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Hospitalizations for coronary artery disease, heart attack, and stroke are down significantly

Research Activities, November 2009

The number of Americans admitted to hospitals for treatment of coronary artery disease (CAD) declined by 31 percent between 1997 and 2007, according to the latest data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). In people with CAD, fatty deposits clog heart arteries, restricting the flow of blood to the heart and increasing the risk of a heart attack. With the decline in CAD, coronary heart disease no longer ranks as the leading disease treated in hospitals. It is now ranked number 3. The analysis from 1997 to 2007 also found:

  • Hospitalizations for heart attacks declined by 15 percent, falling from 732,000 to 625,000. Heart attacks are now ranked number 10 on the list of diseases treated in hospitals, down from number 4.
  • Hospitalizations for stroke fell 14 percent, going from 616,000 to 527,000 and a drop in rank from number 6 to number 15.
  • In contrast, hospitalizations for irregular heartbeat such as atrial fibrillation or tachycardia rose by 28 percent from 572,000 to 731,000. Its rank stayed at number 7.
  • Hospitalizations for congestive heart failure rose by 3 percent, going from 991,000 to just over 1 million. Its rank moved from number 3 to number 2, behind pneumonia, the most common disease treated in hospitals in 2007.

These findings are based on data from page 19 in HCUP Facts and Figures 2007 (, which provides highlights of the latest data from the 2007 Nationwide Inpatient Sample, a part of AHRQ's Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project. The report provides data on leading reasons for hospitalization, such as arthritis, asthma, childbirth, cancer, diabetes, depression, and heart conditions; on procedures performed on hospital patients; and on related topics.

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Page last reviewed November 2009
Internet Citation: Hospitalizations for coronary artery disease, heart attack, and stroke are down significantly: Research Activities, November 2009. November 2009. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.