2021 ICD-10-CM Code K20.9

Esophagitis, unspecified

Version 2021
Replaced Code
Non-Billable Code
Unspecified Code

Not Valid for Submission

K20.9 is a "header" nonspecific and non-billable diagnosis code code, consider using a code with a higher level of specificity for a diagnosis of esophagitis, unspecified. The code is NOT valid for the year 2021 for the submission of HIPAA-covered transactions. Category or Header define the heading of a category of codes that may be further subdivided by the use of 4th, 5th, 6th or 7th characters.

Unspecified diagnosis codes like K20.9 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.

ICD-10:K20.9
Short Description:Esophagitis, unspecified
Long Description:Esophagitis, unspecified

Code Classification

Specific Coding for Esophagitis, unspecified

Header codes like K20.9 require more digits to indicate the appropriate level of specificity. Consider using any of the following ICD-10 codes with a higher level of specificity when coding for esophagitis, unspecified:

  • K20.90 - Esophagitis, unspecified without bleeding
  • K20.91 - Esophagitis, unspecified with bleeding

Replaced Code

This code was replaced in the 2021 ICD-10 code set with the code(s) listed below. The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) has published an update to the ICD-10-CM diagnosis codes which became effective October 1, 2020. This code was replaced for the FY 2021 (October 1, 2020 - September 30, 2021).


  • K20.90 - Esophagitis, unspecified without bleeding
  • K20.91 - Esophagitis, unspecified with bleeding

Clinical Information

Convert K20.9 to ICD-9 Code

The General Equivalency Mapping (GEM) crosswalk indicates an approximate mapping between the ICD-10 code K20.9 its ICD-9 equivalent. The approximate mapping means there is not an exact match between the ICD-10 code and the ICD-9 code and the mapped code is not a precise representation of the original code.

Information for Patients


Esophagus Disorders

The esophagus is the muscular tube that carries food and liquids from your mouth to the stomach. You may not be aware of your esophagus until you swallow something too large, too hot, or too cold. You may also notice it when something is wrong. You may feel pain or have trouble swallowing.

The most common problem with the esophagus is GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). With GERD, a muscle at the end of your esophagus does not close properly. This allows stomach contents to leak back, or reflux, into the esophagus and irritate it. Over time, GERD can cause damage to the esophagus.

Other problems include heartburn, cancer, and eosinophilic esophagitis. Doctors may use various tests to make a diagnosis. These include imaging tests, an upper endoscopy, and a biopsy.

Treatment depends on the problem. Some problems get better with over-the-counter medicines or changes in diet. Others may need prescription medicines or surgery.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases


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Code History

  • FY 2021 - Code Deleted, 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)