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Med Care. 2003 Dec;41(12):1367-73.

Hospitalizations for arthritis and other rheumatic conditions: data from the 1997 National Hospital Discharge Survey.

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Division of Adult and Community Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 30341-3724, USA.



To describe the impact of arthritis and other rheumatic conditions on hospitals by describing the magnitude and characteristics of these hospitalizations.


Data from the 1997 National Hospital Discharge Survey were used to examine this impact. Arthritis was defined using International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision, Clinical Modification, codes specified by the National Arthritis Data Workgroup. Arthritis-related hospitalizations were analyzed by principal diagnosis of arthritis and by any-listed arthritis diagnosis.


In 1997, there were an estimated 744,000 hospitalizations with a principal arthritis diagnosis (3% of hospitalizations). Compared with nonarthritis hospitalizations, persons hospitalized with a principal arthritis diagnosis were older, had fewer comorbidities, had shorter hospital stays, were more likely to undergo a procedure, and were more likely to be discharged to short- and long-term care facilities. The most common diagnoses and procedures related to osteoarthritis. This profile was consistent with a healthier-than-average hospital population electively admitted for specific procedures and subsequent rehabilitation. There were an estimated 2.5 million hospitalizations with an any-listed arthritis diagnosis (>9% of hospitalizations). Persons hospitalized with an any-listed arthritis diagnosis were older, had more comorbidities, and had longer hospital stays than those with principal arthritis or nonarthritis hospitalizations. This profile was consistent with a sicker-than-average hospital population nonelectively admitted for reasons other than their arthritis, especially cardiovascular disease.


Arthritis has a sizable impact on the hospital care system. As our population ages, this impact, in both human and economic terms, is likely to increase.

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