January 2017 Q & A

Question: 32551 vs 32557

IR chest tube placement. 

Indication: Large symptomatic right pneumothorax status post CT-guided lung biopsy. 

Technique: The patient was placed supine on the fluoroscopy table. The right hemithorax was prepped and draped in a sterile fashion. The fifth and sixth rib interspace was localized with fluoroscopy, and 1% lidocaine was utilized for local anesthesia. A Cook pneumothorax 9 French drainage catheter was placed into the right pleural space using a trocar under direct fluoroscopic surveillance. The drain was then connected to a Heimlich valve, and good reexpansion of the right lung was achieved after the patient coughed. Postprocedural images demonstrate a small residual right apical pneumothorax with the drainage catheter overlying the anterior midlung zone. 

Impression: Successful placement of 9 French chest tube with satisfactory re-expansion of the right lung.

 

Answer:

Code 32557 describes the placement of an indwelling catheter into the pleural space with imaging guidance for drainage of air (pneumothorax), fluid or infection, and covers this procedure. Code 32551 is for “OPEN” chest tube placement, usually by a surgeon, with a large, usually about 30Fr or so chest tube.