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Pneumonia is the most common reason for hospitalization

More than 1.2 million Americans—roughly equivalent to the population of Dallas—were hospitalized for pneumonia in 2006, making this lung infection the most common reason for admission to the hospital other than for childbirth, according to data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

Treating pneumonia cost hospitals $10 billion in 2006 (see table below). The disease, which can be especially deadly among the elderly, occurs when the lungs fill with fluid from infection or inflammation caused by bacteria or a virus.

This analysis is based on 2006 data in HCUPnet (, AHRQ's free, online query system based on data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project. HCUPnet provides reporters and others fast and easy access to health statistics on hospital inpatient and emergency department utilization.

2006 estimated hospital admissions and hospitals' costs for common conditions

ConditionEstimated admissionsHospital costs
Pneumonia1,200,000$10 billion
Hardening of the arteries1,198,000$17 billion
Congestive heart failure1,099,000$11 billion
Chest pain857,000$4 billion
Injuries to the mother during birth818,000$2 billion
Other complications of labor and delivery767,000$3 billion
Heart rhythm problems749,000$7 billion
Osteoarthritis735,000$10 billion
Heart attack675,000$12 billion


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