U.S. hospital admissions for alcoholism are up 3.5% since 1998, but the death rate for patients on treatment has fallen by a THIRD
- Researchers looked at medical insurance claims for hospital admissions for alcohol use between 1998 and 2016
- Hospital admissions were up 3.5% from over 274,000 in 1998 to over 284,000 in 2016
- The number of in-hospital deaths from the condition fell by 25% from approximately 7,300 deaths per 100,000 claims in 1998 to nearly 5,400 deaths per 100,000 claims in 2016
- This corresponds to a 28% decrease in in-hospital mortality from alcohol addiction from 0.07% to 0.05%
The number of Americans hospitalized for alcoholism has risen over the past two decades, a new study suggests.
Researchers found a 3.5 percent drop from about 274,000 hospitalizations for alcohol use in 1998 to about 284,000 hospitalizations in 2016.
However, hospital death rates from the condition have dropped significantly over the past 20 years, by about a third.
The team, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, attributes the decrease in deaths to a better understanding of – and how to treat – the brain disorder that affects millions of people in the US.
A new study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham found that hospital admissions for alcohol use disorders increased by 3.5% from over 274,000 in 1998 to over 284,000 in 2016, but the death rate fell from 0.07% to 0.05% (up here)
Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a brain disorder in which people are unable to stop or control their alcohol use, despite the negative consequences in their personal or professional life.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, an estimated 15 million American adults are suffering from AUD.
Treatments for the disorder include behavioral therapies, medications, and mutual support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous.
For the study, published in JAMA Network Open, the team analyzed medical insurance claims from the US National Inpatient Sample (NIS) database between 1998 and 2016.
Researchers looked at diagnostic codes related to AUD as the main reason for hospitalization.
Codes indicating drug or alcohol counseling and rehabilitation, or detoxification, were excluded from the analysis.
Over the study period, more than 5.5 million patients were hospitalized for AUD, with a mean age of 48 years.
The results showed a 3.5 percent increase in hospital admissions for the condition from 274,652 in 1998 to 284,275 in 2016.
The number of claims first fell from about 800 claims per 100,000 total claims in 1998 to 700 in 2005, before rising back to comparable levels in 2015.
But even as hospital admissions for the disorder increased, death rates fell.
Researchers found a 25 percent and 28 percent decrease in the number of hospitalization deaths and death rate per 100,000 total NIS claims, respectively.
In-hospital mortality decreased from 7,305 deaths per 100,000 claims in 1998 to 5,475 deaths per 100,000 claims in 2016.
That also represents a drop in the death rate from 0.07 percent to 0.05 percent.
The team says there are restrictions and the rates could be much higher when military and veteran matters are included, due to the high number of veterans who binge drink.
Although AUD hospital admissions have increased minimally, the overall impact of AUD on healthcare is significant, the authors wrote.
“A better understanding of the causes of these time trends could help further improve the outcomes of AUD hospitalization and reduce mortality.”