AHRQ: Cardiac procedures on the rise, gender variations persist

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Sixty percent of the 39.4 million U.S. hospital admissions in 2007 were women, two million of these female admissions involved cardiovascular disease. Over a 10-year span from 1997 to 2007, procedure rates for cardiac related events have risen, but some, like for coronary artery disease, have dropped, according to data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

While data showed that men had higher rates of CAD and acute MI in 2007, women had more occurence of congestive heart failure and cardiac dysrhythmias, according to AHRQ's latest News and Numbers report.

Of those diagnosed with cardiac dysrhythmia, rates increased 25 percent in women and 31 percent in men from 1997 to 2007. During the period, rates of congestive heart failure decreased by 3 percent in women, these same rates rose by 11 percent in men.

For both men and women, growth rates of acute MI decreased. These rates for women decreased by 13 percent during the period.

While men accounted for 62 percent of the hospitalizations associated for CAD and 60 percent of those for acute MI, growth of these conditions from 1997 to 2007 decreased by 37 and 16 percent, respectively.

In 2007, women accounted for six out of 10 hospital stays--23.2 million stays total. While 22 percent of the hospitalizations of women were related to pregnancy and childbirth, conditions such as pneumonia and acute MI were in the top 10 conditions requiring hospitalization.

While men accounted for more stays from heart-related conditions, women were hospitalized for more non-specific chest pain stays compared to men, 55 percent versus 45 percent.

Data also showed that hypertension was a common comorbidity in 35 percent of patient cases, while uncomplicated diabetes accounted for 14 percent, and congestive heart failure 6 percent.

For Medicare benificiaries, overall hospital stays for conditions related to the circulatory system saw a drop of 3 percent from 1997 to 2007. Rates of CAD, stroke and acute MI decreased significantly by 32, 22, and 16 percent, respectively. On the other hand, Medicaid saw a 27 percent surge in the amount of circulatory cases for non-specific chest pain and congestive heart failure.
For Medicare patients, cases of non-specific chest pain rose by 64 percent compared to the 91 percent rise for Medicaid beneficiaries, according to AHRQ. As for the uninsured, rates of two cardiac conditions, non-specific chest pain and congestive heart failure, grew by 96 percent and 88 percent, respectively, since 1997.

In addition, between 1997 and 2007, rates of the number of hospital discharges where procedures were performed increased from 21.3 million to 25.3 million—with a procedure performed in every two of three hospital stays in 2007.

Pertaining to cardiac procedures, between 1997 and 2007, there was a 56 percent swell in the number of percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty procedures performed; however, there was only a slight change in the number of echocardiograms and diagnostic caths and coronary arteriographs performed.

The AHRQ News and Numbers summary is based on data from the 2007 Nationwide Inpatient Sample, a part of AHRQ's Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP)