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Hospitalizations for Problems Caused by Severe Acid Reflux Increase By 103 Percent

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AHRQ News and Numbers

Release date: January 2, 2008

Hospitalizations for treating disorders caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) increased by 103 percent between 1998 and 2005, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). During the same period, hospitalizations of patients who, in addition to the ailment for which they were admitted, had milder forms of GERD, rose by 216 percent.

In patients with GERD, stomach acid backs up into the esophagus, causing extreme, chronic heartburn. If untreated, GERD can cause esophageal disorders such as bleeding, trouble swallowing, Barrett's esophagus (a precancerous condition), and in extreme cases, cancer of the esophagus.

AHRQ also found that:

  • Hospitalizations specifically for GERD increased roughly 5 percent as a whole during the period-from roughly 91,000 to 95,000.
  • Among those hospitalized for GERD, admissions of patients who had severe symptoms, such as anemia, vomiting, and weight loss, increased by 39 percent.
  • Hospitalizations for patients with less serious symptoms, such as hoarseness and chronic coughing, bloating, or belching, rose 43 percent.
  • Hospitalizations for GERD in children ages 2 to 17 rose by 84 percent during the period and 42 percent for infants under age 2.

This AHRQ News and Numbers is based on data in Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) Hospitalizations in 1998 and 2005. The report uses statistics from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, a database of hospital inpatient stays that is nationally representative of inpatient stays in all short-term, non-Federal hospitals. The data are drawn from hospitals that comprise 90 percent of all discharges in the United States and include all patients, regardless of insurance type, as well as the uninsured.

For other information, or to speak with an AHRQ data expert, please contact Bob Isquith at or call (301) 427-1539.

Current as of January 2008


The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.


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