Adults; Alaska Natives; American Indians; Epidemiology; Hospitalization; Hospital patients; Indians of North America; Older people; Pneumonia


Community-Based Research | Demography, Population, and Ecology | Medicine and Health | Public Health | Race and Ethnicity


Objective: To examine rates and trends of pneumonia hospitalization among older American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) adults.

Methods: Pneumonia hospitalizations for older AI/AN adults ≥65 years of age living in the Alaska and Southwest Indian Health Service (IHS) regions during 1988 through 2002 from the IHS hospital discharge data were analyzed.

Results: The average annual hospitalization rate for first-listed pneumonia for older AI/AN adults in both the Alaska and the Southwest regions has increased (15.3 and 23.0 in 1988-1990 to 25.9 and 28.8 in 2000-2002 per 1,000 population, respectively), with the greatest increase seen among older AI/AN adults in the Alaska region. For both regions, the hospitalization rate increased with increasing age. The proportion of pneumonia hospitalizations with the co-morbid conditions of chronic heart disease, chronic lung disease and diabetes mellitus in the Alaska and the Southwest regions increased from 48.8% and 30.8% in 1988-1990 to 65.4% and 40.7% in 2000-2002, respectively.

Conclusions: The rate of pneumonia hospitalizations among older AI/AN adults in the Alaska and the Southwest regions has increased substantially; the 2000-2002 rate was similar to or slightly higher than those reported for the general older US population. This rate increase and the increasing prevalence of chronic co-morbid conditions indicate a need for prevention efforts and health interventions among older AI/AN adults.