Adverse Drug Events Occurring in U.S. Hospitals

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Adverse drug events (ADEs) are the most common nonsurgical adverse events that occur in hospitals. New data from all payers in 32 States in HCUP show characteristics of the four most frequent specific causes of ADEs originating in the hospital in 2011.

The four most common causes of in-hospital ADEs – rates per 10,000 discharges:

(Bar graph of most common causes of in-hospital ADEs)
  • Steroids: 20
  • Antibiotics: 13
  • Opiate and Narcotics: 11
  • Anticoagulants: 7
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Rates of the four most common in-hospital ADEs per 10,000 discharges:

By patient age:

(Bar graph with ADE rate by age)
  • <1 year of age: 3
  • 1-17 years: 34
  • 18-44 years: 30
  • 45-64 years: 65
  • 65+ years: 75
By payer:

(Bar graph of ADE rate by payer type)

  • Medicare: 75
  • Medicaid: 28
  • Private insurance: 41
  • Uninsured: 40
By hospital region:

(Picture of the United States broken into 4 hospital regions, with the name and rate for each region)

  • Northeast: 53
  • South: 42
  • Midwest: 76
  • West: 44
Source: HCUP Statistical Brief #164: Characteristics of Adverse Drug Events Originating During the Hospital Stay, 2011 (

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(Department of Health and Human Services and Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality logo)

Internet Citation: Adverse Drug Events Occurring in U.S. Hospitals. Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP). August 2014. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.
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Last modified 8/19/14