CPT Code 86885 | Description & Clinical Information
CPT 86885 describes the procedure in which a lab analyst conducts an indirect antihuman globulin test, commonly known as a Coombs test, to identify the presence of antibodies in a patient’s serum.
The CPT book defines CPT code 86885 as: “Antihuman globulin test (Coombs test); indirect, qualitative, each reagent red cell”.
The procedure described by CPT code 86885 is used to detect antibodies in a patient’s serum. This technical process is conducted by a lab analyst who performs a series of steps that involve incubating the patient serum with reagent red blood cells, or RBCs, that contain known antigens. If the serum antibodies are present, they will bind to the antigens on the RBCs.
After the incubation step, the lab analyst continues the process by washing the RBC/serum mixture, adding antihuman globulin (also known as Coombs reagent) and monitoring the mixture for agglutination, or the clumping of RBCs. This step is similar to the direct Coombs test. If the antibodies in the patient serum have bound to the surface of the reagent RBCs, the cells will clump.
The testing of a single reagent red cell is representative of a single unit of CPT code 86885. Antihuman globulin is produced by injecting nonhuman species with human serum. This process allows the animal to produce antibodies that bind to human antibodies, specifically immunoglobulin G (IgG). By adding antihuman globulin to patient RBCs, the reagent will bind to antibodies bound to antigens on the RBCs, causing the cells to clump.
While this procedure is not limited to testing for specific conditions, clinicians may order this test to evaluate donor/recipient compatibility before a blood transfusion. This is done by mixing the recipient’s serum with donor RBCs and adding the Coombs reagent to look for a reaction, which is called crossmatching blood. Clinicians may also order an indirect Coombs test to screen pregnant patients for IgG antibodies that can pass into fetal blood and cause hemolytic disease of newborn, such as RhD.
The process of conducting the CPT code 86885 procedure requires careful attention to detail and knowledge of the various steps involved. The lab analyst responsible for conducting this test must ensure that the appropriate reagents are used and that the results are accurately recorded. The use of this code allows for standardized billing and ensures that the appropriate levels of care are delivered to patients by medical professionals.
In conclusion, CPT code 86885 is an essential tool used in medical diagnostics that allows for the detection of antibodies in patient serum. The procedure involves complex technical steps that require careful attention to detail and knowledge of the various reagents used. With this code, medical professionals can ensure the appropriate level of care is delivered to patients while also providing a standardized billing system.
Return to all the CPT codes for transfusion medicine procedures.