Top 20 noninvasive vascular diagnostic study procedures 

Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide, representing about 32% of global deaths in 2019, according to the World Health Organization

Successful management of cardiovascular disease begins with detection—the earlier, the better. Using noninvasive vascular diagnostic studies, healthcare providers can identify diseases of the heart and blood vessels early, with minimal risk or preparation on the patient’s part.  

What is a noninvasive vascular study?  

Noninvasive vascular studies are diagnostic procedures that examine arteries and veins using ultrasound technology rather than needles or imaging contrast dye.  

These painless procedures help providers determine the presence of disease, its location, and how far it has progressed.  

Below, we’ve compiled a list of the top noninvasive vascular diagnostic studies by total procedure volume based on 2021 claims data. 

Most common noninvasive vascular study procedures in 2020 

Rank HCPCS/CPT Code HCPCS/CPT Description # Total Procedures
1 93971 Duplex scan of extremity veins, unilateral 2,670,621
2 93970 Duplex scan of extremity veins, complete bilateral 2,168,195
3 93880 Extracranial artery study, bilateral 1,866,967
4 93922 Upper/lower extremity study, 2 levels 1,079,280
5 93976 VASCULAR STUDY 732,750
6 93975 VASCULAR STUDY  714,248
7 93925 LOWER EXTREMITY STUDY 650,866
8 93923 UPR/LXTR ART STDY 3+ LVLS 424,971
9 93926 LOWER EXTREMITY STUDY 263,398
10 93978 VASCULAR STUDY 239,127
11 93886 INTRACRANIAL COMPLETE STUDY 135,822
12 93990 DOPPLER FLOW TESTING 90,728
13 93890 TCD VASOREACTIVITY STUDY 68,043
14 93892 TCD EMBOLI DETECT W/O INJ 64,178
15 93979 VASCULAR STUDY 63,616
16 93924 LWR XTR VASC STDY BILAT 60,602
17 93931 UPPER EXTREMITY STUDY 51,902
18 93882 EXTRACRANIAL UNI/LTD STUDY 35,884
19 93930 UPPER EXTREMITY STUDY 25,476
20 93985 DUP-SCAN HEMO COMPL BI STD 24,226

Fig 1. – Data from Definitive Healthcare ClaimsMx product for calendar year 2021. Claims data is sourced from multiple medical claims clearinghouses in the United States and is updated monthly. Data is accurate as of August 2022. 

Which noninvasive vascular study procedure was performed most in 2021?  

A limited or unilateral duplex scan of extremity veins was the most-performed noninvasive vascular study procedure in 2021, with 2.67 million procedures performed that year.  

The complete bilateral duplex scan of extremity veins came in second, with over 2.16 million procedures performed in 2021.  

Venous duplex scans use the high-frequency sound waves of ultrasound technology to examine the veins that return blood to the heart. These procedures may capture images of the upper extremities, such as the neck, arms, and wrists, or the lower extremities, including the legs and feet. Likewise, they may target one side of the body (limited/unilateral) or both sides (complete bilateral).  

Unilateral and bilateral venous duplex scans can help healthcare providers identify common cardiovascular disorders, including blood clots, deep vein thrombosis, and chronic venous insufficiency.  

What types of vascular tests are there?  

Several kinds of noninvasive vascular tests exist, but the three most common are used to study veins, carotid arteries, and renal arteries.  

Venous ultrasounds typically examine extremities for blood clots or to determine the source of extremity pain caused by physical activity.  

Carotid ultrasounds measure arterial blood flow to the brain and can help predict or prevent stroke. Extracranial artery studies, the third most-performed noninvasive vascular studies in 2021, often examine the carotid arteries. 

Renal artery ultrasounds measure blood flow to the kidneys and are usually ordered for patients with severe hypertension.  

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