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One in Every Four Hospital Stays Includes at Least One Cardiovascular Procedure

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Press Release Date: June, 12 2001

New hospital data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) show that:

  • Nearly 9 million hospital admissions a year—one of every four hospital stays—involve use of a diagnostic imaging test, surgery, or other procedure for heart and circulatory system problems.
  • The four most common cardiovascular procedures for adults are:
    • Cardiac catheterization—a test in which a fine tube is inserted through a blood vessel into the heart to check its condition (3.9 million patients).
    • Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery—surgery that bypasses an artery blockage by attaching a length of vein taken from the leg to the aorta, the body's main artery (739,000 patients).
    • Echocardiograms—ultrasound images of the heart. (641,000 patients)
    • Percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA)—used for restoring normal blood flow to plaque-narrowed cardiac arteries (608,000 patients).

Source: Procedures in U.S. Hospitals, 1997, HCUP Fact Book No. 2. To access the fact book online, select: For print copies, call the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse at 1-800-358-9295, or E-mail the Clearinghouse at

For additional information, please contact AHRQ Public Affairs, (301) 427-1364: Bob Isquith, (301) 427-1539 (


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