Objectives: This report presents national estimates of the use of nonfederal short-stay hospitals in the United States during 2005 and selected trend data. Numbers and rates of discharges, diagnoses, and procedures are shown by age and sex. Average lengths of stay are presented for all discharges and for selected diagnostic categories by age and by sex.
Methods: The estimates are based on data collected through the 2005 National Hospital Discharge Survey (NHDS). The survey has been conducted annually by NCHS since 1965. Diagnoses and procedures presented are coded using the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM).
Results: Trends in the utilization of nonfederal short-stay hospitals show that the overall average length of a hospital stay has declined significantly. In 2005, the average length of stay for all inpatients was 4.8 days compared with 7.8 days in 1970. Stays for discharges aged 15-44, 45-64 and 65 years and over also declined, but the average lengths of stay for those under 15 years of age were the same in 1970 and 2005. In 2005, there were an estimated 34.7 million hospital discharges, excluding newborn infants. Persons aged 65 years and over comprised 38 percent of all inpatients. One notable trend for elderly people is that their rate of hospitalization for septicemia increased 47 percent from 2000 to 2005. There were 45 million procedures performed on inpatients during 2005. Obstetrical procedures (6.9 million) comprised 25 percent of all procedures performed on females. Cesarean section (18 percent), repair of current obstetric laceration (18 percent), and artificial rupture of membranes (14 percent) accounted for one-half of all obstetrical procedures. Males had more cardiovascular procedures than females (4.1 million compared with 2.9 million), whereas females had more operations on the digestive system than males (3.2 million compared with 2.4 million).