-- Alan Mozes
WEDNESDAY, May 11 (HealthDay News) -- Over the last decade, the
number of Medicare patients hospitalized for cardiac issues
dropped, accounting for a smaller slice of the 10-year
hospitalization rate than non-heart related issues, new research
The finding stems from the largest effort launched in the past
decade (1998 to 2008) to gauge Medicare hospitalization patterns.
In the latest year, Medicare hospitalizations totaled about 13
million patients, the study authors said.
The research is scheduled to be presented Thursday at the
American Heart Association's Quality of Care and Outcomes Research
in Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke meeting, in Washington
"We're seeing that common cardiac diseases are accounting for a smaller proportion of hospitalizations within the United States," study lead author Amit H. Sachdev, a fourth-year medical student at New York University School of Medicine, said in a heart association news release. "We believe this may reflect an improvement in medical care and preventive efforts and in delivering health care in the United States over the last decade."
Sachdev and his colleagues found that while six of the eight
major causes for hospital admission have been on a downward
trajectory over the past decade, heart disease hospitalization
rates have fallen more quickly than those attributed to other
Among heart health issues, they found that coronary artery
disease hospitalizations among Medicare patients dropped the most
(32 percent), followed by those prompted by heart attacks (down
about 22 percent). Heart failure hospitalizations also fell by
nearly 17 percent, the report found.
Conversely, hospitalizations because of an irregular heartbeat
(cardiac arrhythmia) bucked the trend, going up by more than 10
The researchers also found that a number of non-heart related
issues fell as causes for Medicare hospitalizations, including
pneumonia, fluid and electrolyte disorders, and hip fractures.
The researchers speculated that a focused government effort to
tackle heart disease may account for the observed drop in related
"Heart disease is the leading cause of hospitalization in the United States, so you see a lot of government money focused at cardiac conditions," Sachdev said.
Research presented at meetings is considered preliminary until
published in a peer-reviewed journal.
To learn more about heart disease visit the
U.S. National Library of Medicine.
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