Radiology CPT codes and LOINC

Hi there,

I have one of our analysts mapping Radiology terms and she is using the CPT codes provided to determine the appropriate LOINC. Is this a bad strategy? Are the CPT codes for Radiology specific enough that they are a 1 to 1 match with LOINC codes? For the examples she has provided to me, I don’t see a problem with doing this but I’d like confirmation.


Susan Korsak MT (ASCP), MIS

Applications Specialist

Partners Healthcare Systems - CDR Team

So how do you know which CPT code matches to the LOINC codes? I have just been assigned to do the same thing and am not sure how to proceed. I have the list of CPT codes for our radiology studies but still it seems that I will have to base the matches off of naming convention.

Mickie Nail, MNSc, RN

Ancillary Application Analyst

Jefferson Regional Medical Center

Using CPT codes is not the best method for matching your terms to LOINC, but I can certainly understand why you would think so. The NLM actually has a Rad CPT to LOINC map that was done a while ago but have not published it due to lack of interest. I will let the NLM know of the interest to see if we can post a link here on this forum.

Some general rules to follow in the meantime are:

  1. Most of the LOINC terms have been built taking into consideration the Radiology section of the CPT (the 70000 series), with the main objective being the Radiology component of the CPT code. Therefore, you may not find LOINC codes, at this time, for the injection of contrast, or the ‘surgical’ component of interventional radiology terms.
  2. CPT does not take into consideration laterality, except with the use of modifiers. LOINC is explicit with this.
  3. CPT is also general in body location, such as Right Upper Quadrant. LOINC is more specific
  4. CPT does not always combine body sites, some LOINC terms do. This has been a debated issue, especially where it applies to CT.

    If you have any specific issues to discuss, this is a great place to post your question. If each of you are having an issue, chances are, others may be having the same problem.

    Also, there are some areas of Radiology that still need to be addressed. Again, your comments and feedback are helpful in providing updates to LOINC.


    Pat Wilson, RT(R), CPC, PMP

    3M HDD, Team Lead

Thanks, Pat. Your info was definitely helpful. If it helps further discussion, here is a how the CPT code has been used to assign a LOINC. Below is an exam description in the Partners CDR database.


The CPT code above refers to 2 views and the reports filed in our database show that 2 views were taken, so the analyst mapped the term to 37815-8 which is Tibia - right & Fibula - right X-ray 2 views.

I think this is a valid mapping even though the description doesn’t explicitly say 2 views.

  • Sue

I am seeking some assistance and guidance please. I am completely new to LOINC codes however, I have a good understanding of what they are and how they work. I have a client who provided a pdf of 39 orders they are having difficulty linking LOINC codes to. These are all radiology services. I recommended going back to the radiology provider to get the LOINC code. I did not feel comfortable giving the advise that it was “ok” to try to complete the mapping on a guess, based on the order description. Especially being a NON - clinician. Can you offer any advise on how we / they can get the LOINC codes mapped now??? They are on a very difficult time table of a few days.

Hi Alicia,

Did the client explain why they were having difficulty linking the codes? If we search through RELMA for method:XR, as an example, there are a variety of FIND/DOCs that vary only by Component (number of views/positioning/laterality) and System (body part). Without seeing the list, I would think the Component and System would line up to their order description. What was off for their attempt?


Hi Alicia,

I was entirely remiss in not pointing out the LOINC/RSNA Radiology Playbook file located on the LOINC website. The readme.text gives description on how to use the file. I hope that helps further for the looming deadline.

All the best,



I was searching for Covid LOINC code which i found in google but its not coming in portal while searching. Is portal not having all the COVID Loinc codes (for ex.<span style=“font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 10pt;”>94531-1,</span><span style=“font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 10pt;”>94532-9 etc)?</span>


Has the RSNA LOINC playbook been updated to LOINC version 2.72 yet?