cpt 71260, cpt code 71260, 71260 cpt code

CPT Code 71260 | Chest CT With Contrast | Description, Modifier 26 & Billing Guide

CPT code 71260 can be reported for chest CT with contrast. CTP code 71260 is a procedure to look at any intrathoracic abnormalities discovered on a chest x-ray.

Under these guidelines, suspected nodules or masses in the lungs or pleura, pleural effusion, adenopathy, or other unfavorable findings are all “abnormalities.”

Chest CT with contrast (CPT 71260) creates an anatomical model of a small body component by combining numerous measurements of the body’s x-ray absorption.

In contrast to traditional tomography, which generates the image of a thin section by obscuring data from unimportant regions, chest CT with contrast (CPT code 71260) image will be mathematically created by utilizing just data from the area of interest. 

A picture like this needs slicing the body almost perpendicularly down the middle. The image that results can perform on any plane. A thoracic CT scan can image the adrenal glands from the tops of the lungs to the posterior costophrenic sulci.

According to the American College of Radiology, thoracic computed tomography (CT) scanning is suggested or required in the following scenarios:

  • Clinical assessment of the likelihood of concealed pulmonary pathology (ACR)
  • Thoracic, and vascular anomalies, whether known or suspected, are evaluated (congenital or acquired)
  • Examining the condition of the lungs and respiratory system
  • Evaluation of respiratory distress syndrome

A chest CT scan is reported with the 71260 CPT code and can be used to screen for side effects and assess the efficacy of therapy.

Patients who previously had chest CT scans that revealed curable abnormalities would not expect to have another chest CT scan before surgery. When billing for a biopsy or drainage, the relevant CT guidance code must include in the other treatment codes.

The patient information booklet is about thoracic magnetic resonance imaging. Other specialized displays concentrate on Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) operations carried out in various locales and Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA).

71260 CPT Code Description

Doctors can search for pleura, mediastinum, lungs, and chest wall anomalies with CPT 71260. CPT’s manual describes the 71260 CPT code procedure as: “Computed tomography, thorax, diagnostic; with contrast material(s).”

A frequent beginning point for a series of sequential lung slices is the posterior costophrenic sulci to the pulmonary apexes. If primary bronchogenic carcinoma is confirmed or strongly suspected, an adrenal gland assessment may be necessary. Any pulmonary hilum anomalies may demand contiguous incisions (with contrast). 

The documentation required for a CTA thorax is complicated, which causes issues for many organizations.

CPT code 71275, like all CTA codes, requires 3D postprocessing before it can use. Thoracic CT scans should record for pulmonary embolism investigations that were not 3D-reconstructed as CPT 71260.

Even though most businesses expect this to be a CTA, numerous infrastructures continue to rely on CT. It’s also worth noting that certain insurance companies will only pay CTA thorax exams for PE diagnoses, but not CT thorax exams. It is the first time insurers have required specific exam methods for patients who do not require prior clearance. 

Qualified radiography professionals should perform a CT thorax by the ACR Practice Guidelines and Technical Standards (radiology technicians, diagnostic radiologists). Throughout the procedure, the patient should continue to observe. The patient may suffer claustrophobia or medical issues exacerbated by the close quarters.

Pleural and pulmonary fluid accumulations such as abscesses, empyemas, effusions, and pneumothorax must all be examined and, in some situations, guided toward drainage. In addition, they diagnose and monitor interstitial and alveolar lung illness caused by idiopathic, allergy, collagen-vascular, environmental, or other factors.

To assess the impact of distant processes on the thorax, including but not limited to pancreatitis, gastrointestinal perforation, and other functions.

  • Symptoms include cough, hemoptysis, chest pain, and belly pain.
  • A typical chest radiograph detects anomalies in the pleura, mediastinum, lungs, and chest wall.
  • Damage to the patient’s lungs, mediastinum, pleura, and chest wall were all considered during this evaluation. 
  • A thoracic tumor must find before a biopsy can perform.
  • To rule out thymic tumors in a myasthenia gravis patient.
  • Investigating an individual who appears to have a pulmonary embolism. (A spiral multidetector scanner will recommend for this.)

A chest CT with contrast (CPT 72160) scan is permissible and necessary for a given patient if its use is deemed medically reasonable after considering the patient’s symptoms and preliminary diagnosis.

The following are clinical indications for the CPT code 72160 procedure:

  • Evaluation of mediastinitis, pneumonia, pleurisy, and bacterial lung infections
  • Mediastinal processes and tumors will diagnose.
  • Respiratory distress syndrome diagnosis

Billing Guidelines

The patient’s symptoms or complaints should determine whether or not the computed tomographic service is clinically essential. CPT code 72160 will not be covered if done as a screening.

The following were the bundling conditions for multiple CPT submissions: 50% of the second-highest RVU and 100% of the highest RVU. This CPT requires commercial insurance preapproval.

A chest CT with contrast (CPT 71260) will recommend when a current or former smoker experiences a change in their cough or a new cough that lasts more than four weeks.

Cough-inducing drugs, such as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, should be avoided. If a cough lasts longer than four weeks, a chest CT with contrast (CPT 71260) or without a difference (CPT 71250) is recommended.

The following strategy should use if a patient has no smoking history and a negative chest x-ray. For first-time users, a three-week antihistamine and decongestant trial will recommend.

However, suppose a chronic cough persists after upper airway cough syndrome treatment. In that case, a bronchoprovocation challenge, such as a methacholine challenge or an exhaled nitric oxide test, should be performed to rule out asthma. 

A corticosteroid trial should conduct if a bronchoprovocation challenge cannot complete.

If coughing persists, consult a cough specialist and begin treating acid reflux illness. If your cough persists, your doctor may advise you to have a chest CT scan, which can perform with (CPT 71260) or without contrast (CPT 71250).

Does CPT Code 71260 Need A Modifier 26?

The medical center’s doctor performs a chest X-ray on a patient. He is in charge of interpreting the report. As a result, it is possible to code CTP code 71260 with modifier 26.

If CPT code 71260 is billed for a service provided in a private practice setting, the doctor can bill under code 71260 without a modifier 26. 

Modifier 26 denotes the doctor’s expertise. A professional component exists in the doctor’s interpretation of the results, technician oversight, data analysis, and a written report. However, the technician, not the doctor, conducts the service. 

When the doctor does not own the hospital’s equipment and services, modifier 26 applies to the service. For example, modifier 26 should be used with CPT code 71260 when a physician interprets an independent, self-contained, written, and signed test or when the physician can do so while the technician is in charge.

 Modifier 26 refers to a collection of operations carried out by a medical practitioner or other adequately trained professional, such as a technician. The doctor does not need to be present during the service’s execution, but they must review the results with the technician and sign off on the final report.

Before requesting more advanced imaging, radiologists should review chest x-rays.

CPT 71260 can be used to diagnose the following conditions:

  • Contrast should contraindicate in the patient.
  • Next Steps for Recurring Pulmonary Nodules (s)
  • A pulmonary specialist specifically requested a non-contrast CT scan.
  • Take note of the additional conditions in the rulebook.

Chest CT without and with contrast (71260 CPT code) adds no significant diagnostic information unless a calcification problem needs to treat.


In most clinical situations, chest radiographs should obtain before advanced imaging with CT, ideally within 30 days of a chest CT exam request. CPT 71260 requires commercial insurance pre-approval.

Be aware that CPT 71260 is a code for low-income patients.


A 30-year-old woman with no history of premenstrual dysphoric disorder complains of non-exercise-induced stomach ache and intermittent chest pain increased by movement of the left arm. While using the drug, the patient’s condition did not improve. 

To ensure that the heart was regularly beating, the doctors ordered a battery of tests, including an electrocardiogram (ECG), chest X-ray, abdomen ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), and abdominal ultrasound.

For example, the physician works for the hospital and does the abdominal US there. In addition, he is in charge of interpreting the report and translating it. As a result, this example will be coded as CPT 71260 with modifier 26.

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