Rate of In-Hospital Adverse Events Declined From 2010 to 2019

THURSDAY, July 28, 2022 — There was a significant decrease in the rates of adverse events for patients admitted for acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, pneumonia, and major surgical procedures between 2010 and 2019 and for patients admitted for all other conditions between 2012 and 2019, according to a study published in the July 12 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Noel Eldridge, from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Rockville, Maryland, and colleagues assessed changes in the rates of in-hospital adverse events between 2010 and 2019. The analysis included 244,542 adult patients hospitalized in 3,156 U.S. hospitals for acute myocardial infarction (17 percent), heart failure (17 percent), pneumonia (21 percent), and major surgical procedures (22 percent), as well as all other conditions (22 percent).

The researchers found that the annual change represented by relative risk in all adverse events per 1,000 discharges was 0.94 for acute myocardial infarction, 0.95 for heart failure, 0.94 for pneumonia, 0.93 for major surgical procedures, and 0.97 for all other conditions when adjusting for patient and hospital characteristics. In all patient groups, the risk-adjusted adverse event rates declined significantly for adverse drug events, hospital-acquired infections, and general adverse events. The risk-adjusted rates of events after a major surgical procedure declined significantly.

“Further research is needed to understand the extent to which these trends represent a change in patient safety,” the authors write.

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