Search all medical codes

Breathing circuits

HCPCS code

Name of the Procedure:

Breathing Circuits (A4618)

  • Common Name: Breathing tubes, Respiratory circuits
  • Technical or Medical Terms: Respiratory breathing circuit, Anesthesia breathing circuit


Breathing circuits are systems of tubing used to deliver gas, including oxygen and anesthesia, to patients during medical procedures that require ventilation support. These circuits can be used in various settings, from intensive care units to operating rooms.


Breathing circuits are used to support breathing in patients who require assistance due to medical conditions such as respiratory failure, during anesthesia in surgeries, or in any situation where normal breathing is compromised. The primary goal is to ensure a continuous supply of necessary gases to the patient's lungs.


  • Acute or chronic respiratory failure
  • Surgeries requiring general anesthesia
  • Conditions leading to compromised airway or ventilation (e.g., severe pneumonia, COPD exacerbations)
  • Need for mechanical ventilation


  • Ensure the patient is comfortable and informed about the procedure.
  • Depending on the procedure, pre-anesthesia evaluation may be necessary.
  • Verify the integrity and functionality of the breathing circuit before use.
  • Fast if required, especially before surgeries involving anesthesia.
  • Continuously monitor vital signs.

Procedure Description

  1. Setup:
    • Assemble the breathing circuit components, including tubes, mask or endotracheal tube, and connectors.
    • Connect the circuit to a ventilator or anesthesia machine.
  2. Application:
    • Place the mask over the patient's face or insert the endotracheal tube into the patient's airway.
    • Secure the connections to ensure no gas leaks.
    • Start the flow of gases as prescribed (oxygen, anesthetics, etc.).
  3. Monitoring:
    • Continuously monitor the patient’s breathing, gas exchange, and vital signs using attached sensors and monitors.
    • Adjust settings on the ventilator/anesthesia machine as needed.
Tools, Equipment, or Technology Used
  • Tubing and connectors (breathing circuit)
  • Masks or endotracheal tubes
  • Ventilator or anesthesia machine
  • Monitoring devices (e.g., oxygen sensors, capnography)
Anesthesia or Sedation Details
  • Local or general anesthesia may be used depending on the procedure.


  • Duration varies widely depending on the situation; from a few minutes during simple procedures to several hours during complex surgeries.


  • Hospital operating rooms, intensive care units, outpatient surgical centers, or specialized respiratory care facilities.


  • Anesthesiologists, respiratory therapists, surgeons, operating room nurses, and other support staff.

Risks and Complications

  • Common Risks: Discomfort, minor irritation, sore throat (if an endotracheal tube is used).
  • Rare Risks: Aspiration, infection, pneumothorax, accidental extubation, ventilator-associated lung injury.


  • Provides essential respiratory support, enabling life-saving interventions and surgeries.
  • Helps maintain adequate oxygenation and ventilation.
  • Expected benefits can be immediate, especially in critical care situations.


  • Observations: Vital signs, respiratory function, and overall recovery are monitored.
  • Post-procedure care: Might involve transitioning to less intensive respiratory support or weaning off ventilation.
  • Follow-up: Regular check-ups may be necessary to monitor respiratory recovery and the patient’s overall condition.


  • Non-invasive ventilation methods like CPAP or BiPAP for less severe cases.
  • Oxygen therapy via mask or nasal cannula.
  • Manual resuscitation using bag-valve masks in emergency situations.
Pros and Cons of Alternatives
  • Non-invasive methods are less intrusive but may not offer sufficient support in severe cases.
  • Oxygen therapy is simpler but ineffective for patients needing complete mechanical ventilation.

Patient Experience

  • During the procedure: Patients under anesthesia will not feel any discomfort. Awake patients may feel the insertion of a mask or tube and can experience some initial discomfort.
  • Post-procedure: May experience a sore throat, dry mouth, or mild respiratory discomfort. Pain management includes analgesics and comfort measures like humidified air.

Proper communication with the patient and their family, along with compassionate care, are integral to ensuring a positive experience and successful outcomes.

Similar Codes

Contact us to learn more

Choose your own adventure


Send us a message or questions and we can share more details.


Setup a calendar meeting with us; find a time now.