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In-hospital death rate decreasing, study finds


Fewer patients died in the hospital in recent years, although the number of hospital deaths still topped 700,000 in 2010, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The number of inpatient hospital deaths decreased by 8%, from 776,000 to 715,000, between 2000 and 2010. The death rate declined from 2.5 of every 100 patients to 2 of every 100.

The decrease occurred even though total hospitalizations increased 11%, from 31.7 million to 35.1 million, during that span. Of patients who died in the hospital in 2010, 27% were 85 or older.

Among first-line diagnoses for inpatients, respiratory failure had the highest death rate, at 16.5 per 100 inpatients, in 2010. However, this rate was down from 25.3 per 100 inpatients in 2000, a decrease of 35%.

Septicemia had the second-highest death rate in 2010, at 16.3%, and was the only listed first-line diagnosis for which the death rate rose since 2000. The increase from 13.9 deaths per 100 patients hospitalized for septicemia represented a bump of 17%.

The death rate for pneumonitis due to solids and liquids was 13.6 in 2010, a decrease of 22% since 2000. Other decreases were seen in in-hospital deaths for kidney disease (65%), cancer (46%), stroke (27%), pneumonia (33%) and heart disease (16%).

Inpatients who died in the hospitals had an average stay of 7.9 days, compared with 4.8 days for all inpatients. And 27% of patients who died in the hospital stayed 10 days or more, compared with 10% of all patients.

The full data brief from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics is available at


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