CPT 93278 describes the monitoring of a patient’s heart rhythm using signal-averaged electrocardiography (SAECG) with or without an electrocardiogram (ECG). This article will cover the description, procedure, qualifying circumstances, appropriate usage, documentation requirements, billing guidelines, historical information, similar codes and billing examples.
1. What is CPT Code 93278?
CPT 93278 can be used to monitor a patient’s heart rhythm by placing surface electrodes on the chest and using signal-averaged electrocardiography (SAECG). This code represents the technical and professional components of the service, which includes recording a resting ECG and analyzing the results to identify small variances that may indicate a higher risk of potentially dangerous arrhythmias.
2. Official Description
The official description of CPT code 93278 is: ‘Signal-averaged electrocardiography (SAECG), with or without ECG.’
- The patient is positioned in a supine position.
- The provider records a resting ECG using an ECG machine equipped with SAECG software.
- The SAECG software collects information about the low amplitude electrical activity of the patient’s heart.
- The provider analyzes the results and averages them to identify small variances.
- The provider interprets the results as positive or negative and documents them in the patient’s record.
4. Qualifying circumstances
CPT 93278 is used when a patient requires monitoring of their heart rhythm using SAECG. This may be necessary when the typical ECG tracing is unable to record low-amplitude electrical activity in the heart. The provider must analyze the results and interpret them as positive or negative to determine the patient’s risk of potentially dangerous arrhythmias.
5. When to use CPT code 93278
CPT code 93278 should be used when a patient requires monitoring of their heart rhythm using SAECG. It is important to note that this code represents the technical and professional components of the service, including the recording and analysis of the SAECG results. If only the interpretation and report of the SAECG are provided, CPT code 93278 should be reported with modifier 26.
6. Documentation requirements
To support a claim for CPT 93278, the provider must document the following information:
- Resting ECG recording using SAECG software
- Analysis of the SAECG results and identification of small variances
- Interpretation of the results as positive or negative
- Documentation of the results in the patient’s record
7. Billing guidelines
When billing for CPT 93278, ensure that the service includes both the technical and professional components of the SAECG. If only the interpretation and report of the SAECG are provided, use modifier 26. It is important to follow the specific guidelines provided by the payer to ensure accurate and appropriate billing for this service.
8. Historical information
CPT 93278 was added to the Current Procedural Terminology system on January 1, 1992. There have been no updates to the code since its addition.
- A cardiologist performing signal-averaged electrocardiography (SAECG) with an ECG for a patient with a history of arrhythmias.
- A cardiac technician recording a resting ECG using SAECG software for a patient with suspected ventricular arrhythmias.
- An electrophysiologist analyzing the SAECG results and interpreting them as positive for late potentials in a patient with a high risk of ventricular arrhythmias.
- A cardiovascular surgeon documenting the SAECG results in the patient’s record and discussing the implications with the patient.
- A primary care physician ordering SAECG with an ECG for a patient with unexplained syncope episodes.
- A cardiac nurse monitoring the SAECG results over time and comparing them to previous recordings for a patient with a known arrhythmia.
- A medical coder reviewing the documentation and accurately assigning CPT code 93278 for the SAECG service provided.
- A healthcare administrator ensuring that the billing for CPT code 93278 follows the appropriate guidelines and modifiers.
- A patient undergoing SAECG with an ECG and receiving a detailed report of the results from their cardiologist.
- A researcher using SAECG to study the effectiveness of a new medication in reducing the risk of ventricular arrhythmias.