Each year, the month of February is observed as “American Heart Month” – the perfect time to increase awareness about heart disease – the most pressing health concern in the United States. Sponsored by the American Heart Association (AHA), this federally designated event is an ideal platform to remind Americans to focus on their hearts and make positive changes in their lifestyle. Regarded as the leading cause of death for both men and women nationwide, heart disease kills an estimated 630,000 Americans each year. In fact, in the United States, the most common type of heart disease is coronary heart disease (CHD), which can lead to a heart attack. CHD (also called coronary artery disease or CAD) develops when the coronary arteries – the vessels that supply oxygen and blood to the heart – become too narrow. Vascular injury with cholesterol plaque buildup in the arteries (known as atherosclerosis) is one of the most common causes of CHD. These plaques cause the arteries to narrow, reducing blood flow to the heart. The decreased blood flow may cause symptoms like chest pain (angina), shortness of breath, or other coronary artery disease signs and symptoms. In fact, a complete blockage can cause a heart attack. CHD often develops over decades and people may not notice a problem until they have a significant blockage or a heart attack. Treatment for coronary artery disease usually involves healthy lifestyle changes and, if necessary, drugs and certain medical procedures. Cardiologists treating CHD patients must use the correct diagnosis and procedural codes on the medical claims. For accurate clinical documentation of this heart disorder, physicians can benefit from the services of medical billing companies.

The 2020 Heart Month observance is a unique occasion to remember the lives lost to heart disease and reaffirm the commitment to preventing and treating this terrible disease that inflicts immeasurable pain and suffering. One of the initial symptoms of heart disease is chest pain that spreads to the neck, jaw, ears, arms, and wrists, and possibly to the shoulder blades, back, or abdomen. The pain is often constant but may come and go and can last for a few minutes to several hours. It is estimated that about half of Americans have at least one specific risk factor for heart disease – high blood pressure/cholesterol, obesity, physical inactivity, smoking, diabetes, high stress, unhealthy diet and family history. The campaign stresses the importance of incorporating positive lifestyle habits like – regular body exercise, maintaining a healthy body weight, consuming a nutritious diet, quitting smoking and alcohol consumption.

Cardiologists or vascular specialists offering treatment for CHD have to report the correct diagnostic and procedural codes on the claims to ensure due coverage. Cardiology medical billing services offered by professional providers focus on ensuring that the right ICD-10 codes are being used for billing and coding purposes. ICD-10 codes used for reporting CHD include –

  • I25 – Chronic ischemic heart disease
    • I25.1 – Atherosclerotic heart disease of native coronary artery
      • I25.10 – Atherosclerotic heart disease of native coronary artery, without angina pectoris
      • I25.11 – Atherosclerotic heart disease of native coronary artery with angina pectoris
        • I25.110 – Atherosclerotic heart disease of native coronary artery with unstable angina pectoris
        • I25.111 – Atherosclerotic heart disease of native coronary artery with unstable angina pectoris, with documented spasm
        • I25.118 – Atherosclerotic heart disease of native coronary artery with other forms of angina pectoris
        • I25.119 – Atherosclerotic heart disease of native coronary artery with unspecified angina pectoris

The month of February was officially declared as “American Heart Month” in the year 1963 by the then President Lyndon B. Johnson by passing a proclamation 3566 on December 30, 1963. The Congress, by joint resolution on that date, had requested the President to issue annually a proclamation designating February as the American Heart Month.

Since 2004, February has also been the signature month for the American Heart Association’s “Go Red for Women” campaign spreading the message that heart disease is not only a man’s problem. This is a massive national public awareness day urging women, and people from all walks of life to ‘go red’ and ‘glow red’ in bringing attention to heart disease. Reports suggest that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, killing more women than all forms of cancer combined. Go Red campaign for women quickly expanded into a worldwide movement dedicated to removing the barriers women face to achieving good health and well being. In 2020, National Wear Red Day was observed on February 7.

During the month of February, health care organizations, hospitals, schools, health departments and corporations hold seminars and public outreach events to encourage heart health awareness and educate people about prevention and screening of heart disease. Messages and information about the campaign are posted via several social media platforms like Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn/Instagram with the hash tag – #HeartMonth.

Join the American Heart Month observance this February! Spread the word about strategies for preventing heart disease and living heart healthy lives.