Hospital surgical admissions cost $185B in 2011

Hospitalizations that involved an operating room procedure accounted for roughly $185 billion of the $387 billion in aggregate costs in 2011, according to a new statistical brief from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which updates a 2007 report.

Nearly 29 percent of 38.6 million hospital stays included OR procedures, but accounted for approximately 48 percent of aggregate costs, according to the brief, which was based on data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project 2011 Nationwide Inpatient Sample.

Hospitals stays that involved an OR procedure cost about twice as much as those that didn't, according to the report. Lengths of stay were also longer for OR procedures (five days), as opposed to stays that did not involve an OR procedure (4.4 days), and those patients were more likely to be elective admissions (48.5 percent). 

However, admissions with OR procedures were less likely to involve major or extreme severity of illness (23.7 percent), and were half as likely to result in patient death (1.1 percent) as stays without an OR procedure (2.2 percent).

The most common OR procedures in 2011 were:

  1. Cesarean section

  2. Circumcision

  3. Knee arthroplasty

  4. Percutaneous coronary angioplasty

  5. Laminectomy, excision intervertebral disc

  6. Spinal fusion

  7. Hip replacement

  8. Cholecystectomy and common duct exploration

  9. Hysterectomy

  10. Colorectal resection

Most patients who underwent OR procedures (81.3 percent) were between 20 and 84 years old, while children and the elderly were much less likely to get a procedure. Spinal fusion, knee arthroplasty and percutaneous coronary angioplasty were the procedures with the highest aggregate hospital costs, coming in at $12.84 million, $11.32 million and $9.73 million, respectively.  

To learn more:
- here's the brief