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Hospitalizations for Osteoarthritis Rising Sharply

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AHRQ News and Numbers

Release date: September 3, 2008

Hospitalizations for osteoarthritis soared from about 322,000 in 1993 to 735,000 in 2006, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Osteoarthritis is a painful disease resulting from deteriorating cartilage and bones rubbing together.

AHRQ's analysis of arthritis hospitalizations found:

  • In 2006, osteoarthritis was the principal diagnosis for about 90 percent of 547,000 knee surgery hospitalizations and about 50 percent of hip replacement hospitalizations.
  • Also in 2006, 45-64 year olds accounted for 38 percent of all osteoarthritis, compared with 25 percent in 1997. Women accounted for 63 percent of hospitalizations for osteoarthritis in 2006, a number that is essentially unchanged since 1997.
  • Most of the increase in osteoarthritis hospitalizations occurred beginning in 2000, when osteoarthritis stays rose from 443,000 to 735,000, a 66 percent increase.
  • The large increase in osteoarthritis hospitalizations is primarily related to the increase in knee replacement surgery. From 2000 to 2006, knee replacement surgery increased 65 percent while hip replacement surgery increased 21 percent.

This AHRQ News and Numbers summary is based on data in HCUP Facts and Figures, 2006. The document highlights the latest data from the 2006 Nationwide Inpatient Sample, a part of AHRQ's Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project.

More information about osteoarthritis, including the comparisons of the risks and benefits of osteoarthritis pain medications, is available from AHRQ's Effective Health Care consumer guide, at Choosing Pain Medicine for Osteoarthritis.

For more information, E-mail Bob Isquith at, or call (301) 427-1539.

Current as of September 2008


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