Q: Interventional radiologists are doing more and more arterial procedures via radial artery access. Is it appropriate to report code 36217 when using radial artery access for arterial procedures such as UAEs, TACEs and radioembolizations?
A: The short answer is no. Code 36217 is used to report subselection of a third order branch of the thoracic or brachiocephalic branch within a vascular family when the vessel is accessed proximal to distal (from a second order branch into a third order branch). Using the radial artery for arterial access, in a distal to proximal direction, should thus not be reported with 36217. This is the same as traditional coding conventions used for common femoral arterial access, in which 36247 is not reported for ipsilateral “distal to proximal” access into the aorta for arterial procedures. When using radial artery access, the codes reported depend on which vessels are ultimately selected for the procedure (e.g., 36215 for a main bronchial artery, 36245 for the celiac axis, 36247 for a uterine artery, etc.).
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