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We analysed hospital use for 58 common clinical conditions in the medical specialties, using data from the two districts covered by the Oxford record linkage study 1968-1986. Episode rates, person rates, and ratios of multiple admissions per person were computed. In young adults, poisoning was the most common reason for admission. In older adults, the most common clinical conditions included atherosclerotic diseases and smoking-related lung diseases. Comparing the first and last time periods studied, admission rates increased by 10% or more in 37 of the 58 conditions, including 7 of the 10 conditions with the highest overall hospitalization rates. Conditions in which admissions increased by 10% or more included myocardial infarction, other ischaemic heart disease, chronic obstructive lung disease, asthma, pneumonia, diabetes, poisoning, dementia, prostate cancer and breast cancer among others. Workload declined by 10% or more in 13 conditions, including stroke, subarachnoid haemorrhage, hypertension, thyrotoxicosis, acquired hypothyroidism, and tuberculosis. Secular trends in hospital use are generally attributable either to changes in disease frequency in the population or to changes in clinic- or hospital-based technology and practice.


Journal article


QJM : monthly journal of the Association of Physicians

Publication Date





661 - 672


Department of Public Health and Primary Care, University of Oxford, UK.


Humans, Hospitalization, Patient Readmission, Medical Record Linkage, Specialties, Medical, Age Factors, Sex Factors, Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Middle Aged, Workload, England, Female, Male