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Healthcare Insights

Top 10 pulmonary procedures in 2021

Healthy Lung Month is observed every October to raise awareness about lung disease and pulmonary wellness. Lung disease is any problem in the lungs that prevents the lungs from working properly.  The global burden of respiratory diseases is staggering. One type of lung disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), causes more than 3.2 million deaths annually, according to the World Health Organization.

Improving the quality of life in patients with pulmonary conditions begins with proper treatment. From pulmonary function tests to treatment for airway obstruction, we’ve compiled a list of the top procedures related to pulmonary diseases based on 2021 claims data.

Top 10 pulmonary procedures with the most claims in 2021

RankHCPCS/CPT codeHCPCS/CPT code description% total proceduresExplore dataset
194760Noninvasive ear or pulse oximetry for oxygen saturation; single determination24.70%Explore
294640Airway inhalation treatment14.40%Explore
394010Breathing capacity test11.50%Explore
494729Co/membrane diffuse capacity10.80%Explore
594060Evaluation of wheezing9.80%Explore
694726Pulmonary function test, plethysmography7.00%Explore
794761Noninvasive ear or pulse oximetry for oxygen saturation; multiple3.60%Explore
894664Evaluate patient use of inhaler2.90%Explore
994727Pulmonary function test by gas2.90%Explore
1094618Pulmonary stress testing2.40%Explore

Fig. 1 Data is from the 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 September 2022.

What were the most common pulmonary procedures performed in 2021?

Pulmonary function tests (PFTs) held seven of the top ten positions for most pulmonary procedures performed last year, representing more than 60% of total procedures. Physicians use PFTs to assess the state of the pulmonary system and diagnose and monitor respiratory conditions.

CPT code 94760 (noninvasive ear or pulse oximetry for oxygen saturation; single determination) was the most frequently performed procedure in 2021, accounting for 24.7% of pulmonary procedures. This procedure is used to measure the amount of oxygen in the blood.

CPT code 94640 (airway inhalation treatment) came in second, representing 14.4% of pulmonary procedures last year. This procedure code describes the treatment of acute airway obstruction or sputum induction for diagnostic purposes. Inhalation treatments for airway obstruction are an important part of care for patients with asthma and other respiratory conditions.

Third on the list, CPT code 94010 (breathing capacity test), accounted for 11.5% of pulmonary procedures performed in 2021. This procedure, which measures airflow during exhalation, is the basis of most pulmonary function testing.

What is a pulmonologist?

A pulmonologist is a physician who specializes in the respiratory system. Pulmonologists diagnose and treat medical conditions related to the lungs and other respiratory system organs. Conditions commonly treated include asthma, COPD, emphysema, lung cancer, pulmonary hypertension, and more.

Which diagnostic procedures are typically used in pulmonology?

Common pulmonary diagnostic tests include:

  • Bronchoscopy 

  • Chest X-ray 

  • CT scan 

  • Endobronchial ultrasound 

  • Exhaled nitric oxide test 

  • Lung biopsy 

  • Plethysmography 

  • Pulse oximetry 

  • Spirometry 

Learn more

Healthcare Insights are developed with healthcare commercial intelligence from the Definitive Healthcare platform. Want even more insights? Start a free trial now and get access to the latest healthcare commercial intelligence on hospitals, physicians, and other healthcare providers.