Margaret Jean Hall, PhD, from the NCHS, in Hyattsville, Md., and colleagues analyzed data on hospital deaths from 2000 to 2010 using the National Hospital Discharge Survey.
The researchers found that, although the number of inpatient hospital deaths fell by 8 percent from 2000 to 2010 (from 776,000 to 715,000), the number of total hospitalizations increased by 11 percent. A quarter of inpatient deaths were for patients 85 years and older. Hospital death rates fell for most causes but increased by 17 percent for septicemia. In 2010, patients who died in the hospital stayed an average of 7.9 days, while the average stay for all patients was only 4.8 days.
"The number of patients who died in the hospital in the years 2000 to 2010 decreased, as did the rate of hospitalizations ending in death, but there were still over 700,000 patients who died in the hospital in 2010," Hall and colleagues conclude.