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Medical billing services, PFO coding, medical coding guidelines, Patent Foramen Ovale, Cardiology billing

What Medical Coders should know about Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) for spot-on reimbursement

Approximately one-quarter of adults have a 'patent' foramen ovale (PFO). A quarter of adults have an undiagnosed PFO, which can be problematic!

This article covers 2023 PFO coding for excellent cardiology reimbursement!

What is PFO?

A ‘foramen ovale’ is an opening that allows blood to go around the lungs in developmental stages. Which later closes and its functionality is replaced by lungs post-birth. PFO is a congenital malformation that persists despite lung maturation.

Describing PFO

PFO, for the most part, stays dormant, without causing any problems. Until some complications and comorbidities force it to come to the surface. PFO may require diagnostic and interventional measures.


PFO is often diagnosed incidentally during tests for other health issues. Mostly, cryptogenic ischemic stroke is a neurological concern, for example. This might lead to further investigation, including imaging and tests to confirm diagnosis.

ICD-10-CM Diagnosis Codes that could be used:

163.9 – Stroke / Cerebral infarction, unspecified

Z86.73 – History of TIA and cerebral infarction without deficits

G43.909 – Migraine Prevention

R51.9 – Headaches

Q21.21 – Partial atrioventricular septal defect

Medical notes documenting the following, when applicable:

  • History and co-morbid medical condition(s)
  • Documentation of member’s symptoms
  • Complete report(s) of diagnostic imaging (MRI, CT scan, x-rays)
  • Diagnostic tests to rule out other causes like carotid disease, hypercoagulability, & atrial fibrillation.
  • Evaluation by cardiologist and neurologist agreeing the stroke is likely embolic.

How PFO is treated?

Most PFOs don't require treatment until adulthood. Pediatric cardiology follow-up can identify PFO early.


When treatment for a PFO is needed, it may include:

  • Therapeutic Intervention
  • Diagnostic/Interventional via Catheterization and PCI
  • Surgical Intervention for Closure

PFO/ASO Closure with ICE (93580 with 93662):

Bill ICE-guided PFO closure with CPT 93580 (CardioSEALs, AMPLATZER™ Occluder, etc.). Bill 93580 has ICE/TEE codes if echocardiography was performed during PFO closure.

ASDs and VSDs

The implantation of the Amplatzer device should be reported under procedure code 93580. Codes 93580 & 93581 do not include right heart catheterization & contrast injections for angiograms. Do not report these codes separately with 93580, 93581, or 93799.

  • Use code 93581 for percutaneous closure with CardioSeal device implantation.
  • Report closure of single ventricular septal defects with codes 33681, 33684, and 33688.
  • Use codes 33675, 33676, and 33677 for closure of multiple ventricular septal defects.

The following codes may be reported for ASD, VSD, or combined ASD and VSD repairs. The code tips outline associated terms and include work components.

Codes for ASD, VSD, and combined ASD/VSD repairs vary.

The code that most accurately describes the procedure performed should be reported. Use code 33647 for combined ASD and VSD repair; do not report separate ASD and VSD repair codes.

Atrial Septal Defect Repairs

33641 - Repair atrial septal defect with cardiopulmonary bypass, with or without patch.

33645 - Closure of sinus venous ASD with & without anomalous pulmonary venous drainage.

  • Can't be used with 33724 - partial anomalous pulmonary venous connection (scimitar syndrome)
  • Can't be used with 33726 - pulmonary venous stenosis

There is no code for the repair of multiple ASDs, as there is for the closure of multiple VSDs (33675, 33676, and 33677). Report code 33641 only once for multiple ASD repairs in the same session. There is a medically unlikely edit (MUE) of “1” for Medicaid and Medicare for the ASD and VSD codes. MUE is the maximum reportable units on the same date. Report different ASD types separately, e.g., 33641 and 33660.

33660 - Repair of partial atrioventricular canal (ostium primum ASD), ± valve repair.

  • Ostium Primum ASD
  • Atrioventricular (AV) septal defect or endocardial cushion defect
  • Use 33641-51 with unbundling modifier for additional secundum ASD or PFO repairs.
  • Repair of the common atrium or partition of the common atrium—use 33641 or 33660
  • Can't be used with mitral valve repair or annuloplasty codes

33665 - Use 33641-51 with unbundling modifier for additional secundum ASD or PFO repairs.

Check bundling edits; some code combinations require 51 and an unbundling modifier.

Restrictive VSD component

Ventricular Septal Defect Repairs

  • 33681 - Closure of ventricular septal defect, with or without patch; (includes suture closure)
  • 33684 - with pulmonary valvotomy or infundibular resection (cyanotic)—double-chambered right ventricle
  • 33688 - with the removal of pulmonary artery band, with or without gusset
  • 33675 - Closure of multiple ventricular septal defects;
  • 33676 - with pulmonary valvotomy or infundibular resection (cyanotic)
  • 33677 - with removal of pulmonary artery band, with or without gusset

Combined ASD and VSD Repair

33647 - Repair of ASD and VSD with direct or patch closure.

We can't use 63 modifiers (Procedure Performed on Infants less than 4 kg).

The same code is used for ASD or VSD closure, whether sutured or patched. Use 33675-77 once for multiple VSDs; no 33681-88 with 33675-77.

Final Take

Employer or private insurance usually covers PFO closure. Check the insurance policy for coverage criteria and exclusions. Following up with proper documentation also helps in accurate codes and excellent reimbursement. Follow up with coverage determinant policy for related procedures to ensure CMS-compliant billing.

AltuMED is one of the leading Medical Billing Services and Solutions Companies in the Healthcare industry. Our Medical Billing and Coding experts are committed to helping you improve the accuracy, efficiency, and productivity of your Medical Practice. Contact us to find out more!

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