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Topics in Practice Management |

Aerosol Therapy for Obstructive Lung DiseasesAerosol Therapy: Device Selection and Practice Management Issues

Michael W. Sims, MD
Author and Funding Information

From the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA.

Correspondence to: Michael W. Sims, MD, 4th Floor, Mutch Bldg, Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, 51 N 39th St, Philadelphia, PA 19104; e-mail: michael.sims@uphs.upenn.edu


Funding/Support: This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health [Grant HL093303].

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians (http://www.chestpubs.org/site/misc/reprints.xhtml).


© 2011 American College of Chest Physicians


Chest. 2011;140(3):781-788. doi:10.1378/chest.10-2068
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Published online

Inhaled aerosol therapies are the mainstay of treatment of obstructive lung diseases. Aerosol devices deliver drugs rapidly and directly into the airways, allowing high local drug concentrations while limiting systemic toxicity. While numerous clinical trials, literature reviews, and expert panel guidelines inform the choice of inhalational drugs, deciding which aerosol device (ie, metered-dose inhaler, nebulizer, or dry powder inhaler) best suits a given patient and clinical setting can seem arbitrary and confusing. Similar confusion regarding Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) coding for administration of aerosol therapies can lead to lost revenue from underbilling and wasted administrative effort handling denied claims. This article reviews the aerosol devices currently available, discusses their relative merits in various clinical settings, and summarizes appropriate CPT coding for aerosol therapy.


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