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Burden of hospitalisation among older people in the Brazilian public health system: a big data analysis from 2009 to 2015
  1. Roger Daglius Dias1,2,
  2. Jacson Venancio de Barros3
  1. 1 Department of Emergency Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
  2. 2 STRATUS Center for Medical Simulation, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA, USA
  3. 3 Department of Information Technology, Hospital das Clínicas of the University of São Paulo Medical School, Sao Paulo, Brazil
  1. Correspondence to Dr Roger Daglius Dias, Emergency Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston MA 02115, USA; rdias{at}


Background The world’s population is progressively ageing, and this trend imposes several challenges to society and governments. The aim of this study was to investigate the burden generated by the hospitalisation of older (>60 years) compared with non-older population, as well as the epidemiology of these hospital admissions.

Methods Using the Brazilian Unified Health System (known as ‘Sistema Único de Saúde’ (SUS)), an analysis of all hospital admissions of adult patients in the SUS from 2009 to 2015 was undertaken. The following indicators were used: hospital admission rate, intensive care unit (ICU) admission rate, average length of hospital and ICU stay, hospital mortality and average reimbursement per hospitalisation.

Results A total of 61 958 959 admissions during the 7-year period, were analysed, encompassing 17 893 392 (28.9%) older patients. Elderly represent 15% (n=21 294 950) of the Brazilian adult population, but are responsible for 29% (n=17 893 392) of hospitalisations, 52% (n=1 731 299) of ICU admissions and 66% (n=1 885 291) of hospital mortality. Among the adults, elderly represents 39% of the total reimbursement made related to admission/hospitalisation. For 2009 to 2015, while the older population increased 27%, ICU admission rate increased 20%; the average length of ICU stay was 12% higher in 2015 (6.5 days) compared with 2009 (5.8 days); and the hospital mortality increased from 9.8% to 11.2%.

Conclusion These findings illustrate the current panorama of the burden due to hospitalisation of older people in the Brazilian public health system, and evidence the consolidation of the epidemiological transition toward the predominance of non-communicable diseases as the main cause of hospitalisation among the elderly in Brazil.

  • ageing
  • economic evaluation
  • public health

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  • Contributors JVdB and RDD: study’s conception and design; data analysis and interpretation. JVdB: data acquisition. All authors were involved in article draft writing, revision and approved the final version for publication; had full access to all of the data in the study and take responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval This study was approved by the Ethics and Research Committee of the Hospital das Clínicas of University of São Paulo Medical School (Cappesq).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement All data used in this study were obtained from public databases and the sources are referenced in the manuscript.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.