CPT Code 82746 | Description & Clinical Information
CPT 82746 describes the laboratory procedure of measuring the level of folic acid in serum, which is used to diagnose a deficiency of this essential nutrient that can be caused by various conditions including malabsorption, Crohn’s disease, celiac sprue, and previous bypass surgical procedures that reduce absorption.
The CPT book defines CPT code 82746 as: “Folic acid; serum”.
The procedure describes by CPT code 82746 involves an analytical method to quantitate the concentration of folic acid in a serum sample. This technique, referred to as radioimmunoassay, is commonly used by lab analysts to accurately measure the folic acid levels using gamma radioactive tagged isotopes and a gamma counter.
Clinicians commonly order this test to detect a deficiency of folic acid, a B-vitamin that is essential for producing normal red blood cells. Inadequate absorption, surgical treatments for obesity, pregnancy, and other factors may contribute to folic acid deficiency in patients. Folic acid deficiency is also considered the leading cause of megaloblastic anemia.
The test involves taking a serum sample from the patient and then preparing it for analysis. The lab analyst takes over from here, carrying out the necessary technical lab steps to determine the exact level of folic acid in the serum sample. Using a radioimmunoassay technique, the analyst tags the sample with a specific type of gamma radioactive isotope that allows for an accurate measurement of folic acid levels using a gamma counter.
Generally, the test results are reported in nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL). A patient’s folic acid levels are considered normal if the test results show a concentration level within the typical range. However, if the results show lower than normal, it could indicate a folic acid deficiency which may require medical intervention.
Folic acid deficiency is a serious medical condition and leads to several health complications. In particular, it can cause megaloblastic anemia. This form of anemia is characterized by the presence of large and underdeveloped red blood cells. These underdeveloped cells fail to transport oxygen throughout the body, leading to numerous health problems such as fatigue, weakness, and shortness of breath.
Therefore, the CPT 82746 procedure is a vital test used by healthcare professionals to determine folic acid levels in patients. With accurate results from this test, healthcare providers can diagnose and treat folic acid deficiency, prevent health complications, and improve the quality of life for patients.
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