How To Use CPT Code 71271

CPT 71271 is a code for low-dose computed tomography [LDCT] of the thorax without contrast material, used for lung cancer screening. It is a specialised medical service that allows healthcare providers to examine the thoracic area for early signs of lung cancer using a non-invasive imaging technique.

The official description of the CPT code 71271 is: “Computed tomography, thorax, low dose for lung cancer screening, without contrast material[s]”.

Short description: LDCT thorax for lung cancer screening.

Procedure for CPT Code 71271

The patient is prepared and properly positioned on a scanning bed, which moves slowly into the scanner. The provider or the radiological technologist instructs the patient to be as still as possible during the procedure. Using low-dose ionising radiation, multiple cross-sectional images of the thoracic region are captured for further examination. The data collected is stored, reconstructed, and reproduced as prints for further evaluation as necessary.

Qualifying circumstances CPT Code 71271

Patients who meet specific criteria for lung cancer screening, which includes age, smoking history, and other risk factors for lung cancer are eligible to receive services under the CPT code 71271.

When to use CPT Code 71271

Medical coders and billers utilise the code 71271 when a healthcare provider performs a low-dose computed tomography [LDCT] scan of the thorax without contrast material for the purpose of lung cancer screening. This code should only be used for patients who meet the specific criteria for lung cancer screening.

Documentation requirements

Critical bits of information such as the patient’s age, smoking history and other risk factors, reason for the scan, details of the procedure including the use of low-dose ionising radiation, interpretation of the results, and any further recommendations based on the results of the scan should be documented to support a claim for CPT 71271.

Billing guidelines CPT Code 71271

When billing for CPT code 71271, healthcare providers should observe certain guidelines and rules, for instance, this code should not be reported in conjunction with codes 71250, 71260, or 71270. Also, this code should not be used for breast CT procedures. For cardiac computed tomography of the heart, codes 75571, 75572, 75573, or 75574 should be used instead.

Historical Information and Similar codes to CPT Code 71271

CPT code 71271 was first added to the Current Procedural Terminology system on January 1, 2021. Similar to code 71271 are codes 71250, 71260, and 71270, albeit with different usage and application circumstances.

Examples of CPT Code 71271

Different exemplars of patients who would require a procedure outlined under CPT Code 71271 include;

  • individuals with a smoking history over decades;
  • those with family histories of lung cancer, people exposed to asbestos; or
  • those with suspicious respiratory conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD] or pulmonary fibrosis.

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