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Hospital Mortality Trends, 2000-2010

Hospital inpatient deaths have declined by 8% over the most recent ten years available, down from 776,000 deaths in 2000 to 715,000 in 2010.  This occurred even as total hospitalizations increased 11% during the same period. The overall hospital mortality rate declined by 20%, a decrease from 2.5 per 100 persons hospitalized in 2000 to 2.0 in 2010.

Death rates declined for 7 of the 8 leading diagnoses associated with hospital mortality — respiratory failure, pneumonitis due to solids and liquids, kidney disease, cancer, stroke, pneumonia, and heart disease. However, septicemia saw significant increases in both total deaths and the death rate.

Here are other findings from the study:

  • Hospital deaths account for about a third of all deaths that occur in the U.S. annually.
  • About 75% of patients who died while hospitalized were aged 65 or older, but the proportion of hospital deaths from this age group declined from 76% in 2000 to 73% in 2010.
  • At the same time, the percentage of  patients younger than 65 that died in the hospital saw an uptick from 24% to 27% over the ten year span.
  • Inpatients who died had an average hospital stay of 4.8 days in 2010 compared to 7.9 days in 2000.

Source: Hall MJ and others. Trends in inpatient hospital deaths: National hospital discharge survey, 2000-2010. NCHS [National Center for Health Statistics] Data Brief, no. 118, March 2013. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db118.htm

Posted by AHA Resource Center, (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

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