February 22 is observed as “National Heart Valve Awareness Day” in the United States. Sponsored by the Alliance for Aging Research (AAR), the annual day is dedicated to increasing awareness about the specific risks and symptoms of heart valve disease (HVD), improve detection and treatment, and ultimately save lives. HVD involves damage to one or more of the heart’s valves. Treatment for this condition depends on the specific heart valve affected and the type and severity of the disease. In some cases, heart valve disease requires surgery to repair or replace the heart valve. If left untreated, heart valve disease can cause severe complications, including – heart failure, stroke, blood clots, heart rhythm abnormalities and even death. Accurate documentation of HVD is vital to ensure proper patient care and physician reimbursement. Cardiologists treating this condition can consider utilizing medical billing services from a reputable provider to meet their claim submission tasks.

Reports suggest that more than 5 million people in the United States are estimated to have HVD and more than 22,000 Americans die from HVD every year. Heart valve disorders tend to increase with age, with about 1 in 8 people aged 75 years and older estimated to have moderate to severe HVD. As the symptoms associated with HVD can be difficult to detect, these are too often dismissed as a normal part of aging – the need for generating widespread awareness about the disease through this campaign is critical.

The 2021 one-day campaign aims to generate heart valve disease awareness throughout the year and aim to collaborate and amplify each other’s messages. With proper education and advocacy, the campaign aims to reduce the number of people with HVD who lose their independence and ability to participate in all aspects of their lives. In some cases, heart valve disease may be present at birth (congenital). On the other hand, it can also occur in adults due to factors like chronic lung infections and other related heart conditions. People with HVD may not experience any specific symptoms for years. In certain other cases, symptoms like – abnormal sound (heart murmur), abdominal swelling, chest pain, irregular heartbeat, dizziness, shortness of breath, swelling of the ankles and feet and fatigue may occur. In addition, several other factors like old age, high blood pressure/cholesterol, infections and history of heart conditions can increase the potential chances of complications.

Diagnosis of the heart valve disorder (HVD) may begin with a physical examination to evaluate the signs and symptoms of the condition in detail. Physicians may also perform additional tests like – echocardiography, electrocardiogram (ECG), chest X-ray, cardiac MRI, cardiac catheterization and other types of stress tests to diagnose the condition in detail. HVD treatment modalities may depend on the type and severity of the condition. In severe cases, cardiologists may recommend – heart valve surgery (to repair or replace the diseased heart valve) and heart valve replacement (to remove the damaged valve and replace it with a mechanical valve).

Cardiologists and other specialists must correctly document the symptoms, diagnosis, screening procedures and other treatments administered for HVD using the right medical codes. Outsourcing billing and coding to a reputable physician billing company can ensure timely claim submissions for accurate reimbursement. ICD-10 diagnosis codes for heart valve disorders include –

  • I34 Nonrheumatic mitral valve disorders
  • I35 Nonrheumatic aortic valve disorders
  • I36 Nonrheumatic tricuspid valve disorders
  • I37 Nonrheumatic pulmonary valve disorders
  • I38 Endocarditis, valve unspecified
  • I39 Endocarditis and heart valve disorders in diseases classified elsewhere

The National Heart Valve Disease (HVD) Awareness Day campaign was initiated in the year 2017. The 2021 campaign – which marks its fourth year – is a unique platform to recognize the seriousness of the disease and understand the fact that HVD symptoms are often difficult to detect. Every year, Heart Valve Disease awareness day falls within the American Heart Month. The latter is an initiative created to bring awareness to the nationwide problem of heart and blood vessel diseases, and how it severely impacts people of all age groups. On this day, the campaign partners – including 89 non-profits, advocacy organizations, professional societies, and hospitals and heart centers – are focused on planning activities to spread the word about heart valve disease. Campaign partners will receive regular updates about the observance, connect with other partners, and be invited to attend all campaign events.

People can participate in this campaign by – spreading the word about the campaign (through social media platforms, websites, newsletters and blogs, organizing healthcare events); or incorporating messaging into existing events about HVD and the importance of early detection and treatment; and engaging the media to bring more attention to the events and initiatives. People can also share their personal stories and read others’ stories by using #ValveDiseaseDay and #ListenToYourHeart. People can also spread the word about the campaign via social media platforms like Facebook – by changing their profile picture for Facebook for Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day.