Transesophageal Endoscopic Therapies for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Section: Surgery
Effective Date: July 01, 2019
Revised Date: May 15, 2019
Last Reviewed: May 19, 2020

Description

A variety of transesophageal endoscopic therapies have been developed for the treatment of GERD. These include: suture plication of the proximal gastric folds, injection of bulking agents or implantation of a bioprosthesis into the lower esophageal sphincter implantation of titanium beads with magnetic cores and radiofrequency energy.

The Stretta procedure uses radiofrequency energy to treat GERDand involves insertion of a flexible balloon-tipped catheter with needle electrodes for energy delivery via the esophagus. Precisely controlled radiofrequency energy is delivered to create lesions in the smooth muscle of the gastroesophageal junction.

Criteria

The following transendoscopic therapies for the treatment of GERD are considered experimental/investigational and therefore non-covered. The long-term efficacy of these procedures has not yet been established.

  • Endoscopic/endoluminal gastroplasty, gastroplication with suturing of the esophagogastric junction (e.g. EndoCinch and Muse); and
  • Endoscopic submucosal implantation of a prosthesis or injection of a bulking agent (e.g., polymethylmethacrylate beads, zirconium oxide spheres, Enteryx, Durasphere, Gatekeeper Reflux Repair System).

Procedure Codes

43210

Transesophageal endoscopic radiofrequency therapy (Stretta), or transoral incisionless fundoplication (TIF) (e.g., StomaphyX, EsophyX) may be considered medically necessary for a select population of individuals, who are greater than or equal to 18 years of age with refractory GERD, who meet ALL of the following criteria:

  • Daily heartburn or regurgitation for greater than six (6) months; and
  • Unsuccessful or partial response to anti-secretory pharmacologic therapy, have poor proton pump inhibitor (PPI) tolerance, or high concern for long term PPI use; and
  • Have adequate esophageal peristalsis; and
  • Have a 24-hour pH study demonstrating pathologic acid reflux (total acid exposure time greater than four (4%) percent, or a DeMeester composite score greater than 14.7; and
    • Have non-erosive reflux disease; or
    • Have grade I and II esophagitis by Savary-Miller criteria, or have grades of esophagitis healed by drug therapy.

Contraindications:

  • Greater than 2cm hiatal hernia; or
  • Significant dysphagia; or
  • Incomplete lower esophageal sphincter relaxation.

The use of transesophageal endoscopic radiofrequency is considered experimental/investigational, and therefore, non-covered for all other indications. Peer reviewed literature does not support the use of transesophageal endoscopic radiofrequency for any indications other than those listed in this medical policy.

Procedure Codes

43210 43257

Savary-Miller classification of reflux esophagitis:

Grade 1: Single erosion above gastro-esophageal mucosal junction

Grade 2: Multiple, non-circumferential erosions above gastro-esophageal mucosal junction

Grade 3: Circumferential erosion above mucosal junction

Grade 4: Chronic change with esophageal ulceration and associated stricture

Grade 5: Barrett’s esophagus with histologically confirmed intestinal differentiation within columnar epithelium.

The use of transesophageal endoscopic radiofrequency is considered experimental/investigational, and therefore, non-covered for all other indications. Peer reviewed literature does not support the use of transesophageal endoscopic radiofrequency for any indications other than those listed in this medical policy.

Diagnosis Codes

Covered Diagnosis Codes for Procedure Code 43257, 43210

K21.0
K21.9

Professional Statements and Societal Positions Guidelines

Not Applicable

ND Committee Review

Internal Medical Policy Committee 5-15-2019 updated to allow Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication (TIF) when criteria is met

Internal Medical Policy Committee 5-19-2020 Annual Review

Links

Disclaimer

Current medical policy is to be used in determining a Member's contract benefits on the date that services are rendered. Contract language, including definitions and specific inclusions/exclusions, as well as state and federal law, must be considered in determining eligibility for coverage. Members must consult their applicable benefit plans or contact a Member Services representative for specific coverage information. Likewise, medical policy, which addresses the issue(s) in any specific case, should be considered before utilizing medical opinion in adjudication. Medical technology is constantly evolving and the Company reserves the right to review and update medical policy periodically.