2022 ICD-10-CM Code J42
Unspecified chronic bronchitis

Version 2022
ICD-10:J42
Short Description:Unspecified chronic bronchitis
Long Description:Unspecified chronic bronchitis
Status: Valid for Submission

Code Classification

  • Diseases of the respiratory system (J00–J99)
    • Chronic lower respiratory diseases (J40-J47)
      • Unspecified chronic bronchitis (J42)

J42 is a billable diagnosis code used to specify a medical diagnosis of unspecified chronic bronchitis. The code J42 is valid during the fiscal year 2022 from October 01, 2021 through September 30, 2022 for the submission of HIPAA-covered transactions.

The ICD-10-CM code J42 might also be used to specify conditions or terms like bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome due to and after lung transplantation, bronchitis, bronchitis co-occurrent with acute wheeze, bronchitis co-occurrent with chronic wheeze, bronchitis co-occurrent with wheeze , bronchitis co-occurrent with wheeze, etc.

Unspecified diagnosis codes like J42 are acceptable when clinical information is unknown or not available about a particular condition. Although a more specific code is preferable, unspecified codes should be used when such codes most accurately reflect what is known about a patient's condition. Specific diagnosis codes should not be used if not supported by the patient's medical record.

The code J42 is linked to some Quality Measures as part of Medicare's Quality Payment Program (QPP). When this code is used as part of a patient's medical record the following Quality Measures might apply: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (copd): Long-acting Inhaled Bronchodilator Therapy.

Tabular List of Diseases and Injuries

The Tabular List of Diseases and Injuries is a list of ICD-10 codes, organized "head to toe" into chapters and sections with coding notes and guidance for inclusions, exclusions, descriptions and more. The following references are applicable to the code J42:


Inclusion Terms

Inclusion Terms
These terms are the conditions for which that code is to be used. The terms may be synonyms of the code title, or, in the case of "other specified" codes, the terms are a list of the various conditions assigned to that code. The inclusion terms are not necessarily exhaustive. Additional terms found only in the Alphabetic Index may also be assigned to a code.

Use Additional Code

Use Additional Code
The “use additional code” indicates that a secondary code could be used to further specify the patient’s condition. This note is not mandatory and is only used if enough information is available to assign an additional code.

Type 1 Excludes

Type 1 Excludes
A type 1 excludes note is a pure excludes note. It means "NOT CODED HERE!" An Excludes1 note indicates that the code excluded should never be used at the same time as the code above the Excludes1 note. An Excludes1 is used when two conditions cannot occur together, such as a congenital form versus an acquired form of the same condition.

Entries in the Index to Diseases and Injuries with references to J42

The Index to Diseases and Injuries is an alphabetical listing of medical terms, with each term mapped to one or more ICD-10 code(s). The following references for the code J42 are found in the index:

Approximate Synonyms

The following clinical terms are approximate synonyms or lay terms that might be used to identify the correct diagnosis code:

Clinical Information

Convert J42 to ICD-9 Code

Quality Payment Program Measures

When code J42 is part of the patient's diagnoses the following Quality Measures apply and affect reimbursement. The objective of Medicare's Quality Measures is to improve patient care by making it more: effective, safe, efficient, patient-centered and equitable.

Quality Measure Description Quality Domain Measure Type High Priority Submission Methods
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): Long-Acting Inhaled Bronchodilator TherapyPercentage of patients aged 18 years and older with a diagnosis of COPD (FEV1/FVC < 70%) and who have an FEV1 less than 60% predicted and have symptoms who were prescribed a long-acting inhaled bronchodilator.Effective Clinical CareProcessNOClaims, Registry

Information for Patients


Chronic Bronchitis

What is chronic bronchitis?

Chronic bronchitis is a type of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). COPD is a group of lung diseases that make it hard to breathe and get worse over time. The other main type of COPD is emphysema. Most people with COPD have both emphysema and chronic bronchitis, but how severe each type is can be different from person to person.

Chronic bronchitis is inflammation (swelling) and irritation of the bronchial tubes. These tubes are the airways that carry air to and from the air sacs in your lungs. The irritation of the tubes causes mucus to build up. This mucus and the swelling of the tubes make it harder for your lungs to move oxygen in and carbon dioxide out of your body.

What causes chronic bronchitis?

The cause of chronic bronchitis is usually long-term exposure to irritants that damage your lungs and airways. In the United States, cigarette smoke is the main cause. Pipe, cigar, and other types of tobacco smoke can also cause chronic bronchitis, especially if you inhale them.

Exposure to other inhaled irritants can contribute to chronic bronchitis. These include secondhand smoke, air pollution, and chemical fumes or dusts from the environment or workplace.

Rarely, a genetic condition called alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency can play a role in causing chronic bronchitis.

Who is at risk for chronic bronchitis?

The risk factors for chronic bronchitis include

What are the symptoms of chronic bronchitis?

At first, you may have no symptoms or only mild symptoms. As the disease gets worse, your symptoms usually become more severe. They can include

Some people with chronic bronchitis get frequent respiratory infections such as colds and the flu. In severe cases, chronic bronchitis can cause weight loss, weakness in your lower muscles, and swelling in your ankles, feet, or legs.

How is chronic bronchitis diagnosed?

Your health care provider may use many tools to make a diagnosis:

What are the treatments for chronic bronchitis?

There is no cure for chronic bronchitis. However, treatments can help with symptoms, slow the progress of the disease, and improve your ability to stay active. There are also treatments to prevent or treat complications of the disease. Treatments include

If you have chronic bronchitis, it's important to know when and where to get help for your symptoms. You should get emergency care if you have severe symptoms, such as trouble catching your breath or talking. Call your health care provider if your symptoms are getting worse or if you have signs of an infection, such as a fever.

Can chronic bronchitis be prevented?

Since smoking causes most cases of chronic bronchitis, the best way to prevent it is to not smoke. It's also important to try to avoid lung irritants such as secondhand smoke, air pollution, chemical fumes, and dusts.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute


[Learn More in MedlinePlus]

Code History

  • FY 2021 - No Change, effective from 10/1/2020 through 9/30/2021
  • FY 2020 - No Change, effective from 10/1/2019 through 9/30/2020
  • FY 2019 - No Change, effective from 10/1/2018 through 9/30/2019
  • FY 2018 - No Change, effective from 10/1/2017 through 9/30/2018
  • FY 2017 - No Change, effective from 10/1/2016 through 9/30/2017
  • FY 2016 - New Code, effective from 10/1/2015 through 9/30/2016 (First year ICD-10-CM implemented into the HIPAA code set)