In 2014, for the first time in U.S. history, national health expenditures exceeded $3 trillion. Government estimates predict health spending to grow at an average rate of 5.8 percent per year from 2015 to 2025.
While these figures clearly illustrate ballooning health costs in the U.S., they don't actually answer the question of how this money is spent. HealthGrove, a health research site powered by Graphiq, set out to shed some light on that question by identifying the most common medical procedures in the U.S.
Using data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, the data scientists found the 50 most performed medical procedures in the U.S. in 2013, the most recent year data was available. Procedures are ranked by the total number of inpatient discharges in 2013. This figure refers to the number of inpatient hospital stays where this procedure was performed as the principal procedure. We've also included the average hospital charges* associated with each procedure.
With an average hospital charge of $160,477, coronary artery bypass grafts are the most expensive procedures to make the list. That procedure alone was responsible for aggregate national charges of over $25 billion. While not the most expensive, respiratory intubation or mechanical ventilation had the greatest aggregate national charges of any procedure on the list, with an estimated national bill of $92.7 billion.
*Note: This number includes not only charges for the specific procedure, but also associated charges from the entire inpatient hospital stay during which the procedure was performed.