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Electron Beam Computed Tomography (EBCT) for Screening Evaluations


Electron beam computed tomography (EBCT) performed as a screening tool to quantify the amount of calcium in the coronary arteries or to predict the risk for development of coronary artery disease is considered not medically necessary and, therefore, not covered because the available published peer-reviewed literature does not support its use in the diagnosis or treatment of illness or injury.


There is no Medicare coverage determination addressing this service; therefore, the Company policy is applicable.


Subject to the terms and conditions of the applicable Evidence of Coverage, electron beam computed tomography (EBCT) is not eligible for payment under the medical benefits of the Company’s Medicare Advantage products because the service is considered not medically necessary and, therefore, not covered.


Electron beam computed tomography (EBCT), which is also known as ultrafast CT, cine-computerized x-ray tomography, and high-speed computed x-ray tomography, uses an electron beam gun to permit very rapid scanning that creates images by rotating a standard x-ray tube around an individual. The data is gathered into a continuous spiral or helix rather than individual slices. EBCT's speed of image acquisition allows for unique imaging of the heart.

EBCT software permits quantification of calcium area and density, which are translated into calcium scores. Calcium scores have been investigated as a technique for detecting coronary artery calcification. For symptomatic individuals, calcium scores are a diagnostic technique to help determine the necessity of coronary angiography. For asymptomatic individuals, calcium scores are viewed as a screening tool for coronary artery disease. However, current evidence in the peer-reviewed literature does not establish that EBCT results in improved health outcomes. High-quality evidence is lacking comparing the use of coronary artery calcium screening to other methods of enhanced risk prediction. Additionally, Guidelines published jointly by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association indicate that for asymptomatic individuals, studies have not shown that the detection of coronary artery calcification improves upon the prognostic information from risk factor models such as the Framingham Heart Study or the National Cholesterol Education Program-III.


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HCPCS Level II Code Number(s)
S8092 Electron beam computed tomography (also known as Ultrafast CT, Cine CT)

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Coding and Billing Requirements

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Medical Policy Bulletin
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