CPT Code 87591 | Infectious Agent Detection By Nucleic Acid (DNA/RNA)
The CPT code 87591 describes the detection of the sexually transmitted disease Neisseria gonorrhoeae through an amplified probe technique with nucleic acid (DNA or RNA).
The CPT book defines CPT 87591 as: “Infectious agent detection by nucleic acid (DNA or RNA); Neisseria gonorrhoeae, amplified probe technique.”
The laboratory analyst plays a crucial role in detecting the presence of Neisseria gonorrhoeae, a sexually transmitted disease that can cause serious health issues if left untreated.
The process begins with the collection of a specimen from a direct source, which is usually from the urogenital tract, including the vagina or penis, but it can be from any part of the body. The specimen is then brought to the lab for further processing.
Once in the lab, the analyst performs amplification techniques, such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR), to increase the number of copies of the target nucleic acid sequence in the specimen.
The PCR process results in a million-fold increase, making it easier for the analyst to assess the presence of the amplified nucleic acid sequences.
To detect the presence of Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the lab analyst uses a nucleic acid probe, which is a single strand of fabricated DNA or RNA that joins with the complementary sequence in the specimen through a process called hybridization.
The probe contains a label, such as a radioactive or chemical tag, which allows the analyst to visualize the hybridization product.
The test is usually ordered by a healthcare provider if they suspect the presence of gonorrhea in the patient.
While it is most commonly found in the urogenital tract, it can also cause infections in the rectum and throat. Additionally, a pregnant woman can spread the disease to her newborn infant, making early detection and treatment essential.
Using 87491, Infectious agent detection by nucleic acid, DNA or RNA; Chlamydia trachomatis, amplified probe technique, and 87591 to report a single test that screens for both Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) and Neisseria gonorrhoeae (GC) is incorrect.
Instead, the correct code for the single screening for both organisms is 87801, Infectious agent detection by nucleic acid, DNA or RNA, multiple organisms; amplified probe technique. This code accurately describes the test as an infectious agent detection for multiple organisms.
Additionally, it is important to distinguish between codes 87590, 87591, and 87592, which are used for direct probe, amplified probe, and quantification tests for Neisseria gonorrhoeae, respectively.