October 24, 2016
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New Report: Deaths From Complications Drop, Disparities Remain

Fewer hospital patients died from complications in their health care between 2001 and 2006, but Asians/Pacific Islanders and Hispanics were less likely to survive than either whites or blacks, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

The overall death rate for patients ages 18 to 74 who during their hospitalization developed a complication such as pneumonia, blood clots, or blood infections decreased 23 percent (from 152 deaths to 117 deaths for every 1,000 patients with complications) from 2001 to 2006.

The federal agency's analysis of this data also found that:

  • Although the death rate for Asians and Pacific Islanders fell 24 percent during the period, they had the highest death rate of any group in both 2001 and 2006.
  • The death rate for Hispanic patients also declined by 21 percent - but by 2006, their rate was the second highest of any group (122 deaths per 1,000 patients).
  • The death rate for black patients declined by 30 percent, the largest decrease. In 2001, blacks had higher rates than whites, but by 2006, the black death rate was the lowest of any of the four groups of patients (111 deaths per 1,000 patients).

This AHRQ News and Numbers summary is based on data from page 96 in the 2009 National Healthcare Quality Report, which tracks the health care system through quality measures.

For other information, contact Jennifer.Felsher@ahrq.hhs.gov or call (301) 427-1859.

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) · 540 Gaither Road · Rockville MD 20850 · 301-427-1364


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