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Most Frequent Principal Diagnoses for Inpatient Stays in U.S. Hospitals, 2018

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Identifying the most frequent primary conditions for which patients are admitted to the hospital is important to the implementation and improvement of healthcare delivery, quality initiatives, and health policy. This Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) Statistical Brief presents statistics on the most frequent principal diagnoses among nonmaternal, nonneonatal inpatient stays using the 2018 National Inpatient Sample (NIS).

First, the number of stays, mean cost per stay, and aggregate costs are presented for the most frequent principal diagnoses. Second, the distribution of stays for the most common diagnoses by select patient and hospital characteristics is shown. Finally, the top principal diagnoses by sex-age group are identified.

The most frequent principal diagnoses for hospitalizations in the United States in 2018 were septicemia, heart failure, osteoarthritis, pneumonia (except that caused by tuberculosis), and diabetes mellitus with complication.

Of the 10 most common principal diagnoses in 2018, septicemia was both the most frequent (2,218,800 stays) and the costliest ($41.5 billion in aggregate). Septicemia ranked as the first or second most common diagnosis among adults, both male and female.

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