Jan. 8—Renal failure was the fastest-growing reason for hospitalizations, which grew threefold in a recent 15-year stretch, according to research.

Hospitalizations due to kidney failure increased 346 percent from 98,000 stays in 1997 to 498,000 stays in 2011, according to research by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

The finding followed a 2013 study that found nearly 60 percent of Americans will develop kidney disease in their lifetime. The study, published in the American Journal of Kidney Disease, concluded that the lifetime risk of moderate kidney disease was 59.1 percent. An estimated 26 million Americans already have chronic kidney disease, according to the National Kidney Foundation, and fewer than half with severe (stage 4) kidney disease realize that they have damaged kidneys.

The increase in renal failure hospitalizations, which is one of the most common reasons for hospital stays, came amid a slight (3 percent) decrease in overall hospitalization rate in the studied timeframe.  However, the hospitalization rate for five additional conditions—prolonged pregnancy, septicemia, pulmonary heart disease, osteoarthritis, and anemia—at least doubled during this period.

Other Changes Identified

Other AHRQ findings included a rapid increase in the hospitalization rate for septicemia among adults 45 years and older. The biggest increase (180 percent) occurred among adults 45 to 64 years old and the smallest increase (74 percent) occurred in adults older than 84.

Congestive heart failure was the most common reason for the hospitalization of adults 85 years old and older in 2011 and the second most common reason for adults aged 65–84 years. However, the hospitalization rate decreased for both from 1997 to 2011 (18 percent and 31 percent, respectively).

The hospitalization rate for adult delivery following a previous Cesarean section was 81 percent higher in 2011 than it was in 1997. 

Asthma was the third most common reason for hospitalization among children from 1 to 17 years old in 2011, but the rate of hospitalization fell by nearly half since 1997.

Other big hospitalization rate drops included a 106 percent decrease in septicemia among patients 65 to 84 years old.

Publication Date: Wednesday, January 08, 2014