The 20th National GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) week is observed from November 24 – 30 in the United States. It comes just in time for Thanksgiving – an occasion when many Americans may experience heartburn associated with overeating. However, if heartburn occurs more frequently, it must be a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) – a common digestive disorder. GERD occurs when the stomach acid backs up or refluxes into the esophagus (the tube connecting the mouth and stomach). Also called acid regurgitation, this condition can cause a burning sensation (known as heartburn) in the chest. Sponsored by the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD), the week-long campaign is dedicated to bringing awareness to a growing disease which affects roughly 20 percent of Americans. Many people suffering from this disorder experience mild acid reflux from time to time – that occurs at least once or twice a week. Managing the symptoms of this disorder requires incorporating significant lifestyle changes along with over-the-counter medications. Documenting this digestive condition requires correct recording of all the symptoms and treatments provided. Medical billing services offered by a reliable provider can help gastroenterologists ensure accurate and timely claim filing and reimbursement.

GERD is caused by frequent acid reflux, which occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) does not tighten or close properly. This allows the digestive juices and other contents from the stomach to rise up into the esophagus. The condition often occurs as a result of overeating, lying down after eating, or eating particular foods. Reports from the American College of Gastroenterology suggest that GERD affects at least 15 million Americans. If left untreated, this gastric disorder can lead to serious complications such as narrowing of the esophagus, esophageal ulcer and precancerous changes to the esophageal structure (known as Barrett’s esophagus).

The week-long campaign offers a unique platform to inform, assist and support people affected by this serious gastrointestinal disorder. It encourages people experiencing the symptoms, which may be GERD-related, to consult their physicians immediately to receive information and support regarding the condition. Heartburn or a burning sensation in your chest, usually after eating (which might become worse at night) is one of the prominent symptoms associated with the condition. Other symptoms include chest pain, regurgitation of food or sour liquid, difficulty swallowing, nausea or vomiting, and a sensation of a lump in your throat.

GERD occurs among people of all age groups. However, it is more commonly seen in people who are obese or overweight, pregnant women, active or secondhand smokers and people who consume certain medications including antidepressants, sedatives, calcium channel blockers and antihistamines. The condition is diagnosed using several tests like – Upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscope, Esophageal manometry, Ambulatory acid (pH) probe test and Upper GI series X-ray. In addition, a detailed physical examination and review of symptoms is done before carrying out the diagnostic tests.

Incorporating significant lifestyle changes (like maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking and reducing stress) along with over-the-counter medications can help reduce the symptoms. However, surgery may be recommended as a last option if the above lifestyle modifications do not improve the symptoms of GERD, or medications do not show the expected results. Gastroenterologists or other specialists while treating patients with GERD must report the symptoms, diagnosis screening tests and other treatment procedures and document the same with the correct medical codes. Gastroenterology medical billing and coding services help physicians report the correct medical codes for their billing purposes.

ICD-10 Codes

  • K21 – Gastro-esophageal reflux disease
  • K21.0 – Gastro-esophageal reflux disease with esophagitis
  • K21.9 – Gastro-esophageal reflux disease without esophagitis

CPT Codes

  • 43200 – Esophagoscopy, diagnostic
  • 43201 – Esophagoscopy flexible, transoral; with directed submucosal injection(s), any substance
  • 43210 – Esophagogastroduodenoscopy, flexible, transoral; with esophagogastric fundoplasty, partial or complete, includes duodenoscopy when performed
  • 43236 – Esophagogastroduodenoscopy, flexible, transoral; with directed submucosal injection(s), any substance
  • 43241 – Esophagogastroduodenoscopy, flexible, transoral; with insertion of intraluminal tube or catheter
  • 43257 – Esophagogastroduodenoscopy, flexible, transoral; with delivery of thermal energy to the muscle of lower esophageal sphincter and/or gastric cardia, for treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • 43284 – Laparoscopy, surgical, esophageal sphincter augmentation procedure, placement of sphincter augmentation device (i.e., magnetic band), including cruroplasty when performed
  • 43289 – Unlisted laparoscopy procedure, esophagus
  • 43499 – Unlisted procedure, esophagus
  • 43999 – Unlisted procedure, stomach

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) Awareness Week was first designated by IFFGD in November 1999. The event is listed on the United States National Health Observances calendar. The week-long observance is a great platform to educate people about the role of diet that helps in preventing GERD and related conditions. By understanding about the foods and beverages that can help support a healthier gastrointestinal system, it may be possible to not just control the GERD symptoms, but also to heal the body over time.

Health professionals, teachers, community groups, and others use this observance to sponsor health promotion events and stimulate awareness of health issues. As part of the event, IFFGD has developed free resources including print materials, graphic pages, posters and animated images to educate people about the risk factors and symptoms of GERD and the importance of early detection of symptoms. Individuals and organizations can also participate in this event by sharing posts, images and/or videos about the week-long observance via various social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube.

Participate in GERD Awareness Week from November 24-30. Spread information about the symptoms, risk factors and treatment options of this chronic, digestive disorder.