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Spinal Cord Injury and Infant Breathing Problems Are the Most Expensive Conditions to Treat in Hospitals

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Press Release Date: November 10, 1999

The five most expensive conditions, or principal diagnoses, to treat in hospitalized patients are spinal cord injury, infant respiratory distress syndrome, low birthweight, leukemia and heart valve disorders, according to the U.S. Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR). The national average costs of these conditions, which are for 1996, reflect what hospitals charged for treatment, and do not include physicians' fees.

Select to view and download a chart of charges for the Top Five Most Expensive Hospital Diagnoses (PDF File, 198 KB; PDF Help) and two other AHCPR charts involving hospital care—Top Five Reasons for Hospital Admission (PDF File, 199 KB; PDF Help) and Top Five Most Expensive Hospital Procedures (PDF File, 212 KB; PDF Help).

The charts are based on data from two new AHCPR reports—Hospital Inpatient Statistics, 1996 (AHCPR 99-0034) and Most Common Diagnoses and Procedures in U.S. Community Hospitals, 1996 (AHCPR 99-0046). The statistics in the report come from AHCPR's Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS), a database for making national estimates developed from hospital discharge information from approximately 6.5 million hospitals stays at over 900 community hospitals in 19 states across the United States. The statistics are for all hospital patients, including the uninsured, and patients covered by private health insurance, Medicare and Medicaid.

The charts are part of a new service by AHCPR to make its statistics on the use, cost and quality of the health care of Americans more accessible to the public. AHCPR welcomes your comments on the utility of this new service. Contact Karen Migdail at (301) 427-1855 or E-mail

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


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