Cardiology Coding Alert

Reader Questions:

Puzzle Out Aorta Graft Scenario

Question: My cardiologist opened the patient’s chest through a sternotomy and initiated cardiopulmonary bypass. They also induced hypothermia. My cardiologist evaluated the patient’s aortic valve, root, ascending aorta, and arch. They then identified the area of intimal dissection and excised the affected section of the ascending aorta. My cardiologist sewed a composite Dacron tube graft at the distal end near the origin of the aorta at the heart and connected the tube graft to the other end of the opened aorta to create a continuous path. Finally, they disconnected the bypass, rewarmed the patient, and closed the chest in layers with sutures. How should I report this procedure on my claim?

Nevada Subscriber

Answer: You should report 33858 (Ascending aorta graft, with cardiopulmonary bypass, includes valve suspension, when performed; for aortic dissection) on your claim.

Don’t miss: Code 33858 is an example of a graft procedure. With a graft, your cardiologist repairs or replaces defective or missing tissue or structures with artificial material, skin, part of a vessel, bone, or other tissue that is harvested and placed over or in a defect.