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GI Disorder Hospitalizations on the Rise

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AHRQ News and Numbers

Release date: September 12, 2006

Hospital admissions for gastrointestinal diseases—often called GI disorders—increased by more than one third between 1994 and 2004, according to a new report from the Department of Health and Human Services' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

The report shows that:

  • Overall, 2.5 million Americans were hospitalized for GI disorders in 2004.
  • GI disorders accounted for 7 percent of all hospital stays in 2004.
  • The greatest increase from 1994 to 2004 (nearly 48 percent) involved hospital stays for enteritis, a bacteria-caused inflammation of the small intestine, and ulcerative colitis, which causes sores in the colon.
  • Hospital stays for diverticulosis—bulging and inflammation of the intestine wall—appendicitis, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and several other GI disorders rose from 33 percent in 1994 to 46 percent in 2004.
  • The only condition for which admissions decreased was gastroduodenal ulcers, falling by 29 percent.
  • The three most common GI disorders treated in hospital patients were gastrointestinal hemorrhage, diverticulosis and diverticulitis, and intestinal obstructions. Each of these disorders accounted for more than 300,000 admissions.
  • It cost U.S. hospitals $20 billion to treat GI disorders in 2004.
  • Medicare was billed for more than half of all stays for intestinal obstructions, diverticulosis, and gastrointestinal hemorrhage.

AHRQ, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, works to improve the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care in the United States.

The data in this AHRQ News and Numbers summary were based on Hospital Stays for Gastrointestinal Diseases, 2004, HCUP Statistical Brief No. 12. The brief uses data from the Agency's Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP), the nation's largest source of statistics on hospital inpatient care, regardless of insurance status or type of coverage.

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

Current as of September 2006


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


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