HCV Viral Load

CPT: 86803, 87522

Expected Turnaround Time

24 Hours

Turnaround time is defined as the usual number of days from the date of pickup of a specimen for testing to when the result is released to the ordering provider. In some cases, additional time should be allowed for additional confirmatory or additional reflex tests. Testing schedules may vary.

Specimen Requirements




SST (Serum)

Storage Instructions

Room Temp., Refrigerated (2-8 C)

Stability Requirements

Room temp. 72hrs, Refrigerated 7 days

Test Details

Additional Information

The viral load is how much hepatitis C virus (HCV) is in the blood. starting level can give a clue to chances of success with treatment. 

But the viral load measures only what’s happening in the blood, not the actual liver cells. It can’t show very well how serious the hep C is, how quickly it might worsen, or how well treatment is working. It also says nothing about the amount of damage or scarring in the liver. 

They check the blood for HCV’s genetic footprints. If any are found, it means that there is active hep C and that the viruses are multiplying. Viral load tests come in two types: 

  • Qualitative: This can confirm if a person has hep C or not. A positive test means it found HCV genetic code in the blood. Negative means it found no measurable virus. Qualitative tests are very sensitive, meaning that if there is a current hep C infection, the test will almost always find it. 
  • Quantitative: This is often called a hep C RNA test. It measures how much HCV is in about a drop of blood. Most labs now report the numbers as international units per milliliter (IU/mL). 


  1. Journal of Viral Hepatitis: “Expert opinion on the treatment of patients with chronic hepatitis C.” 
  2. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: “Viral Hepatitis: Frequently Asked Questions,” “Hepatitis C RNA Quantitative Testing.” 

Statement on Medical Necessity
All ordered tests should be medically necessary for the diagnosis or detection of disease, illness, impairment, symptom, syndrome, or disorder and the results should be used in the medical management and treatment decisions for the patient. Solaris requires ICD-10 codes with each order for lab testing and both the tests ordered and the diagnosis should be documented in the provider’s medical record for the patient. The United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, takes the position that a provider who orders medically unnecessary tests may be subject to civil penalties.

Panels and Profiles
Solaris offers Providers the convenience of ordering test combinations in a group at times with the flexibility to choose appropriate test(s) for individual patients. Providers should only order those tests that he or she believes are medically necessary for each patient, and a lesser inclusive profile or individual tests should be ordered if not all tests in the test combination/profile are medically necessary. All tests offered in a test combination/profile may be ordered separately as individual tests. Solaris encourages clients to contact their Solaris representative if the testing configurations shown do not meet individual needs for any reason, or if some other combination of procedures is needed.

CPT Codes
CPT Codes listed are in accordance with Current Procedural Terminology, a publication of the American Medical Association. CPT codes are the responsibility of the billing party and are listed here for informational purposes. Correct coding may vary from one carrier to another. Solaris may bill specific carriers using codes other than what is shown.


For questions or inquiries related to testing please reach out to
customerservice@solarisdx.com or contact us by phone at (844) 550-0308.