Background & aims: Digestive and liver diseases are associated with substantial morbidity and mortality in the United States. Statistics about the incidence, prevalence, mortality, and resource utilization of digestive and liver diseases in the United States may be cumbersome to obtain because they are scattered in multiple sources. These data may be useful for policy makers, grant applicants, and authors.
Methods: Data on the most common gastrointestinal and liver diseases were collected from large publicly available national databases. Information was collected on inpatient and outpatient gastrointestinal complaints and diagnoses, gastrointestinal cancers, and deaths from common liver diseases.
Results: The leading gastrointestinal complaint prompting an outpatient visit is abdominal pain, with 12.2 million annual visits, followed by diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. Abdominal pain is the leading outpatient gastrointestinal diagnosis, accounting for 5.2 million visits annually, followed by gastroesophageal reflux disease, with 4.5 million visits. Gallstone disease is the most common inpatient diagnosis, with 262,411 hospitalizations and a median inpatient charge of USD$11,584. Colorectal cancer is the most common gastrointestinal cause of death and is the most common gastrointestinal cancer, with an incidence of 54 per 100,000. Among gastrointestinal cancers, primary liver cancer had the highest increase in incidence from 1992 to 2000.
Conclusions: Gastrointestinal and liver diseases are associated with significant outpatient and inpatient healthcare utilization. Following trends in utilization is important for determining allocation of resources for health care and research.