Number of hospital admissions for pneumonia and acute bronchitis doubled since 1981

10/03/2009 15:00

The number of hospital admissions for pneumonia or acute bronchitis has doubled in the period 1981–2005. New cases of pneumonia are predominantly found among over-65s, while new cases of acute bronchitis mainly concerns 0 to 1-year-olds.

Hospital admissions for pneumonia and acute bronchitis by gender

Hospital admissions for pneumonia and acute bronchitis by gender

Threefold increase hospital admissions over-65s with pneumonia

The number of hospital admissions for pneumonia has risen by 130 percent between 1981 and 2005. In the age category 65 and older, the number of pneumonia patients admitted to hospital has even tripled.

The increase in hospital admissions for pneumonia is presumably due to an increase in people with reduced natural resistance against pneumonia. Improved treatment of cancer patients, for example, may result in a higher risk of contracting pneumonia. 

The hospital admission rate among 0 to 1-year-old children for pneumonia is also relatively high, but has remained fairly stable on average over the past 25 years.

Hospital admissions for pneumonia by gender and age

Hospital admissions for pneumonia by gender and age

Seven times as many children under the age of 1 admitted to hospital for acute bronchitis

The number of hospital admissions for acute bronchitis has risen from 1,500 to more than 5,000 between 1981 and 2005. An average 35 percent of admissions concerns 0 to 1-year-old children. In this age group, the number of admissions has increased sevenfold over the period 1981–2005. Between 1981 and 2005, the admission rate for acute bronchitis increased from 21 to 147 per 10 thousand 0 to 1-year-olds. Half of admissions in the age category 0-1 concerns infants younger than 4 months.

It is conceivable that young infants with acute bronchitis nowadays are sooner admitted to hospital than in the past, because in an early stage more effective help can be provided. The increase may also be connected to an increase in the number of vulnerable infants (e.g. prematurely born babies).

Hospital admissions for acute bronchitis by age

Hospital admissions for acute bronchitis by age

Janneke Ploemacher