue), or other rapidly acting nitrates. Typically, the discomfort is located in the chest (usually substernal) and described as pressing, crushing, squeezing, burning, aching, or oppressive. Sharp, sticking, or cramping discomfort is less common. Discomfort occurring with activity or emotion should be described specifically as to timing and usual inciting factors (type and intensity), character, location, radiation, duration, and response to nitrate treatment or rest.

4. What is atypical angina? Atypical angina describes discomfort or pain from myocardial ischemia that is felt in places other than the chest. The common sites of cardiac pain are the inner aspect of the left arm, neck, jaw(s), upper abdomen, and back, but the discomfort or pain can be elsewhere. When pain of cardiac ischemic origin presents in an atypical site in the absence of chest discomfort, the source of the pain may be difficult to diagnose. To represent atypical angina, your discomfort or pain should have precipitating and relieving factors similar to those of typical chest discomfort, and we must have objective medical evidence of myocardial ischemia; for example, ECG or ETT evidence or appropriate medically acceptable imaging.

5. What is anginal equivalent? Often, individuals with IHD will complain of shortness of breath (dyspnea) on exertion without chest pain or discomfort. In a minority of such situations, the shortness of breath is due to myocardial ischemia; this is called anginal equivalent. To represent anginal equivalent, your shortness of breath should have precipitating and relieving factors similar to those of typical chest discomfort, and we must have objective medical evidence of myocardial ischemia; for example, ECG or ETT evidence or appropriate medically acceptable imaging. In these situations, it is essential to establish objective evidence of myocardial ischemia to ensure that you do not have effort dyspnea due to non-ischemic or non-cardiac causes.

6. What is variant angina?

a. Variant angina (Prinzmetal’s angina, vasospastic angina) refers to the occurrence of anginal episodes at rest, especially at night, accompanied by transitory ST segment elevation (or, at times, ST depression) on an ECG. It is due to severe spasm of a coronary artery, causing ischemia of the heart wall, and is often accompanied by major ventricular arrhythmias, such as ventricular tachycardia. We will consider variant angina under 4.04 only if you have spasm of a coronary artery in relation to an obstructive lesion of the vessel. If you have an arrhythmia as a result of variant angina, we may consider your impairment under 4.05.

b. Variant angina may also occur in the absence of obstructive coronary disease. In this situation, an ETT will not demonstrate ischemia. The diagnosis will be established by showing the typical transitory ST segment changes during attacks of pain, and the absence of obstructive lesions shown by catheterization. Treatment in cases where there is no obstructive coronary disease is limited to medications that reduce coronary vasospasm, such as calcium channel blockers and nitrates. In such situations, we will consider the frequency of anginal episodes despite prescribed treatment when evaluating your residual functional capacity.

c. Vasospasm that is catheter-induced during coronary angiography is not variant angina.

7. What is silent ischemia?

a. Myocardial ischemia, and even myocardial infarction, can occur without perception of pain or any other symptoms; when this happens, we call it silent ischemia. Pain sensitivity may be altered by a variety of diseases, most notably diabetes mellitus and other neuropathic disorders. Individuals also vary in their threshold for pain.

b. Silent ischemia occurs most often in:

(i) Individuals with documented past myocardial infarction or established angina without prior infarction who do not have chest pain on ETT, but have a positive test with ischemic abnormality on ECG, perfusion scan, or other appropriate medically acceptable imaging.

(ii) Individuals with documented past myocardial infarction or angina who have ST segment changes on ambulatory monitoring (Holter monitoring) that are similar to those that occur during episodes of angina. ST depression shown on the ambulatory recording should not be interpreted as positive for ischemia unless similar depression is also seen during chest pain episodes annotated in the diary that the individual keeps while wearing the Holter monitor.

c. ST depression can result from a variety of factors, such as postural changes and variations in cardiac sympathetic tone. In addition, there are differences in how different Holter monitors record the electrical responses. Therefore, we do not consider the Holter monitor reliable for the diagnosis of silent ischemia except in the situation described in 4.00E7b(ii).

8. What other sources of chest discomfort are there? Chest discomfort of nonischemic origin may result from other cardiac impairments, such as pericarditis. Noncardiac impairments may also produce symptoms mimicking that of myocardial ischemia. These impairments include acute anxiety or panic attacks, gastrointestinal tract disorders, such as esophageal spasm, esophagitis, hiatal hernia, biliary tract disease, gastritis, peptic ulcer, and pancreatitis, and musculoskeletal syndromes, such as chest wall muscle spasm, chest wall syndrome (especially after coronary bypass surgery), costochondritis, and cervical or dorsal spine arthritis. Hyperventilation may also mimic ischemic discomfort. Thus, in the absence of documented myocardial ischemia, such disorders should be considered as possible causes of chest discomfort.

9. How do we evaluate IHD using 4.04?

a. We must have objective evidence, as described under 4.00C, that your symptoms are due to myocardial ischemia.

b. Listing-level changes on the ECG in 4.04A1 are the classically accepted changes of horizontal or downsloping ST depression occurring both during exercise and recovery. Although we recognize that ischemic changes may at times occur only during exercise or recovery, and may at times be upsloping with only junctional ST depression, such changes can be false positive; that is, occur in the absence of ischemia. Diagnosis of ischemia in this situation requires radionuclide or echocardiogram confirmation. See 4.00C12 and 4.00C13.

c. Also in 4.04A1, we require that the depression of the ST segment last for at least 1 minute of recovery because ST depression that occurs during exercise but that rapidly normalizes in recovery is a common false-positive response.

d. In 4.04A2, we specify that the ST elevation must be in non-infarct leads during both exercise and recovery. This is because, in the absence of ECG signs of prior infarction, ST elevation during exercise denotes ischemia, usually severe, requiring immediate termination of exercise. However, if there is baseline ST elevation in association with a prior infarction or ventricular aneurysm, further ST elevation during exercise does not necessarily denote ischemia and could be a false-positive ECG response. Diagnosis of ischemia in this situation requires radionuclide or echocardiogram confirmation. See 4.00C12 and 4.00C13.

e. Listing 4.04A3 requires a decrease in systolic blood pressure below the baseline level (taken in the standing position immediately prior to exercise) or below any systolic pressure reading recorded during exercise. This is the same finding required in 4.02B3c. See 4.00D4d for full details.

f. In 4.04B, each of the three ischemic episodes must require revascularization or be not amenable to treatment. Revascularization means angioplasty (with or without stent placement) or bypass surgery. However, reocclusion that occurs after a revascularization procedure but during the same hospitalization and that requires a second procedure during the same hospitalization will not be counted as another ischemic episode. Not amenable means that the revascularization procedure could not be done because of another medical impairment or because the vessel was not suitable for revascularization.

g. We will use 4.04C only when you have symptoms due to myocardial ischemia as described in 4.00E3-4.00E7 while on a regimen of prescribed treatment, you are at risk for exercise testing (see 4.00C8), and we do not have a timely ETT or a timely normal drug-induced stress test for you. See 4.00C9 for what we mean by a timely test.

h. In 4.04C1 the term nonbypassed means that the blockage is in a vessel that is potentially bypassable; that is, large enough to be bypassed and considered to be a cause of your ischemia. These vessels are usually major arteries or one of a major artery’s major branches. A vessel that has become obstructed again after angioplasty or stent placement and has remained obstructed or is not amenable to another revascularization is considered a nonbypassed vessel for purposes of this listing. When you have had revascularization, we will not use the pre-operative findings to assess the current severity of your coronary artery disease under 4.04C, although we will consider the severity and duration of your impairment prior to your surgery in making our determination or decision.

F. Evaluating arrhythmias

1. What is an arrhythmia? An arrhythmia is a change in the regular beat of the heart. Your heart may seem to skip a beat or beat irregularly, very quickly (tachycardia), or very slowly (bradycardia).

2. What are the different types of arrhythmias?

a. There are many types of arrhythmias. Arrhythmias are identified by where they occur in the heart (atria or ventricles) and by what happens to the heart's rhythm when they occur.

b. Arrhythmias arising in the cardiac atria (upper chambers of the heart) are called atrial or supraventricular arrhythmias. Ventricular arrhythmias begin in the ventricles (lower chambers). In general, ventricular arrhythmias caused by heart disease are the most serious.

3. How do we evaluate arrhythmias using 4.05?

a. We will use 4.05 when you have arrhythmias that are not fully controlled by medication, an implanted pacemaker, or an implanted cardiac defibrillator and you have uncontrolled recurrent episodes of syncope or near syncope. If your arrhythmias are controlled, we will evaluate your underlying heart disease using the appropriate listing. For other considerations when we evaluate arrhythmias in the presence of an implanted cardiac defibrillator, see 4.00F4.

b. We consider near syncope to be a period of altered consciousness, since syncope is a loss of consciousness or a faint. It is not merely a feeling of light-headedness, momentary weakness, or dizziness.

c. For purposes of 4.05, there must be a documented association between the syncope or near syncope and the recurrent arrhythmia. The recurrent arrhythmia, not some other cardiac or non-cardiac disorder, must be established as the cause of the associated symptom. This documentation of the association between the symptoms and the arrhythmia may come from the usual diagnostic methods, including Holter monitoring (also called ambulatory electrocardiography) and tilt-table testing with a concurrent ECG. Although an arrhythmia may be a coincidental finding on an ETT, we will not purchase an ETT to document the presence of a cardiac arrhythmia.

4. What will we consider when you have an implanted cardiac defibrillator and you do not have arrhythmias that meet the requirements of 4.05?

a. Implanted cardiac defibrillators are used to prevent sudden cardiac death in individuals who have had, or are at high risk for, cardiac arrest from life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias. The largest group at risk for sudden cardiac death consists of individuals with cardiomyopathy (ischemic or non-ischemic) and reduced ventricular function. However, life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias can also occur in individuals with little or no ventricular dysfunction. The shock from the implanted cardiac defibrillator is a unique form of treatment; it rescues an individual from what may have been cardiac arrest. However, as a consequence of the shock(s), individuals may experience psychological distress, which we may evaluate under the mental disorders listings in 12.00.

b. Most implantable cardiac defibrillators have rhythm-correcting and pacemaker capabilities. In some individuals, these functions may result in the termination of ventricular arrhythmias without an otherwise painful shock. (The shock is like being kicked in the chest.) Implanted cardiac defibrillators may deliver inappropriate shocks, often repeatedly, in response to benign arrhythmias or electrical malfunction. Also, exposure to strong electrical or magnetic fields, such as from MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), can trigger or reprogram an implanted cardiac defibrillator, resulting in inappropriate shocks. We must consider the frequency of, and the reason(s) for, the shocks when evaluating the severity and duration of your impairment.

c. In general, the exercise limitations imposed on individuals with an implanted cardiac defibrillator are those dictated by the underlying heart impairment. However, the exercise limitations may be greater when the implanted cardiac defibrillator delivers an inappropriate shock in response to the increase in heart rate with exercise, or when there is exercise-induced ventricular arrhythmia.

G. Evaluating peripheral vascular disease

1. What is peripheral vascular disease (PVD)? Generally, PVD is any impairment that affects either the arteries (peripheral arterial disease) or the veins (venous insufficiency) in the extremities, particularly the lower extremities. The usual effect is blockage of the flow of blood either from the heart (arterial) or back to the heart (venous). If you have peripheral arterial disease, you may have pain in your calf after walking a distance that goes away when you rest (intermittent claudication); at more advanced stages, you may have pain in your calf at rest or you may develop ulceration or gangrene. If you have venous insufficiency, you may have swelling, varicose veins, skin pigmentation changes, or skin ulceration.

2. How do we assess limitations resulting from PVD? We will assess your limitations based on your symptoms together with physical findings, Doppler studies, other appropriate non-invasive studies, or angiographic findings. However, if the PVD has resulted in amputation, we will evaluate any limitations related to the amputation under the musculoskeletal listings, 1.00.

3. What is brawny edema? Brawny edema (4.11A) is swelling that is usually dense and feels firm due to the presence of increased connective tissue; it is also associated with characteristic skin pigmentation changes. It is not the same thing as pitting edema. Brawny edema generally does not pit (indent on pressure), and the terms are not interchangeable. Pitting edema does not satisfy the requirements of 4.11A.

4. What is lymphedema and how will we evaluate it?

a. Lymphedema is edema of the extremities due to a disorder of the lymphatic circulation; at its worst, it is called elephantiasis. Primary lymphedema is caused by abnormal development of lymph vessels and may be present at birth (congenital lymphedema), but more often develops during the teens (lymphedema praecox). It may also appear later, usually after age 35 (lymphedema tarda). Secondary lymphedema is due to obstruction or destruction of normal lymphatic channels due to tumor, surgery, repeated infections, or parasitic infection such as filariasis. Lymphedema most commonly affects one extremity.

b. Lymphedema does not meet the requirements of 4.11, although it may medically equal the severity of that listing. We will evaluate lymphedema by considering whether the underlying cause meets or medically equals any listing or whether the lymphedema medically equals a cardiovascular listing, such as 4.11, or a musculoskeletal disorders listing, such as 1.18 . If no listing is met or medically equaled, we will evaluate any functional limitations imposed by your lymphedema when we assess your residual functional capacity.

5. When will we purchase exercise Doppler studies for evaluating peripheral arterial disease (PAD)? If we need additional evidence of your PAD, we will generally purchase exercise Doppler studies (see 4.00C16 and 4.00C17) when your resting ankle/brachial systolic blood pressure ratio is at least 0.50 but less than 0.80, and only rarely when it is 0.80 or above. We will not purchase exercise Doppler testing if you have a disease that results in abnormal arterial calcification or small vessel disease, but will use your resting toe systolic blood pressure or resting toe/brachial systolic blood pressure ratio. (See 4.00G7c and 4.00G8.) There are no current medical standards for evaluating exercise toe pressures. Because any exercise test stresses your entire cardiovascular system, we will purchase exercise Doppler studies only after an MC, preferably one with experience in the care of patients with cardiovascular disease, has determined that the test would not present a significant risk to you and that there is no other medical reason not to purchase the test (see 4.00C6, 4.00C7, and 4.00C8).

6. Are there any other studies that are helpful in evaluating PAD? Doppler studies done using a recording ultrasonic Doppler unit and strain-gauge plethysmography are other useful tools for evaluating PAD. A recording Doppler, which prints a tracing of the arterial pulse wave in the femoral, popliteal, dorsalis pedis, and posterior tibial arteries, is an excellent evaluation tool to compare wave forms in normal and compromised peripheral blood flow. Qualitative analysis of the pulse wave is very helpful in the overall assessment of the severity of the occlusive disease. Tracings are especially helpful in assessing severity if you have small vessel disease related to diabetes mellitus or other diseases with similar vascular changes, or diseases causing medial calcifications when ankle pressure is either normal or falsely high.

7. How do we evaluate PAD under 4.12?

a. The ankle blood pressure referred to in 4.12A and B is the higher of the pressures recorded from the posterior tibial and dorsalis pedis arteries in the affected leg. The higher pressure recorded from the two sites is the more significant measurement in assessing the extent of arterial insufficiency. Techniques for obtaining ankle systolic blood pressures include Doppler (See 4.00C16 and 4.00C17), plethysmographic studies, or other techniques. We will request any available tracings generated by these studies so that we can review them.

b. In 4.12A, the ankle/brachial systolic blood pressure ratio is the ratio of the systolic blood pressure at the ankle to the systolic blood pressure at the brachial artery; both taken at the same time while you are lying on your back. We do not require that the ankle and brachial pressures be taken on the same side of your body. This is because, as with the ankle pressure, we will use the higher brachial systolic pressure measured. Listing 4.12A is met when your resting ankle/brachial systolic blood pressure ratio is less than 0.50. If your resting ankle/brachial systolic blood pressure ratio is 0.50 or above, we will use 4.12B to evaluate the severity of your PAD, unless you also have a disease causing abnormal arterial calcification or small vessel disease, such as diabetes mellitus. See 4.00G7c and 4.00G8.

c. We will use resting toe systolic blood pressures or resting toe/brachial systolic blood pressure ratios (determined the same way as ankle/brachial ratios, see 4.00G7b) when you have intermittent claudication and a disease that results in abnormal arterial calcification (for example, Monckeberg’s sclerosis or diabetes mellitus) or small vessel disease (for example, diabetes mellitus). These diseases may result in misleadingly high blood pressure readings at the ankle. However, high blood pressures due to vascular changes related to these diseases seldom occur at the toe level. While the criteria in 4.12C and 4.12D are intended primarily for individuals who have a disease causing abnormal arterial calcification or small vessel disease, we may also use them for evaluating anyone with PAD.

8. How are toe pressures measured? Toe pressures are measured routinely in most vascular laboratories through one of three methods: most frequently, photoplethysmography; less frequently, plethysmography using strain gauge cuffs; and Doppler ultrasound. Toe pressure can also be measured by using any blood pressure cuff that fits snugly around the big toe and is neither too tight nor too loose. A neonatal cuff or a cuff designed for use on fingers or toes can be used in the measurement of toe pressure.

9. How do we use listing 4.12 if you have had a peripheral graft? Peripheral grafting serves the same purpose as coronary grafting; that is, to bypass a narrow or obstructed arterial segment. If intermittent claudication recurs or persists after peripheral grafting, we may purchase Doppler studies to assess the flow of blood through the bypassed vessel and to establish the current severity of the peripheral arterial impairment. However, if you have had peripheral grafting done for your PAD, we will not use the findings from before the surgery to assess the current severity of your impairment, although we will consider the severity and duration of your impairment prior to your surgery in making our determination or decision.

H. Evaluating other cardiovascular impairments

1. How will we evaluate hypertension? Because hypertension (high blood pressure) generally causes disability through its effects on other body systems, we will evaluate it by reference to the specific body system(s) affected (heart, brain, kidneys, or eyes) when we consider its effects under the listings. We will also consider any limitations imposed by your hypertension when we assess your residual functional capacity.

2. How will we evaluate symptomatic congenital heart disease? Congenital heart disease is any abnormality of the heart or the major blood vessels that is present at birth. Because of improved treatment methods, more children with congenital heart disease are living to adulthood. Although some types of congenital heart disease may be corrected by surgery, many individuals with treated congenital heart disease continue to have problems throughout their lives (symptomatic congenital heart disease). If you have congenital heart disease that results in chronic heart failure with evidence of ventricular dysfunction or in recurrent arrhythmias, we will evaluate your impairment under 4.02 or 4.05. Otherwise, we will evaluate your impairment under 4.06.

3. What is cardiomyopathy and how will we evaluate it? Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle. The heart loses its ability to pump blood (heart failure), and in some instances, heart rhythm is disturbed, leading to irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias). Usually, the exact cause of the muscle damage is never found (idiopathic cardiomyopathy). There are various types of cardiomyopathy, which fall into two major categories: Ischemic and nonischemic cardiomyopathy. Ischemic cardiomyopathy typically refers to heart muscle damage that results from coronary artery disease, including heart attacks. Nonischemic cardiomyopathy includes several types: Dilated, hypertrophic, and restrictive. We will evaluate cardiomyopathy under 4.02, 4.04, 4.05, or 11.04, depending on its effects on you.

4. How will we evaluate valvular heart disease? We will evaluate valvular heart disease under the listing appropriate for its effect on you. Thus, we may use 4.02, 4.04, 4.05, 4.06, or an appropriate neurological listing in 11.00.

5. What do we consider when we evaluate heart transplant recipients?

a. After your heart transplant, we will consider you disabled for 1 year following the surgery because there is a greater likelihood of rejection of the organ and infection during the first year.

b. However, heart transplant patients generally meet our definition of disability before they undergo transplantation. We will determine the onset of your disability based on the facts in your case.

c. We will not assume that you became disabled when your name was placed on a transplant waiting list. This is because you may be placed on a waiting list soon after diagnosis of the cardiac disorder that may eventually require a transplant. Physicians recognize that candidates for transplantation often have to wait months or even years before a suitable donor heart is found, so they place their patients on the list as soon as permitted.

d. When we do a continuing disability review to determine whether you are still disabled, we will evaluate your residual impairment(s), as shown by symptoms, signs, and laboratory findings, including any side effects of medication. We will consider any remaining symptoms, signs, and laboratory findings indicative of cardiac dysfunction in deciding whether medical improvement (as defined in §§ 404.1594 and 416.994) has occurred.

6. When does an aneurysm have “dissection not controlled by prescribed treatment,” as required under 4.10? An aneurysm (or bulge in the aorta or one of its major branches) is dissecting when the inner lining of the artery begins to separate from the arterial wall. We consider the dissection not controlled when you have persistence of chest pain due to progression of the dissection, an increase in the size of the aneurysm, or compression of one or more branches of the aorta supplying the heart, kidneys, brain, or other organs. An aneurysm with dissection can cause heart failure, renal (kidney) failure, or neurological complications. If you have an aneurysm that does not meet the requirements of 4.10 and you have one or more of these associated conditions, we will evaluate the condition(s) using the appropriate listing.

7. What is hyperlipidemia and how will we evaluate it? Hyperlipidemia is the general term for an elevation of any or all of the lipids (fats or cholesterol) in the blood; for example, hypertriglyceridemia, hypercholesterolemia, and hyperlipoproteinemia. These disorders of lipoprotein metabolism and transport can cause defects throughout the body. The effects most likely to interfere with function are those produced by atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries) and coronary artery disease. We will evaluate your lipoprotein disorder by considering its effects on you.

8. What is Marfan syndrome and how will we evaluate it?

a. Marfan syndrome is a genetic connective tissue disorder that affects multiple body systems, including the skeleton, eyes, heart, blood vessels, nervous system, skin, and lungs. There is no specific laboratory test to diagnose Marfan syndrome. The diagnosis is generally made by medical history, including family history, physical examination, including an evaluation of the ratio of arm/leg size to trunk size, a slit lamp eye examination, and a heart test(s), such as an echocardiogram. In some cases, a genetic analysis may be useful, but such analyses may not provide any additional helpful information.

b. The effects of Marfan syndrome can range from mild to severe. In most cases, the disorder progresses as you age. Most individuals with Marfan syndrome have abnormalities associated with the heart and blood vessels. Your heart’s mitral valve may leak, causing a heart murmur. Small leaks may not cause symptoms, but larger ones may cause shortness of breath, fatigue, and palpitations. Another effect is that the wall of the aorta may be weakened and abnormally stretch (aortic dilation). This aortic dilation may tear, dissect, or rupture, causing serious heart problems or sometimes sudden death. We will evaluate the manifestations of your Marfan syndrome under the appropriate body system criteria, such as 4.10, or if necessary, consider the functional limitations imposed by your impairment.

I. Other evaluation issues

1. What effect does obesity have on the cardiovascular system and how will we evaluate it? Obesity is a medically determinable impairment that is often associated with disorders of the cardiovascular system. Disturbance of this system can be a major cause of disability if you have obesity. Obesity may affect the cardiovascular system because of the increased workload the additional body mass places on the heart. Obesity may make it harder for the chest and lungs to expand. This can mean that the respiratory system must work harder to provide needed oxygen. This in turn would make the heart work harder to pump blood to carry oxygen to the body. Because the body would be working harder at rest, its ability to perform additional work would be less than would otherwise be expected. Thus, the combined effects of obesity with cardiovascular impairments can be greater than the effects of each of the impairments considered separately. We must consider any additional and cumulative effects of obesity when we determine whether you have a severe cardiovascular impairment or a listing-level cardiovascular impairment (or a combination of impairments that medically equals the severity of a listed impairment), and when we assess your residual functional capacity.

2. How do we relate treatment to functional status? In general, conclusions about the severity of a cardiovascular impairment cannot be made on the basis of type of treatment rendered or anticipated. The amount of function restored and the time required for improvement after treatment (medical, surgical, or a prescribed program of progressive physical activity) vary with the nature and extent of the disorder, the type of treatment, and other factors. Depending upon the timing of this treatment in relation to the alleged onset date of disability, we may need to defer evaluation of the impairment for a period of up to 3 months from the date treatment began to permit consideration of treatment effects, unless we can make a determination or decision using the evidence we have. See 4.00B4.

3. How do we evaluate impairments that do not meet one of the cardiovascular listings?

a. These listings are only examples of common cardiovascular impairments that we consider severe enough to prevent you from doing any gainful activity. If your severe impairment(s) does not meet the criteria of any of these listings, we must also consider whether you have an impairment(s) that satisfies the criteria of a listing in another body system.

b. If you have a severe medically determinable impairment(s) that does not meet a listing, we will determine whether your impairments(s) medically equals a listing. (See §§404.1526 and 416.926.) If you have a severe impairment(s) that does not meet or medically equal the criteria of a listing, you may or may not have the residual functional capacity to engage in substantial gainful activity. Therefore, we proceed to the fourth and, if necessary, the fifth steps of the sequential evaluation process in §§404.1520 and 416.920. If you are an adult, we use the rules in §§404.1594 or 416.994, as appropriate, when we decide whether you continue to be disabled.

4.01 Category of Impairments, Cardiovascular System

4.02 Chronic heart failure while on a regimen of prescribed treatment, with symptoms and signs described in 4.00D2. The required level of severity for this impairment is met when the requirements in both A and B are satisfied.

A. Medically documented presence of one of the following:

1. Systolic failure (see 4.00D1a(i)), with left ventricular end diastolic dimensions greater than 6.0 cm or ejection fraction of 30 percent or less during a period of stability (not during an episode of acute heart failure); or

2. Diastolic failure (see 4.00D1a(ii)), with left ventricular posterior wall plus septal thickness totaling 2.5 cm or greater on imaging, with an enlarged left atrium greater than or equal to 4.5 cm, with normal or elevated ejection fraction during a period of stability (not during an episode of acute heart failure);

AND

B. Resulting in one of the following:

1. Persistent symptoms of heart failure which very seriously limit the ability to independently initiate, sustain, or complete activities of daily living in an individual for whom an MC, preferably one experienced in the care of patients with cardiovascular disease, has concluded that the performance of an exercise test would present a significant risk to the individual; or

2. Three or more separate episodes of acute congestive heart failure within a consecutive 12-month period (see 4.00A3e), with evidence of fluid retention (see 4.00D2b(ii)) from clinical and imaging assessments at the time of the episodes, requiring acute extended physician intervention such as hospitalization or emergency room treatment for 12 hours or more, separated by periods of stabilization (see 4.00D4c); or

3. Inability to perform on an exercise tolerance test at a workload equivalent to 5 METs or less due to:

a. Dyspnea, fatigue, palpitations, or chest discomfort; or

b. Three or more consecutive premature ventricular contractions (ventricular tachycardia), or increasing frequency of ventricular ectopy with at least 6 premature ventricular contractions per minute; or

c. Decrease of 10 mm Hg or more in systolic pressure below the baseline systolic blood pressure or the preceding systolic pressure measured during exercise (see 4.00D4d) due to left ventricular dysfunction, despite an increase in workload; or

d. Signs attributable to inadequate cerebral perfusion, such as ataxic gait or mental confusion.

4.04 Ischemic heart disease, with symptoms due to myocardial ischemia, as described in 4.00E3-4.00E7, while on a regimen of prescribed treatment (see 4.00B3 if there is no regimen of prescribed treatment), with one of the following:

A. Sign- or symptom-limited exercise tolerance test demonstrating at least one of the following manifestations at a workload equivalent to 5 METs or less:

1. Horizontal or downsloping depression, in the absence of digitalis glycoside treatment or hypokalemia, of the ST segment of at least -0.10 millivolts (-1.0 mm) in at least 3 consecutive complexes that are on a level baseline in any lead other than aVR, and depression of at least -0.10 millivolts lasting for at least 1 minute of recovery; or

2. At least 0.1 millivolt (1 mm) ST elevation above resting baseline in non-infarct leads during both exercise and 1 or more minutes of recovery; or

3. Decrease of 10 mm Hg or more in systolic pressure below the baseline blood pressure or the preceding systolic pressure measured during exercise (see 4.00E9e) due to left ventricular dysfunction, despite an increase in workload; or

4. Documented ischemia at an exercise level equivalent to 5 METs or less on appropriate medically acceptable imaging, such as radionuclide perfusion scans or stress echocardiography.

OR

B. Three separate ischemic episodes, each requiring revascularization or not amenable to revascularization (see 4.00E9f), within a consecutive 12-month period (see 4.00A3e).

OR

C. Coronary artery disease, demonstrated by angiography (obtained independent of Social Security disability evaluation) or other appropriate medically acceptable imaging, and in the absence of a timely exercise tolerance test or a timely normal drug-induced stress test, an MC, preferably one experienced in the care of patients with cardiovascular disease, has concluded that performance of exercise tolerance testing would present a significant risk to the individual, with both 1 and 2:

1. Angiographic evidence showing:

a. 50 percent or more narrowing of a nonbypassed left main coronary artery; or

b. 70 percent or more narrowing of another nonbypassed coronary artery; or

c. 50 percent or more narrowing involving a long (greater than 1 cm) segment of a nonbypassed coronary artery; or

d. 50 percent or more narrowing of at least two nonbypassed coronary arteries; or

e. 70 percent or more narrowing of a bypass graft vessel; and

2. Resulting in very serious limitations in the ability to independently initiate, sustain, or complete activities of daily living.

4.05 Recurrent arrhythmias, not related to reversible causes, such as electrolyte abnormalities or digitalis glycoside or antiarrhythmic drug toxicity, resulting in uncontrolled (see 4.00A3f), recurrent (see 4.00A3c) episodes of cardiac syncope or near syncope (see 4.00F3b), despite prescribed treatment (see 4.00B3 if there is no prescribed treatment), and documented by resting or ambulatory (Holter) electrocardiography, or by other appropriate medically acceptable testing, coincident with the occurrence of syncope or near syncope (see 4.00F3c).

4.06 Symptomatic congenital heart disease (cyanotic or acyanotic), documented by appropriate medically acceptable imaging (see 4.00A3d) or cardiac catheterization, with one of the following:

A. Cyanosis at rest, and:

1. Hematocrit of 55 percent or greater; or

2. Arterial O2 saturation of less than 90 percent in room air, or resting arterial PO2 of 60 Torr or less.

OR

B. Intermittent right-to-left shunting resulting in cyanosis on exertion (e.g., Eisenmenger's physiology) and with arterial PO2 of 60 Torr or less at a workload equivalent to 5 METs or less.

OR

C. Secondary pulmonary vascular obstructive disease with pulmonary arterial systolic pressure elevated to at least 70 percent of the systemic arterial systolic pressure.

4.09 Heart transplant. Consider under a disability for 1 year following surgery; thereafter, evaluate residual impairment under the appropriate listing.

4.10 Aneurysm of aorta or major branches, due to any cause (e.g., atherosclerosis, cystic medial necrosis, Marfan syndrome, trauma), demonstrated by appropriate medically acceptable imaging, with dissection not controlled by prescribed treatment (see 4.00H6).

4.11 Chronic venous insufficiency of a lower extremity with incompetency or obstruction of the deep venous system and one of the following:

A. Extensive brawny edema (see 4.00G3) involving at least two-thirds of the leg between the ankle and knee or the distal one-third of the lower extremity between the ankle and hip.

OR

B. Superficial varicosities, stasis dermatitis, and either recurrent ulceration or persistent ulceration that has not healed following at least 3 months of prescribed treatment.

4.12 Peripheral arterial disease, as determined by appropriate medically acceptable imaging (see 4.00A3d, 4.00G2, 4.00G5, and 4.00G6), causing intermittent claudication (see 4.00G1) and one of the following:

A. Resting ankle/brachial systolic blood pressure ratio of less than 0.50.

OR

B. Decrease in systolic blood pressure at the ankle on exercise (see 4.00G7a and 4.00C16-4.00C17) of 50 percent or more of pre-exercise level and requiring 10 minutes or more to return to pre-exercise level.

OR

C. Resting toe systolic pressure of less than 30 mm Hg (see 4.00G7c and 4.00G8).

OR

D. Resting toe/brachial systolic blood pressure ratio of less than 0.40 (see 4.00G7c).

DI 34001.036 Immune System Disorders

14.00 Immune System (Effective Date 01/17/2017)

A. What disorders do we evaluate under the immune system disorders listings?

1. We evaluate immune system disorders that cause dysfunction in one or more components of your immune system.

a. The dysfunction may be due to problems in antibody production, impaired cell-mediated immunity, a combined type of antibody/cellular deficiency, impaired phagocytosis, or complement deficiency.

b. Immune system disorders may result in recurrent and unusual infections, or inflammation and dysfunction of the body's own tissues. Immune system disorders can cause a deficit in a single organ or body system that results in extreme (that is, very serious) loss of function. They can also cause lesser degrees of limitations in two or more organs or body systems, and when associated with symptoms or signs, such as severe fatigue, fever, malaise, diffuse musculoskeletal pain, or involuntary weight loss, can also result in extreme limitation.

c. We organize the discussions of immune system disorders in three categories: Autoimmune disorders; Immune deficiency disorders, excluding human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection; and HIV infection.

2. Autoimmune disorders (14.00D). Autoimmune disorders are caused by dysfunctional immune responses directed against the body's own tissues, resulting in chronic, multisystem impairments that differ in clinical manifestations, course, and outcome. They are sometimes referred to as rheumatic diseases, connective tissue disorders, or collagen vascular disorders. Some of the features of autoimmune disorders in adults differ from the features of the same disorders in children.

3. Immune deficiency disorders, excluding HIV infection (14.00E). Immune deficiency disorders are characterized by recurrent or unusual infections that respond poorly to treatment, and are often associated with complications affecting other parts of the body. Immune deficiency disorders are classified as either primary (congenital) or acquired. Individuals with immune deficiency disorders also have an increased risk of malignancies and of having autoimmune disorders.

4. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection (14.00F). HIV infection may be characterized by increased susceptibility to common infections as well as opportunistic infections, cancers, or other conditions listed in 14.11.

B. What information do we need to show that you have an immune system disorder? Generally, we need your medical history, a report(s) of a physical examination, a report(s) of laboratory findings, and in some instances, appropriate medically acceptable imaging or tissue biopsy reports to show that you have an immune system disorder. Therefore, we will make every reasonable effort to obtain your medical history, medical findings, and results of laboratory tests. We explain the information we need in more detail in the sections below.

C. Definitions

1. Appropriate medically acceptable imaging includes, but is not limited to, angiography, x-ray imaging, computerized axial tomography (CAT scan) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), with or without contrast material, myelography, and radionuclear bone scans. “Appropriate” means that the technique used is the proper one to support the evaluation and diagnosis of the impairment.

2. Constitutional symptoms or signs, as used in these listings, means severe fatigue, fever, malaise, or involuntary weight loss. Severe fatigue means a frequent sense of exhaustion that results in significantly reduced physical activity or mental function. Malaise means frequent feelings of illness, bodily discomfort, or lack of well-being that result in significantly reduced physical activity or mental function.

3. Disseminated means that a condition is spread over a considerable area. The type and extent of the spread will depend on your specific disease.

4. Dysfunction means that one or more of the body regulatory mechanisms are impaired, causing either an excess or deficiency of immunocompetent cells or their products.

5. Extra-articular means “other than the joints”; for example, an organ(s) such as the heart, lungs, kidneys, or skin.

6. Documented medical need has the same meaning as in 1.00C6a .

7. Fine and gross movements has the same meaning as in 1.00E4 .

8. Major joint of an upper or a lower extremity has the same meaning as in 1.00I2 and 1.00I3 .

9. Persistent means that a sign(s) or symptom(s) has continued over time. The precise meaning will depend on the specific immune system disorder, the usual course of the disorder, and the other circumstances of your clinical course.

10. Recurrent means that a condition that previously responded adequately to an appropriate course of treatment returns after a period of remission or regression. The precise meaning, such as the extent of response or remission and the time periods involved, will depend on the specific disease or condition you have, the body system affected, the usual course of the disorder and its treatment, and the other facts of your particular case.

11. Resistant to treatment means that a condition did not respond adequately to an appropriate course of treatment. Whether a response is adequate or a course of treatment is appropriate will depend on the specific disease or condition you have, the body system affected, the usual course of the disorder and its treatment, and the other facts of your particular case.

12. Severe means medical severity as used by the medical community. The term does not have the same meaning as it does when we use it in connection with a finding at the second step of the sequential evaluation process in §§ 404.1520 and 416.920 of this chapter.

D. How do we document and evaluate the listed autoimmune disorders?

1. Systemic lupus erythematosus (14.02).

a. General. Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic inflammatory disease that can affect any organ or body system. It is frequently, but not always, accompanied by constitutional symptoms or signs (severe fatigue, fever, malaise, involuntary weight loss). Major organ or body system involvement can include: Respiratory (pleuritis, pneumonitis), cardiovascular (endocarditis, myocarditis, pericarditis, vasculitis), renal (glomerulonephritis), hematologic (anemia, leukopenia, thrombocytopenia), skin (photosensitivity), neurologic (seizures), mental (anxiety, fluctuating cognition (“lupus fog”), mood disorders, organic brain syndrome, psychosis), or immune system disorders (inflammatory arthritis). Immunologically, there is an array of circulating serum auto-antibodies and pro- and anti-coagulant proteins that may occur in a highly variable pattern.

b. Documentation of SLE. Generally, but not always, the medical evidence will show that your SLE satisfies the criteria in the current “Criteria for the Classification of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus” by the American College of Rheumatology found in the most recent edition of the “Primer on the Rheumatic Diseases” published by the Arthritis Foundation.

2. Systemic vasculitis (14.03).

a. General.

(i) Vasculitis is an inflammation of blood vessels. It may occur acutely in association with adverse drug reactions, certain chronic infections, and occasionally, malignancies. More often, it is chronic and the cause is unknown. Symptoms vary depending on which blood vessels are involved. Systemic vasculitis may also be associated with other autoimmune disorders; for example, SLE or dermatomyositis.

(ii) There are several clinical patterns, including but not limited to polyarteritis nodosa, Takayasu's arteritis (aortic arch arteritis), giant cell arteritis (temporal arteritis), and Wegener's granulomatosis.

b. Documentation of systemic vasculitis. Angiography or tissue biopsy confirms a diagnosis of systemic vasculitis when the disease is suspected clinically. When you have had angiography or tissue biopsy for systemic vasculitis, we will make every reasonable effort to obtain reports of the results of that procedure. However, we will not purchase angiography or tissue biopsy.

3. Systemic sclerosis (scleroderma) (14.04).

a. General. Systemic sclerosis (scleroderma) constitutes a spectrum of disease in which thickening of the skin is the clinical hallmark. Raynaud's phenomenon, often medically severe and progressive, is present frequently and may be the peripheral manifestation of a vasospastic abnormality in the heart, lungs, and kidneys. The CREST syndrome (calcinosis, Raynaud's phenomenon, esophageal dysmotility, sclerodactyly, and telangiectasia) is a variant that may slowly progress over years to the generalized process, systemic sclerosis.

b. Diffuse cutaneous systemic sclerosis. In diffuse cutaneous systemic sclerosis (also known as diffuse scleroderma), major organ or systemic involvement can include the gastrointestinal tract, lungs, heart, kidneys, and muscle in addition to skin or blood vessels. Although arthritis can occur, joint dysfunction results primarily from soft tissue/cutaneous thickening, fibrosis, and contractures.

c. Localized scleroderma (linear scleroderma and morphea).

(i) Localized scleroderma (linear scleroderma and morphea) is more common in children than in adults. However, this type of scleroderma can persist into adulthood. To assess the severity of the impairment, we need a description of the extent of involvement of linear scleroderma and the location of the lesions. For example, linear scleroderma involving the arm but not crossing any joints is not as functionally limiting as sclerodactyly (scleroderma localized to the fingers). Linear scleroderma of a lower extremity involving skin thickening and atrophy of underlying muscle or bone can result in contractures and leg length discrepancy. In such cases, we may evaluate your impairment under the musculoskeletal listings (1.00).

(ii) When there is isolated morphea of the face causing facial disfigurement from unilateral hypoplasia of the mandible, maxilla, zygoma, or orbit, adjudication may be more appropriate under the criteria in the affected body system, such as special senses and speech (2.00) or mental disorders (12.00).

(iii) Chronic variants of these syndromes include disseminated morphea, Shulman's disease (diffuse fasciitis with eosinophilia), and eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome (often associated with toxins such as toxic oil or contaminated tryptophan), all of which can impose medically severe musculoskeletal dysfunction and may also lead to restrictive pulmonary disease. We evaluate these variants of the disease under the criteria in the musculoskeletal listings (1.00) or respiratory system listings (3.00).

d. Documentation of systemic sclerosis (scleroderma). Documentation involves differentiating the clinical features of systemic sclerosis (scleroderma) from other autoimmune disorders. However, there may be an overlap.

4. Polymyositis and dermatomyositis (14.05).

a. General. Polymyositis and dermatomyositis are related disorders that are characterized by an inflammatory process in striated muscle, occurring alone or in association with other autoimmune disorders or malignancy. The most common manifestations are symmetric weakness, and less frequently, pain and tenderness of the proximal limb-girdle (shoulder or pelvic) musculature. There may also be involvement of the cervical, cricopharyngeal, esophageal, intercostal, and diaphragmatic muscles.

b. Documentation of polymyositis and dermatomyositis. Generally, but not always, polymyositis is associated with elevated serum muscle enzymes (creatine phosphokinase (CPK), aminotransferases, and aldolase), and characteristic abnormalities on electromyography and muscle biopsy. In dermatomyositis there are characteristic skin findings in addition to the findings of polymyositis. When you have had electromyography or muscle biopsy for polymyositis or dermatomyositis, we will make every reasonable effort to obtain reports of the results of that procedure. However, we will not purchase electromyography or muscle biopsy.

c. Additional information about how we evaluate polymyositis and dermatomyositis under the listings.

(i) Weakness of your pelvic girdle muscles that results in your inability to rise independently from a squatting or sitting position or to climb stairs may be an indication that you are unable to walk without assistance. Weakness of your shoulder girdle muscles may result in your inability to perform lifting, carrying, and reaching overhead, and also may seriously affect your ability to perform activities requiring fine movements. We evaluate these limitations under 14.05A.

(ii) We use the malignant neoplastic diseases listings (13.00) to evaluate malignancies associated with polymyositis or dermatomyositis. We evaluate the involvement of other organs/body systems under the criteria for the listings in the affected body system.

5. Undifferentiated and mixed connective tissue disease (14.06).

a. General. This listing includes syndromes with clinical and immunologic features of several autoimmune disorders, but which do not satisfy the criteria for any of the specific disorders described. For example, you may have clinical features of SLE and systemic vasculitis, and the serologic (blood test) findings of rheumatoid arthritis.

b. Documentation of undifferentiated and mixed connective tissue disease. Undifferentiated connective tissue disease is diagnosed when clinical features and serologic (blood test) findings, such as rheumatoid factor or antinuclear antibody (consistent with an autoimmune disorder) are present but do not satisfy the criteria for a specific disease. Mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD) is diagnosed when clinical features and serologic findings of two or more autoimmune diseases overlap.

6. Inflammatory arthritis (14.09).

a. General. The spectrum of inflammatory arthritis includes a vast array of disorders that differ in cause, course, and outcome. Clinically, inflammation of major joints in an upper or a lower extremity may be the dominant manifestation causing difficulties with walking or fine and gross movements; there may be joint pain, swelling, and tenderness. The arthritis may affect other joints, or cause less limitation in walking or fine and gross movements. However, in combination with extra-articular features, including constitutional symptoms or signs (severe fatigue, fever, malaise, and involuntary weight loss), inflammatory arthritis may result in an extreme limitation.

b. Inflammatory arthritis involving the axial spine (spondyloarthropathy). In adults, inflammatory arthritis involving the axial spine may be associated with disorders such as:

(i) Reiter's syndrome;

(ii) Ankylosing spondylitis;

(iii) Psoriatic arthritis;

(iv) Whipple's disease;

(v) Behçet's disease; and

(vi) Inflammatory bowel disease.

c. Inflammatory arthritis involving the peripheral joints. In adults, inflammatory arthritis involving peripheral joints may be associated with disorders such as:

(i) Rheumatoid arthritis;

(ii) Sjögren's syndrome;

(iii) Psoriatic arthritis;

(iv) Crystal deposition disorders (gout and pseudogout);

(v) Lyme disease; and

(vi) Inflammatory bowel disease.

d. Documentation of inflammatory arthritis. Generally, but not always, the diagnosis of inflammatory arthritis is based on the clinical features and serologic findings described in the most recent edition of the “Primer on the Rheumatic Diseases” published by the Arthritis Foundation.

e. How we evaluate inflammatory arthritis under the listings.

(i) Listing-level severity in 14.09A and 14.09C1 is shown by the presence of an impairment-related physical limitation of functioning. In 14.09C1, if you have the required ankylosis (fixation) of your cervical or dorsolumbar spine, we will find that you have a listing-level impairment-related physical limitation in your ability to see in front of you, above you, and to the side, even though you might not require bilateral upper limb assistance.

(ii) Listing-level severity in 14.09B, 14.09C2, and 14.09D is shown by inflammatory arthritis that involves various combinations of complications (such as inflammation or deformity, extra-articular features, repeated manifestations, and constitutional symptoms and signs) of one or more major joints in an upper or a lower extremity (see 14.00C8) or other joints. Extra-articular impairments may also meet listings in other body systems.

(iii) Extra-articular features of inflammatory arthritis may involve any body system; for example: Musculoskeletal (heel enthesopathy), ophthalmologic (iridocyclitis, keratoconjunctivitis sicca, uveitis), pulmonary (pleuritis, pulmonary fibrosis or nodules, restrictive lung disease), cardiovascular (aortic valve insufficiency, arrhythmias, coronary arteritis, myocarditis, pericarditis, Raynaud's phenomenon, systemic vasculitis), renal (amyloidosis of the kidney), hematologic (chronic anemia, thrombocytopenia), neurologic (peripheral neuropathy, radiculopathy, spinal cord or cauda equina compression with sensory and motor loss), mental (cognitive dysfunction, poor memory), and immune system (Felty's syndrome (hypersplenism with compromised immune competence)).

(iv) If both inflammation and chronic deformities are present, we evaluate your impairment under the criteria of any appropriate listing.

7. Sjögren's syndrome (14.10).

a. General.

(i) Sjögren's syndrome is an immune-mediated disorder of the exocrine glands. Involvement of the lacrimal and salivary glands is the hallmark feature, resulting in symptoms of dry eyes and dry mouth, and possible complications, such as corneal damage, blepharitis (eyelid inflammation), dysphagia (difficulty in swallowing), dental caries, and the inability to speak for extended periods of time. Involvement of the exocrine glands of the upper airways may result in persistent dry cough.

(ii) Many other organ systems may be involved, including musculoskeletal (arthritis, myositis), respiratory (interstitial fibrosis), gastrointestinal (dysmotility, dysphagia, involuntary weight loss), genitourinary (interstitial cystitis, renal tubular acidosis), skin (purpura, vasculitis), neurologic (central nervous system disorders, cranial and peripheral neuropathies), mental (cognitive dysfunction, poor memory), and neoplastic (lymphoma). Severe fatigue and malaise are frequently reported. Sjögren's syndrome may be associated with other autoimmune disorders (for example, rheumatoid arthritis or SLE); usually the clinical features of the associated disorder predominate.

b. Documentation of Sjögren's syndrome. If you have Sjögren's syndrome, the medical evidence will generally, but not always, show that your disease satisfies the criteria in the current “Criteria for the Classification of Sjögren's Syndrome” by the American College of Rheumatology found in the most recent edition of the “Primer on the Rheumatic Diseases” published by the Arthritis Foundation.

E. How do we document and evaluate immune deficiency disorders, excluding HIV infection?

1. General.

a. Immune deficiency disorders can be classified as:

(i) Primary (congenital); for example, X-linked agammaglobulinemia, thymic hypoplasia (DiGeorge syndrome), severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), chronic granulomatous disease (CGD), C1 esterase inhibitor deficiency.

(ii) Acquired; for example, medication-related.

b. Primary immune deficiency disorders are seen mainly in children. However, recent advances in the treatment of these disorders have allowed many affected children to survive well into adulthood. Occasionally, these disorders are first diagnosed in adolescence or adulthood.

2. Documentation of immune deficiency disorders. The medical evidence must include documentation of the specific type of immune deficiency. Documentation may be by laboratory evidence or by other generally acceptable methods consistent with the prevailing state of medical knowledge and clinical practice.

3. Immune deficiency disorders treated by stem cell transplantation.

a. Evaluation in the first 12 months. If you undergo stem cell transplantation for your immune deficiency disorder, we will consider you disabled until at least 12 months from the date of the transplant.

b. Evaluation after the 12-month period has elapsed. After the 12 month period has elapsed, we will consider any residuals of your immune deficiency disorder as well as any residual impairment(s) resulting from the treatment, such as complications arising from:

(i) Graft-versus-host (GVH) disease.

(ii) Immunosuppressant therapy, such as frequent infections.

(iii) Significant deterioration of other organ systems.

4. Medication-induced immune suppression. Medication effects can result in varying degrees of immune suppression, but most resolve when the medication is ceased. However, if you are prescribed medication for long-term immune suppression, such as after an organ transplant, we will evaluate:

a. The frequency and severity of infections.

b. Residuals from the organ transplant itself, after the 12-month period has elapsed.

c. Significant deterioration of other organ systems.

F. How do we document and evaluate HIV infection? Any individual with HIV infection, including one with a diagnosis of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), may be found disabled under 14.11 if his or her impairment meets the criteria in that listing or is medically equivalent to the criteria in that listing.

1. Documentation of HIV infection.

a. Definitive documentation of HIV infection. We may document a diagnosis of HIV infection by positive findings on one or more of the following definitive laboratory tests:

(i) HIV antibody screening test (for example, enzyme immunoassay, or EIA), confirmed by a supplemental HIV antibody test such as the Western blot (immunoblot), an immunofluorescence assay, or an HIV-1/HIV-2 antibody differentiation immunoassay.

(ii) HIV nucleic acid (DNA or RNA) detection test (for example, polymerase chain reaction, or PCR).

(iii) HIV p24 antigen (p24Ag) test.

(iv) Isolation of HIV in viral culture.

(v) Other tests that are highly specific for detection of HIV and that are consistent with the prevailing state of medical knowledge.

b. We will make every reasonable effort to obtain the results of your laboratory testing. Pursuant to §§ 404.1519f and 416.919f, we will purchase examinations or tests necessary to make a determination in your claim if no other acceptable documentation exists.

c. Other acceptable documentation of HIV infection. We may also document HIV infection without definitive laboratory evidence.

(i) We will accept a persuasive report from a physician that a positive diagnosis of your HIV infection was confirmed by an appropriate laboratory test(s), such as those described in 14.00F1a. To be persuasive, this report must state that you had the appropriate definitive laboratory test(s) for diagnosing your HIV infection and provide the results. The report must also be consistent with the remaining evidence of record.

(ii) We may also document HIV infection by the medical history, clinical and laboratory findings, and diagnosis(es) indicated in the medical evidence, provided that such documentation is consistent with the prevailing state of medical knowledge and clinical practice and is consistent with the other evidence in your case record. For example, we will accept a diagnosis of HIV infection without definitive laboratory evidence of the HIV infection if you have an opportunistic disease that is predictive of a defect in cell-mediated immunity (for example, toxoplasmosis of the brain or Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP)), and there is no other known cause of diminished resistance to that disease (for example, long-term steroid treatment or lymphoma). In such cases, we will make every reasonable effort to obtain full details of the history, medical findings, and results of testing.

2. Documentation of the manifestations of HIV infection.

a. Definitive documentation of manifestations of HIV infection. We may document manifestations of HIV infection by positive findings on definitive laboratory tests, such as culture, microscopic examination of biopsied tissue or other material (for example, bronchial washings), serologic tests, or on other generally acceptable definitive tests consistent with the prevailing state of medical knowledge and clinical practice.

b. We will make every reasonable effort to obtain the results of your laboratory testing. Pursuant to §§ 404.1519f and 416.919f, we will purchase examinations or tests necessary to make a determination of your claim if no other acceptable documentation exists.

c. Other acceptable documentation of manifestations of HIV infection. We may also document manifestations of HIV infection without definitive laboratory evidence.

(i) We will accept a persuasive report from a physician that a positive diagnosis of your manifestation of HIV infection was confirmed by an appropriate laboratory test(s). To be persuasive, this report must state that you had the appropriate definitive laboratory test(s) for diagnosing your manifestation of HIV infection and provide the results. The report must also be consistent with the remaining evidence of record.

(ii) We may also document manifestations of HIV infection without the definitive laboratory evidence described in 14.00F2a, provided that such documentation is consistent with the prevailing state of medical knowledge and clinical practice and is consistent with the other evidence in your case record. For example, many conditions are now commonly diagnosed based on some or all of the following: Medical history, clinical manifestations, laboratory findings (including appropriate medically acceptable imaging), and treatment responses. In such cases, we will make every reasonable effort to obtain full details of the history, medical findings, and results of testing.

3. Disorders associated with HIV infection (14.11A-E).

a. Multicentric Castleman disease. (MCD, 14.11A) affects multiple groups of lymph nodes and organs containing lymphoid tissue. This widespread involvement distinguishes MCD from localized (or unicentric) Castleman disease, which affects only a single set of lymph nodes. While not a cancer, MCD is known as a lymphoproliferative disorder. Its clinical presentation and progression is similar to that of lymphoma, and its treatment may include radiation or chemotherapy. We require characteristic findings on microscopic examination of the biopsied lymph nodes or other generally acceptable methods consistent with the prevailing state of medical knowledge and clinical practice to establish the diagnosis. Localized (or unicentric) Castleman disease does not meet or medically equal the criterion in 14.11A, but we may evaluate it under the criteria in 14.11H or 14.11I.

b. Primary central nervous system lymphoma. (PCNSL, 14.11B) originates in the brain, spinal cord, meninges, or eye. Imaging tests (for example, MRI) of the brain, while not diagnostic, may show a single lesion or multiple lesions in the white matter of the brain. We require characteristic findings on microscopic examination of the cerebral spinal fluid or of the biopsied brain tissue, or other generally acceptable methods consistent with the prevailing state of medical knowledge and clinical practice to establish the diagnosis.

c. Primary effusion lymphoma (PEL, 14.11C) is also known as body cavity lymphoma. We require characteristic findings on microscopic examination of the effusion fluid or of the biopsied tissue from the affected internal organ, or other generally acceptable methods consistent with the prevailing state of medical knowledge and clinical practice to establish the diagnosis.

d. Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML, 14.11D) is a progressive neurological degenerative syndrome caused by the John Cunningham (JC) virus in immunosuppressed individuals. Clinical findings of PML include clumsiness, progressive weakness, and visual and speech changes. Personality and cognitive changes may also occur. We require appropriate clinical findings, characteristic white matter lesions on MRI, and a positive PCR test for the JC virus in the cerebrospinal fluid to establish the diagnosis. We also accept a positive brain biopsy for JC virus or other generally acceptable methods consistent with the prevailing state of medical knowledge and clinical practice to establish the diagnosis.

e. Pulmonary Kaposi sarcoma (Kaposi sarcoma in the lung, 14.11E) is the most serious form of Kaposi sarcoma (KS). Other internal KS tumors (for example, tumors of the gastrointestinal tract) have a more variable prognosis. We require characteristic findings on microscopic examination of the induced sputum, bronchoalveolar lavage washings, or of the biopsied transbronchial tissue, or by other generally acceptable methods consistent with the prevailing state of medical knowledge and clinical practice to establish the diagnosis.

4. CD4 measurement (14.11F). To evaluate your HIV infection under 14.11F, we require one measurement of your absolute CD4 count (also known as CD4 count or CD4+ T-helper lymphocyte count). This measurement must occur within the period we are considering in connection with your application or continuing disability review. If you have more than one measurement of your absolute CD4 count within this period, we will use your lowest absolute CD4 count.

5. Measurement of CD4 and either body mass index or hemoglobin (14.11G). To evaluate your HIV infection under 14.11G, we require one measurement of your absolute CD4 count or your CD4 percentage, and either a measurement of your body mass index (BMI) or your hemoglobin. These measurements must occur within the period we are considering in connection with your application or continuing disability review. If you have more than one measurement of your CD4 (absolute count or percentage), BMI, or hemoglobin within this period, we will use the lowest of your CD4 (absolute count or percentage), BMI, or hemoglobin. The date of your lowest CD4 (absolute count or percentage) measurement may be different from the date of your lowest BMI or hemoglobin measurement. We calculate your BMI using the formulas in 5.00G2.

6. Complications of HIV infection requiring hospitalization (14.11H).

a. Complications of HIV infection may include infections (common or opportunistic), cancers, and other conditions. Examples of complications that may result in hospitalization include: Depression; diarrhea; immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome; malnutrition; and PCP and other severe infections.

b. Under 14.11H, we require three hospitalizations within a 12-month period that are at least 30 days apart and that result from a complication(s) of HIV infection. The hospitalizations may be for the same complication or different complications of HIV infection and are not limited to the examples of complications that may result in hospitalization listed in 14.00F6a. All three hospitalizations must occur within the period we are considering in connection with your application or continuing disability review. Each hospitalization must last at least 48 hours, including hours in a hospital emergency department immediately before the hospitalization.

c. We will use the rules on medical equivalence in §§ 404.1526 and 416.926 to evaluate your HIV infection if you have fewer, but longer, hospitalizations, or more frequent, but shorter, hospitalizations, or if you receive nursing, rehabilitation, or other care in alternative settings.

7. HIV infection manifestations specific to women.

a. General. Most women with severe immunosuppression secondary to HIV infection exhibit the typical opportunistic infections and other conditions, such as PCP, Candida esophagitis, wasting syndrome, cryptococcosis, and toxoplasmosis. However, HIV infection may have different manifestations in women than in men. Adjudicators must carefully scrutinize the medical evidence and be alert to the variety of medical conditions specific to, or common in, women with HIV infection that may affect their ability to function in the workplace.

b. Additional considerations for evaluating HIV infection in women. Many of these manifestations (for example, vulvovaginal candidiasis or pelvic inflammatory disease) occur in women with or without HIV infection, but can be more severe or resistant to treatment, or occur more frequently in a woman whose immune system is suppressed. Therefore, when evaluating the claim of a woman with HIV infection, it is important to consider gynecologic and other problems specific to women, including any associated symptoms (for example, pelvic pain), in assessing the severity of the impairment and resulting functional limitations. We may evaluate manifestations of HIV infection in women under 14.11H-I, or under the criteria for the appropriate body system (for example, cervical cancer under 13.23).

8. HIV-associated dementia (HAD). HAD is an advanced neurocognitive disorder, characterized by a significant decline in cognitive functioning. We evaluate HAD under 14.11I. Other names associated with neurocognitive disorders due to HIV infection include: AIDS dementia complex, HIV dementia, HIV encephalopathy, and major neurocognitive disorder due to HIV infection.

G. How do we consider the effects of treatment in evaluating your autoimmune disorder, immune deficiency disorder, or HIV infection?

1. General. If your impairment does not otherwise meet the requirements of a listing, we will consider your medical treatment in terms of its effectiveness in improving the signs, symptoms, and laboratory abnormalities of your specific immune system disorder or its manifestations, and in terms of any side effects that limit your functioning. We will make every reasonable effort to obtain a specific description of the treatment you receive (including surgery) for your immune system disorder. We consider:

a. The effects of medications you take.

b. Adverse side effects (acute and chronic).

c. The intrusiveness and complexity of your treatment (for example, the dosing schedule, need for injections).

d. The effect of treatment on your mental functioning (for example, cognitive changes, mood disturbance).

e. Variability of your response to treatment (see 14.00G2).

f. The interactive and cumulative effects of your treatments. For example, many individuals with immune system disorders receive treatment both for their immune system disorders and for the manifestations of the disorders or co-occurring impairments, such as treatment for HIV infection and hepatitis C. The interactive and cumulative effects of these treatments may be greater than the effects of each treatment considered separately.

g. The duration of your treatment.

h. Any other aspects of treatment that may interfere with your ability to function.

2. Variability of your response to treatment. Your response to treatment and the adverse or beneficial consequences of your treatment may vary widely. The effects of your treatment may be temporary or long term. For example, some individuals may show an initial positive response to a drug or combination of drugs followed by a decrease in effectiveness. When we evaluate your response to treatment and how your treatment may affect you, we consider such factors as disease activity before treatment, requirements for changes in therapeutic regimens, the time required for therapeutic effectiveness of a particular drug or drugs, the limited number of drug combinations that may be available for your impairment(s), and the time-limited efficacy of some drugs. For example, an individual with HIV infection or another immune deficiency disorder who develops pneumonia or tuberculosis may not respond to the same antibiotic regimen used in treating individuals without HIV infection or another immune deficiency disorder, or may not respond to an antibiotic that he or she responded to before. Therefore, we must consider the effects of your treatment on an individual basis, including the effects of your treatment on your ability to function.

3. How we evaluate the effects of treatment for autoimmune disorders on your ability to function. Some medications may have acute or long-term side effects. When we consider the effects of corticosteroids or other treatments for autoimmune disorders on your ability to function, we consider the factors in 14.00G1 and 14.00G2. Long-term corticosteroid treatment can cause ischemic necrosis of bone, posterior subcapsular cataract, weight gain, glucose intolerance, increased susceptibility to infection, and osteoporosis that may result in a loss of function. In addition, medications used in the treatment of autoimmune disorders may also have effects on mental functioning, including cognition (for example, memory), concentration, and mood.

4. How we evaluate the effects of treatment for immune deficiency disorders, excluding HIV infection, on your ability to function. When we consider the effects of your treatment for your immune deficiency disorder on your ability to function, we consider the factors in 14.00G1 and 14.00G2. A frequent need for treatment such as intravenous immunoglobulin and gamma interferon therapy can be intrusive and interfere with your ability to work. We will also consider whether you have chronic side effects from these or other medications, including severe fatigue, fever, headaches, high blood pressure, joint swelling, muscle aches, nausea, shortness of breath, or limitations in mental function including cognition (for example, memory), concentration, and mood.

5. How we evaluate the effects of treatment for HIV infection on your ability to function.

a. General. When we consider the effects of antiretroviral drugs (including the effects of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART)) and the effects of treatments for the manifestations of HIV infection on your ability to function, we consider the factors in 14.00G1 and 14.00G2. Side effects of antiretroviral drugs include, but are not limited to: Bone marrow suppression, pancreatitis, gastrointestinal intolerance (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea), neuropathy, rash, hepatotoxicity, lipodystrophy (fat redistribution, such as “buffalo hump”), glucose intolerance, and lactic acidosis. In addition, medications used in the treatment of HIV infection may also have effects on mental functioning, including cognition (for example, memory), concentration, and mood, and may result in malaise, severe fatigue, joint and muscle pain, and insomnia. The symptoms of HIV infection and the side effects of medication may be indistinguishable from each other. We will consider all of your functional limitations, whether they result from your symptoms or signs of HIV infection or the side effects of your treatment.

b. Structured treatment interruptions. A structured treatment interruption (STI, also called a “drug holiday”) is a treatment practice during which your treating source advises you to stop taking your medications temporarily. An STI in itself does not imply that your medical condition has improved; nor does it imply that you are noncompliant with your treatment because you are following your treating source's advice. Therefore, if you have stopped taking medication because your treating source prescribed or recommended an STI, we will not find that you are failing to follow treatment or draw inferences about the severity of your impairment on this fact alone. We will consider why your treating source has prescribed or recommended an STI and all the other information in your case record when we determine the severity of your impairment.

6. When there is no record of ongoing treatment. If you have not received ongoing treatment or have not had an ongoing relationship with the medical community despite the existence of a severe impairment(s), we will evaluate the medical severity and duration of your immune system disorder on the basis of the current objective medical evidence and other evidence in your case record, taking into consideration your medical history, symptoms, clinical and laboratory findings, and medical source opinions. If you have just begun treatment and we cannot determine whether you are disabled based on the evidence we have, we may need to wait to determine the effect of the treatment on your ability to function. The amount of time we need to wait will depend on the facts of your case. If you have not received treatment, you may not be able to show an impairment that meets the criteria of one of the immune system disorders listings, but your immune system disorder may medically equal a listing or be disabling based on a consideration of your residual functional capacity, age, education, and work experience.

H. How do we consider your symptoms, including your pain, severe fatigue, and malaise?

Your symptoms, including pain, severe fatigue, and malaise, may be important factors in our determination whether your immune system disorder(s) meets or medically equals a listing or in our determination whether you are otherwise able to work. In order for us to consider your symptoms, you must have medical signs or laboratory findings showing the existence of a medically determinable impairment(s) that could reasonably be expected to produce the symptoms. If you have such an impairment(s), we will evaluate the intensity, persistence, and functional effects of your symptoms using the rules throughout 14.00 and in our other regulations. See §§ 404.1521, 404.1529, 416.921, and 416.929. Additionally, when we assess the credibility of your complaints about your symptoms and their functional effects, we will not draw any inferences from the fact that you do not receive treatment or that you are not following treatment without considering all of the relevant evidence in your case record, including any explanations you provide that may explain why you are not receiving or following treatment.

NOTE: SSR 96-7p, “Titles II and XVI: Evaluation of Symptoms in Disability Claims: Assessing the Credibility of an Individual’s Statements” has been replaced with SSR 16-3p, “Titles II and XVI: Evaluation of Symptoms in Disability Claims.” Effective 3/28/16, we no longer use the term “credibility” when evaluating symptoms.

I. How do we use the functional criteria in these listings?

1. The following listings in this body system include standards for evaluating the functional limitations resulting from immune system disorders: 14.02B, for systemic lupus erythematosus; 14.03B, for systemic vasculitis; 14.04D, for systemic sclerosis (scleroderma); 14.05E, for polymyositis and dermatomyositis; 14.06B, for undifferentiated and mixed connective tissue disease; 14.07C, for immune deficiency disorders, excluding HIV infection; 14.09D, for inflammatory arthritis; 14.10B, for Sjögren’s syndrome; and 14.11I, for HIV infection.

2. When we use one of the listings cited in 14.00I1, we will consider all relevant information in your case record to determine the full impact of your immune system disorder on your ability to function on a sustained basis. Important factors we will consider when we evaluate your functioning under these listings include, but are not limited to: Your symptoms, the frequency and duration of manifestations of your immune system disorder, periods of exacerbation and remission, and the functional impact of your treatment, including the side effects of your medication.

3. As used in these listings, “repeated” means that the manifestations occur on an average of three times a year, or once every 4 months, each lasting 2 weeks or more; or the manifestations do not last for 2 weeks but occur substantially more frequently than three times in a year or once every 4 months; or they occur less frequently than an average of three times a year or once every 4 months but last substantially longer than 2 weeks. Your impairment will satisfy this criterion regardless of whether you have the same kind of manifestation repeatedly, all different manifestations, or any other combination of manifestations; for example, two of the same kind of manifestation and a different one. You must have the required number of manifestations with the frequency and duration required in this section. Also, the manifestations must occur within the period covered by your claim.

4. To satisfy the functional criterion in a listing, your immune system disorder must result in a “marked” level of limitation in one of three general areas of functioning: Activities of daily living, social functioning, or difficulties in completing tasks due to deficiencies in concentration, persistence, or pace. Functional limitation may result from the impact of the disease process itself on your mental functioning, physical functioning, or both your mental and physical functioning. This could result from persistent or intermittent symptoms, such as depression, severe fatigue, or pain, resulting in a limitation of your ability to do a task, to concentrate, to persevere at a task, or to perform the task at an acceptable rate of speed. You may also have limitations because of your treatment and its side effects (see 14.00G).

5. Marked limitation means that the signs and symptoms of your immune system disorder interfere seriously with your ability to function. Although we do not require the use of such a scale, “marked” would be the fourth point on a five-point scale consisting of no limitation, mild limitation, moderate limitation, marked limitation, and extreme limitation. You may have a marked limitation when several activities or functions are impaired, or even when only one is impaired. Also, you need not be totally precluded from performing an activity to have a marked limitation, as long as the degree of limitation seriously interferes with your ability to function independently, appropriately, and effectively. The term “marked” does not imply that you must be confined to bed, hospitalized, or in a nursing home.

6. Activities of daily living include, but are not limited to, such activities as doing household chores, grooming and hygiene, using a post office, taking public transportation, or paying bills. We will find that you have a “marked” limitation of activities of daily living if you have a serious limitation in your ability to maintain a household or take public transportation because of symptoms, such as pain, severe fatigue, anxiety, or difficulty concentrating, caused by your immune system disorder (including manifestations of the disorder) or its treatment, even if you are able to perform some self-care activities.

7. Social functioning includes the capacity to interact independently, appropriately, effectively, and on a sustained basis with others. It includes the ability to communicate effectively with others. We will find that you have a “marked” limitation in maintaining social functioning if you have a serious limitation in social interaction on a sustained basis because of symptoms, such as pain, severe fatigue, anxiety, or difficulty concentrating, or a pattern of exacerbation and remission, caused by your immune system disorder (including manifestations of the disorder) or its treatment, even if you are able to communicate with close friends or relatives.

8. Completing tasks in a timely manner involves the ability to sustain concentration, persistence, or pace to permit timely completion of tasks commonly found in work settings. We will find that you have a “marked” limitation in completing tasks if you have a serious limitation in your ability to sustain concentration or pace adequate to complete work-related tasks because of symptoms, such as pain, severe fatigue, anxiety, or difficulty concentrating, caused by your immune system disorder (including manifestations of the disorder) or its treatment, even if you are able to do some routine activities of daily living.

J. How do we evaluate your immune system disorder when it does not meet one of the listings?

1. These listings are only examples of immune system disorders that we consider severe enough to prevent you from doing any gainful activity. If your impairment(s) does not meet the criteria of any of these listings, we must also consider whether you have an impairment(s) that satisfies the criteria of a listing in another body system.

2. Individuals with immune system disorders, including HIV infection, may manifest signs or symptoms of a mental impairment or of another physical impairment. For example, HIV infection may accelerate the onset of conditions such as diabetes or affect the course of or treatment options for diseases such as cardiovascular disease or hepatitis. We may evaluate these impairments under the affected body system.

a. Musculoskeletal involvement, such as surgical reconstruction of a joint, under 1.00.

b. Ocular involvement, such as dry eye, under 2.00.

c. Respiratory impairments, such as pleuritis, under 3.00.

d. Cardiovascular impairments, such as cardiomyopathy, under 4.00.

e. Digestive impairments, such as hepatitis (including hepatitis C) or weight loss as a result of HIV infection that affects the digestive system, under 5.00.

f. Genitourinary impairments, such as nephropathy, under 6.00.

g. Hematologic abnormalities, such as anemia, granulocytopenia, and thrombocytopenia, under 7.00.

h. Skin impairments, such as persistent fungal and other infectious skin eruptions, and photosensitivity, under 8.00.

i. Neurologic impairments, such as neuropathy or seizures, under 11.00.

j. Mental disorders, such as depression, anxiety, or cognitive deficits, under 12.00.

k. Allergic disorders, such as asthma or atopic dermatitis, under 3.00 or 8.00 or under the criteria in another affected body system.

l. Syphilis or neurosyphilis under the criteria for the affected body system; for example, 2.00 Special senses and speech, 4.00 Cardiovascular system, or 11.00 Neurological.

3. If you have a severe medically determinable impairment(s) that does not meet a listing, we will determine whether your impairment(s) medically equals a listing. (See §§404.1526 and 416.926.) If it does not, you may or may not have the residual functional capacity to engage in substantial gainful activity. Therefore, we proceed to the fourth, and if necessary, the fifth steps of the sequential evaluation process in §§404.1520 and 416.920. We use the rules in §§404.1594, 416.994, and 416.994a as appropriate, when we decide whether you continue to be disabled.

14.01 Category of Impairments, Immune System Disorders

14.02 Systemic lupus erythematosus. As described in 14.00D1. With:

A. Involvement of two or more organs/body systems, with:

1. One of the organs/body systems involved to at least a moderate level of severity; and

2. At least two of the constitutional symptoms or signs (severe fatigue, fever, malaise, or involuntary weight loss).

OR

B. Repeated manifestations of SLE, with at least two of the constitutional symptoms or signs (severe fatigue, fever, malaise, or involuntary weight loss) and one of the following at the marked level:

1. Limitation of activities of daily living.

2. Limitation in maintaining social functioning.

3. Limitation in completing tasks in a timely manner due to deficiencies in concentration, persistence, or pace.

14.03 Systemic vasculitis. As described in 14.00D2. With:

A. Involvement of two or more organs/body systems, with:

1. One of the organs/body systems involved to at least a moderate level of severity; and

2. At least two of the constitutional symptoms or signs (severe fatigue, fever, malaise, or involuntary weight loss).

OR

B. Repeated manifestations of systemic vasculitis, with at least two of the constitutional symptoms or signs (severe fatigue, fever, malaise, or involuntary weight loss) and one of the following at the marked level:

1. Limitation of activities of daily living.

2. Limitation in maintaining social functioning.

3. Limitation in completing tasks in a timely manner due to deficiencies in concentration, persistence, or pace.

14.04 Systemic sclerosis (scleroderma). As described in 14.00D3. With:

A. Involvement of two or more organs/body systems, with:

1. One of the organs/body systems involved to at least a moderate level of severity; and

2. At least two of the constitutional symptoms or signs (severe fatigue, fever, malaise, or involuntary weight loss).

OR

B.

One of the following:

1. Toe contractures or fixed deformity of one or both feet and medical documentation of at least one of the following:

a. A documented medical need (see 14.00C6) for a walker, bilateral canes, or bilateral crutches (see 1.00C6d ) or a wheeled and seated mobility device involving the use of both hands (see 1.00C6e(i) ); or

b. An inability to use one upper extremity to independently initiate, sustain, and complete work-related activities involving fine and gross movements (see 14.00C7), and a documented medical need (see 14.00C6) for a one-handed, hand-held assistive device that requires the use of the other upper extremity (see 1.00C6d ) or a wheeled and seated mobility device involving the use of one hand (see 1.00C6e(ii) ); or

2. Finger contractures or fixed deformity in both hands and medical documentation of an inability to use both upper extremities to the extent that neither can be used to independently initiate, sustain, and complete work-related activities involving fine and gross movements (see 14.00C7); or

3. Atrophy with irreversible damage in one or both lower extremities and medical documentation of at least one of the following:

a. A documented medical need (see 14.00C6) for a walker, bilateral canes, or bilateral crutches (see 1.00C6d ) or a wheeled and seated mobility device involving the use of both hands (see 1.00C6e(i) ); or

b. An inability to use one upper extremity to independently initiate, sustain, and complete work-related activities involving fine and gross movements (see 14.00C7), and a documented medical need (see 14.00C6) for a one-handed, hand-held assistive device (see 1.00C6d ) that requires the use of the other upper extremity or a wheeled and seated mobility device involving the use of one hand (see 1.00C6e(ii) ); or

4. Atrophy with irreversible damage in both upper extremities and medical documentation of an inability to use both upper extremities to the extent that neither can be used to independently initiate, sustain, and complete work-related activities involving fine and gross movements (see 14.00C7); or

 

C. Raynaud's phenomenon, characterized by:

1. Gangrene involving at least two extremities; or

2. Ischemia with ulcerations of toes or fingers and medical documentation of at least one of the following:

a. A documented medical need (see 14.00C6) for a walker, bilateral canes, or bilateral crutches(see 1.00C6d ) or a wheeled and seated mobility device involving the use of both hands (see 1.00C6e(i) ); or

b. An inability to use one upper extremity to independently initiate, sustain, and complete work-related activities involving fine and gross movements (see 14.00C7), and a documented medical need (see 14.00C6) for a one-handed, hand-held assistive device (see 1.00C6d ) that requires the use of the other upper extremity or a wheeled and seated mobility device involving the use of one hand (see 1.00C6e(ii) ); or

c. An inability to use both upper extremities to the extent that neither can be used to independently initiate, sustain, and complete work-related activities involving fine and gross movements (see 14.00C7); or

 

D. Repeated manifestations of systemic sclerosis (scleroderma), with at least two of the constitutional symptoms or signs (severe fatigue, fever, malaise, or involuntary weight loss) and one of the following at the marked level:

1. Limitation of activities of daily living.

2. Limitation in maintaining social functioning.

3. Limitation in completing tasks in a timely manner due to deficiencies in concentration, persistence, or pace.

14.05 Polymyositis and dermatomyositis. As described in 14.00D4. With:

A. Proximal limb-girdle (pelvic or shoulder) muscle weakness and medical documentation of at least one of the following:

1. A documented medical need (see 14.00C6) for a walker, bilateral canes, or bilateral crutches (see 1.00C6d ) or a wheeled and seated mobility device involving the use of both hands (see 1.00C6e(i) ); or

2. An inability to use one upper extremity to independently initiate, sustain, and complete work-related activities involving fine and gross movements (see 14.00C7), and a documented medical need (see 14.00C6) for a one-handed, hand-held assistive device (see 1.00C6d ) that requires the use of the other upper extremity or a wheeled and seated mobility device involving the use of one hand (see 1.00C6e(ii) ); or

3. An inability to use both upper extremities to the extent that neither can be used to independently initiate, sustain, and complete work-related activities involving fine and gross movements (see 14.00C7); or

OR

B. Impaired swallowing (dysphagia) with aspiration due to muscle weakness.

OR

C. Impaired respiration due to intercostal and diaphragmatic muscle weakness.

OR

D. Diffuse calcinosis with limitation of joint mobility or intestinal motility.

OR

E. Repeated manifestations of polymyositis or dermatomyositis, with at least two of the constitutional symptoms or signs (severe fatigue, fever, malaise, or involuntary weight loss) and one of the following at the marked level:

1. Limitation of activities of daily living.

2. Limitation in maintaining social functioning.

3. Limitation in completing tasks in a timely manner due to deficiencies in concentration, persistence, or pace.

14.06 Undifferentiated and mixed connective tissue disease. As described in 14.00D5. With:

A. Involvement of two or more organs/body systems, with:

1. One of the organs/body systems involved to at least a moderate level of severity; and

2. At least two of the constitutional symptoms or signs (severe fatigue, fever, malaise, or involuntary weight loss).

OR

B. Repeated manifestations of undifferentiated or mixed connective tissue disease, with at least two of the constitutional symptoms or signs (severe fatigue, fever, malaise, or involuntary weight loss) and one of the following at the marked level:

1. Limitation of activities of daily living.

2. Limitation in maintaining social functioning.

3. Limitation in completing tasks in a timely manner due to deficiencies in concentration, persistence, or pace.

14.07 Immune deficiency disorders, excluding HIV infection. As described in 14.00E. With:

A. One or more of the following infections. The infection(s) must either be resistant to treatment or require hospitalization or intravenous treatment three or more times in a 12-month period.

1. Sepsis; or

2. Meningitis; or

3. Pneumonia; or

4. Septic arthritis; or

5. Endocarditis; or

6. Sinusitis documented by appropriate medically acceptable imaging

OR

B. Stem cell transplantation as described under 14.00E3. Consider under a disability until at least 12 months from the date of transplantation. Thereafter, evaluate any residual impairment(s) under the criteria for the affected body system.

OR

C. Repeated manifestations of an immune deficiency disorder, with at least two of the constitutional symptoms or signs (severe fatigue, fever, malaise, or involuntary weight loss) and one of the following at the marked level:

1. Limitation of activities of daily living.

2. Limitation in maintaining social function.

3. Limitation in completing tasks in a timely manner due to deficiencies in concentration, persistence, or pace.

14.08 [Reserved]

14.09 Inflammatory arthritis. As described in 14.00D6. With:

A. Persistent inflammation or persistent deformity of:

1. One or more major joints in a lower extremity (see 14.00C8) and medical documentation of at least one of the following:

a. A documented medical need (see 14.00C6) for a walker, bilateral canes, or bilateral crutches (see 1.00C6d ) or a wheeled and seated mobility device involving the use of both hands (see 1.00C6e(i) ); or

b. An inability to use one upper extremity to independently initiate, sustain, and complete work-related activities involving fine and gross movements (see 14.00C7), and a documented medical need (see 14.00C6) for a one-handed, hand-held assistive device (see 1.00C6d ) that requires the use of the other upper extremity or a wheeled and seated mobility device involving the use of one hand (see 1.00C6e(ii) ); or

2. One or more major joints in each upper extremity (see 14.00C8) and medical documentation of an inability to use both upper extremities to the extent that neither can be used to independently initiate, sustain, and complete work-related activities involving fine and gross movements (see 14.00C7); or

B. Inflammation or deformity in one or more major joints of an upper or a lower extremity (see 14.00C8) with:

1. Involvement of two or more organs/body systems with one of the organs/body systems involved to at least a moderate level of severity; and

2. At least two of the constitutional symptoms or signs (severe fatigue, fever, malaise, or involuntary weight loss).

OR

C. Ankylosing spondylitis or other spondyloarthropathies, with:

1. Ankylosis (fixation) of the dorsolumbar or cervical spine as shown by appropriate medically acceptable imaging and measured on physical examination at 45 or more of flexion from the vertical position (zero degrees); or

2. Ankylosis (fixation) of the dorsolumbar or cervical spine as shown by appropriate medically acceptable imaging and measured on physical examination at 30 or more of flexion (but less than 45) measured from the vertical position (zero degrees), and involvement of two or more organs/body systems with one of the organs/body systems involved to at least a moderate level of severity.

OR

D. Repeated manifestations of inflammatory arthritis, with at least two of the constitutional symptoms or signs (severe fatigue, fever, malaise, or involuntary weight loss) and one of the following at the marked level:

1. Limitation of activities of daily living.

2. Limitation in maintaining social functioning.

3. Limitation in completing tasks in a timely manner due to deficiencies in concentration, persistence, or pace.

14.10 Sjögren's syndrome. As described in 14.00D7. With:

A. Involvement of two or more organs/body systems, with:

1. One of the organs/body systems involved to at least a moderate level of severity; and

2. At least two of the constitutional symptoms or signs (severe fatigue, fever, malaise, or involuntary weight loss).

OR

B. Repeated manifestations of Sjögren's syndrome, with at least two of the constitutional symptoms or signs (severe fatigue, fever, malaise, or involuntary weight loss) and one of the following at the marked level:

1. Limitation of activities of daily living.

2. Limitation in maintaining social functioning.

3. Limitation in completing tasks in a timely manner due to deficiencies in concentration, persistence, or pace.

14.11 Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. With documentation as described in 14.00F1 and one of the following:

A. Multicentric (not localized or unicentric) Castleman disease affecting multiple groups of lymph nodes or organs containing lymphoid tissue (see 14.00F3a).

OR

B. Primary central nervous system lymphoma (see 14.00F3b).

OR

C. Primary effusion lymphoma (see 14.00F3c).

OR

D. Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (see 14.00F3d).

OR

E. Pulmonary Kaposi sarcoma (see 14.00F3e).

OR

F. Absolute CD4 count of 50 cells/mm3 or less (see 14.00F4).

OR

G. Absolute CD4 count of less than 200 cells/mm3 or CD4 percentage of less than 14 percent, and one of the following (values do not have to be measured on the same date) (see 14.00F5):

1. BMI measurement of less than 18.5; or

2. Hemoglobin measurement of less than 8.0 grams per deciliter (g/dL).

OR

H. Complication(s) of HIV infection requiring at least three hospitalizations within a 12-month period and at least 30 days apart (see 14.00F6). Each hospitalization must last at least 48 hours, including hours in a hospital emergency department immediately before the hospitalization.

OR

I. Repeated (as defined in 14.00I3) manifestations of HIV infection, including those listed in 14.11A-H, but without the requisite findings for those listings (for example, Kaposi sarcoma not meeting the criteria in 14.11E), or other manifestations (including, but not limited to, cardiovascular disease (including myocarditis, pericardial effusion, pericarditis, endocarditis, or pulmonary arteritis), diarrhea, distal sensory polyneuropathy, glucose intolerance, gynecologic conditions (including cervical cancer or pelvic inflammatory disease, see 14.00F7), hepatitis, HIV-associated dementia, immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS), infections (bacterial, fungal, parasitic, or viral), lipodystrophy (lipoatrophy or lipohypertrophy), malnutrition, muscle weakness, myositis, neurocognitive or other mental limitations not meeting the criteria in 12.00, oral hairy leukoplakia, osteoporosis, pancreatitis, peripheral neuropathy) resulting in significant, documented symptoms or signs (for example, but not limited to, fever, headaches, insomnia, involuntary weight loss, malaise, nausea, night sweats, pain, severe fatigue, or vomiting) and one of the following at the marked level:

1. Limitation of activities of daily living.

2. Limitation in maintaining social functioning.

3. Limitation in completing tasks in a timely manner due to deficiencies in concentration, persistence, or pace.


DI 34001 TN 25 - Listings of Impairments - Current Part A Listings - 4/01/2021