CPT Code 76706 - Screening for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA)

Looking for CPT codes? CPT code 76706 codes for a special screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) recommended by the USPSTF.

CPT Code 76706 guidelines: a special screening for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) for men 65-75 with a history of smoking.

What is CPT Code 76706?

CPT Code 76706 codes for screening of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) in individuals who are at high risk for developing the condition.

This screening test may include a physical exam, imaging tests such as an ultrasound or CT scan, or a combination of both.

CPT® code 76706: Ultrasound, abdominal aorta, real time with image documentation, screening study for abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA)

(Shorthand: Us abdl aorta screen AAA.)

What is Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA)?

An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is a weak spot in the aorta, the main artery that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body, which can cause the artery to bulge or balloon out. If left untreated, an AAA can rupture, leading to serious complications or death.

What does it Cover? CPT Code 76706 Description

Code 76706 is used to code specifically for a screening test that is recommended by the US Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF).

For men aged 65 to 75 who have smoked in their lifetime, the USPSTF recommends a one-time screening test for AAA by ultrasonography. This test uses ultrasound around the heart to check for blood flow in the abdominal aorta and detect any abnormalities.

While there are many codes to bill for services and imagery of the aorta in general, 76706 is solely for the purpose of the recommended USPSTF one-time screening test.

CPT Code 76706 Guidelines

Code 76706 is one of many codes for aortic imaging and examination. Read on to find out if 76706 is the right code for your situation.

When the procedure is a USPSTF Screening

Code 76706 codes specifically for USPSTF-supported screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm.

However, because it pertains only to this USPSTF screening test, CPT code 76706 may not be appropriate if the individual being screened does not meet the USPSTF guidelines for AAA screening or if the screening test is being performed for a different reason, such as to diagnose an AAA that has already been detected.

76706 is also only used to bill for the screening test itself, and so any any follow-up tests or treatments for an AAA detected through the screening process would not be included under 76706 (they would be billed using separate CPT codes).

When the procedure is not a USPSTF screening

Though the USPSTF screening does use an ultrasound to test for the presence of an aortic aneurysm, it is not the only code that does so.

If your procedure involves an aortic ultrasound, but is not specifically a USPSTF screening, try the following similar codes:

  • 76770 (Ultrasound, retroperitoneal), real-time with image documentation; complete:  used to bill for an ultrasound of the abdomen, involving most if not all of the: kidneys, abdominal aorta, common iliac artery, inferior vena cava, ureters, bladder, and renal pelvis.
  • 76775 (Ultrasound, retroperitoneal), real-time with image documentation; limited: used to bill for an ultrasound of the abdomen, involving some but not all of the: kidneys, abdominal aorta, common iliac artery, inferior vena cava, ureters, ballder, and renal pelvis.

Use only code 76706 to code for this 1-time recommended screening for former smokers age 65-75.

CPT Code 93978 vs 76706

This is a great example of the differentiation mentioned above.

Though both 93978 and 76706 code for types of scans of the aorta and surrounding area, they type of examination they code for differs very precisely.

CPT code 93978 codes for Duplex scan of aorta, inferior vena cava, iliac vasculature, or bypass grafts; complete study, while code 76706 codes for the USPSTF-specific one-time ultrasound screening used to test for AAA.

Additionally, code 93978 is a duplex scan, meaning it uses two ultrasound devices: a standard ultrasound to create an image of blood vessels, and a Doppler ultrasound to measure speed and flow. Code 76706 uses only the traditional ultrasound.

CPT code 76706 is relatively new, having been established by a multispecialty group including radiology, cardiology, and vascular surgery in 2017.

This may explain why there is some confusion between the two codes. Before 2017, 93978 was frequently used for all ultrasound procedures involving the aorta in general.

After 2017, 76706 was introduced, and became the more appropriate choice for screenings for abdominal aortic aneurysm.

It's important to be specific because these preventative procedures are covered by insurance under special conditions set out by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). If your case matches these specific conditions, feel free to go ahead and code your screening as 76706.

However, if your scenario is more general, involves multiple organs, utilizes a Doppler ultrasound as well as a static ultrasound, or is not specifically for men between the ages of 65 and 75 with a history of smoking, consider using a different code for ultrasound of the abdomen, like 76775 or 76770.

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