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Heart and Circulatory Disorders Put More Americans in the Hospital Than Any Other Disease

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AHRQ News and Numbers

Release date: February 15, 2007

Heart disease, stroke, deep vein thrombosis and other diseases involving the circulatory system accounted for nearly 7 million hospital stays during 2004—one of every six stays—according to the latest News and Numbers summary from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Only pregnancy and childbirth accounted for more stays.

  • The most common circulatory disease to put people in the hospital was hardening of the arteries (1.2 million stays), followed by congestive heart failure (1.1 million), nonspecific chest pain (846,000), heart attack (695,000), and irregular heartbeat (694,000).
  • The five most deadly circulatory conditions were cardiac arrest with ventricular fibrillation (with 52 percent of patients dying in the hospital), followed by stroke (11 percent), aneurysms (9 percent), heart attack (7 percent), and embolism or thrombosis (5 percent).
  • The five most expensive conditions, in terms of the hospitals' average cost per stay, were heart valve disorders ($31,300), followed by cardiac and circulatory congenital anomalies, or birth defects ($29,600), aneurysms ($24,700), cardiac arrest with ventricular fibrillation ($16,700), and heart attack ($16,200).
  • Overall, treating patients for circulatory diseases cost hospitals $71.2 billion in 2004.

This AHRQ News & Numbers summary is based on data in Hospital Stays for Circulatory Diseases, 2004, HCUP Statistical Brief No. 26.

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

Current as of February 2007


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