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Descriptions of Common Lab Tests and Their CPT Codes

written by: Leigh A. Zaykoski•edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski•updated: 1/31/2011

This list of lab test descriptions with CPT codes will help you learn more about common laboratory tests and how medical coding specialists code them using Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes.

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    Basic Metabolic Panel

    One of the most common tests you'll find on a list of lab test descriptions with CPT codes is the complete blood count. Doctors use the CBC to screen for conditions like infection and anemia. This test panel determines the number of white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets in the blood. It also measures the percentage of red blood cells in a whole volume of blood and indicates the amount of hemoglobin – the protein that carries oxygen in the blood – in the blood sample. If a physician orders a CBC with a differential, the white blood cell differential determines the number of different types of white blood cells in the sample. Coders use two CPT codes for the complete blood count. Code 85025 is for the automated CBC with platelet count, hemoglobin, hematocrit, red blood cell count and white blood cell count. Coders use 85027 for the automated CBC with an automated differential white blood cell count.

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    Lipid Panel

    The lipid panel consists of a group of tests that help doctors identify patients at risk for heart attack, heart disease or stroke. The panel usually includes triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL), total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL). An extended lipid panel includes non-HDL-C and very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (VLDL). Depending on the lab used, the lipid panel report may include information on disease risk based on the test results and other risk factors. The lipid panel has a CPT code of 80061.

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    Basic Metabolic Panel

    The basic metabolic panel helps medical professionals identify problems with the kidneys, electrolyte levels, blood glucose level and acid/base balance of the body. This panel includes tests for calcium, sodium, glucose, potassium, chloride, carbon dioxide, creatinine and BUN. The CPT code used for this test depends on how the test facility reports the calcium level. Coders use 80047 for a basic metabolic panel with ionized calcium. Code 80048 is for a basic metabolic panel with total calcium.

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    Comprehensive Metabolic Panel

    The comprehensive metabolic panel includes the eight components of the BMP, but it also gives doctors a picture of how well the liver is functioning. In addition to the BMP components, this panel includes albumin, total protein, bilirubin, alkaline phosphatase, alanine amino transferase and aspartate amino transferase. The comprehensive metabolic panel has a CPT code of 80053.

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    Blood Gases

    Physicians order blood gas testing to determine if the lungs function well enough to maintain normal levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood. Instead of drawing a blood sample from a vein, the phlebotomist draws the sample from an artery. This test can help diagnose acid/base imbalances, respiratory problems and oxygen/carbon dioxide imbalances. CPT code 82800 is for blood gases with pH only. Any combination of pH, pO2, HCO3, CO2 and pCO2 uses CPT code 82803. Code 82805 includes any combination of pH, pO2, HCO3, CO2 and pCO2 with oxygen saturation by direction measurement (not including pulse oximetry). Code 82810 refers to the direct measurement of oxygen saturation only, and does not include pulse oximetry.

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    Lab Tests Online: Lipid Profile

    Lab Tests Online: Basic Metabolic Panel

    Lab Tests Online: Comprehensive Metabolic Panel

    Lab Tests Online: Blood Gases

    American Medical Association: CPT Code Search