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Kidney Disease Hospitalizations Soar

CDC: Annual Number of Kidney Disease Hospitalizations Quadrupled From 1980 to 2005
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

March 27, 2008 -- The CDC reports a dramatic rise in the number of U.S. hospitalizations of kidney disease.

The annual number of those hospitalizations quadrupled from 1980 to 2005, according to the CDC.

That figure rose from about 416,000 hospitalizations in 1980 to 1.6 million in 2005, for a total of about 10 million hospitalizations from 1980 to 2005.

Those numbers are hospitalizations, not patients. Some kidney disease patients may have been hospitalized more than once.

Also, kidney disease wasn't always the reason for hospitalization. Some people were hospitalized for other reasons, including heart attack or heart failure. If their hospital discharge record noted kidney disease, that counted as a kidney disease hospitalization.

The rise in kidney disease hospitalizations was greatest in people aged 65 and older. Acute renal failure cases were up sharply, driving the trend. Acute renal failure refers to sudden and usually temporary loss of kidney function.

In 2005, acute renal failure accounted for 60% of kidney disease hospitalizations, up from 7% in 1980. Kidney disease hospitalization rates were consistently 30% to 40% higher among men than among women from 1980 to 2005, according to the CDC.

Why the increase in kidney disease hospitalizations? The CDC has two theories:

  • The aging population. Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, which make kidney disease more likely, become more common with age. So an older population makes for more patients.
  • Changes in the way acute renal failure is diagnosed, defined, or coded in hospital records. The National Kidney Foundation issued new guidelines on chronic kidney disease in 2002.

The kidney disease hospitalization statistics, based on discharge records from about 500 U.S. hospitals, appear in tomorrow's edition of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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