When the catheter is indwelling (ie, left in place after the procedure), report either code 32556 (pleural drainage, percutaneous, with insertion of indwelling catheter; without imaging guidance) or 32557 (pleural drainage, percutaneous, with insertion of indwelling catheter; with imaging guidance). When a pigtail catheter is used for pleural drainage but removed at the end of the procedure, see code 32554 (thoracentesis, needle or catheter, aspiration of the pleural space; without imaging guidance) or 32555 (thoracentesis, needle or catheter, aspiration of the pleural space; with imaging guidance).

For a consultation, an inpatient consultation code (99251–99255) is appropriate, or, in a case in which the payer does not allow payment of consultation codes, an initial hospital care code (99221–99223) could be selected; check with your payer, as some will require a subsequent hospital care code (99231–99233). In either case, codes may be selected based on the...

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