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AHRQ HCUP Statistical Brief: Overview of Operating Room Procedures During Inpatient Stays in U.S. Hospitals, 2018

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More than one-quarter of inpatient stays in the United States involve at least one operating room (OR) procedure. On average, these stays are more than twice as costly as stays without OR procedures.

A new Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) Statistical Brief presents statistics on OR procedures performed during inpatient stays using the 2018 National Inpatient Sample (NIS). Inpatient stays with and without OR procedures are compared in terms of patient characteristics, utilization characteristics, and outcomes. Additionally, the most common all-listed and most costly principal OR procedures are presented overall and by patient sex-age group.


  • In 2018, 9.6 million inpatient stays involved OR procedures, with a total of 14.4 million OR procedures. Stays involving OR procedures totaled $210.3 billion in aggregate costs.
  • Cesarean sections constituted 8.1 percent of all OR procedures, with a rate of 2,001.3 per 100,000 females aged 18-44 years.
  • Appendectomy was the most common and one of the five most costly OR procedures for children, accounting for 4-5 percent of aggregate costs for stays with a principal OR procedure among males and females aged 0-17 years.

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