You Be the Coder: Abdominal Series- Published on Thu, Feb 01, 2001
Question: How do I code an abdominal series?
Test your coding knowledge. Determine how you would code this situation before looking at the box below for the answer.
Answer: Correctly coding these types of studies depends on which views are taken. A complete abdomen (CPT 74020 , radiologic examination, abdomen; complete, including decubitus and/or erect views) includes a view of the abdomen while the patient is lying on his back and one while he is standing. If for some reason the patient cannot stand, then a decubitus may be done in place of, or in addition to, the supine film. The abdominal series code (74022, complete acute abdomen series, including supine, erect, and/or decubitus views, upright PA chest) includes the images mentioned above and an upright PA or AP view of the chest. If, in addition, a lateral view of the chest is included with the chest x-ray, you would code 74020 and 71020 (radiologic examination, chest, two views, frontal and lateral).
These studies are often performed for abdominal pain (789.0x) or bowel obstruction (560.9), as well as to evaluate for free air in the peritoneal cavity.