Report Finds U.S. C-section Rate Continues Rise to Historic High: 34%

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HealthGrades Releases Hospital Quality Ratings for Maternity & Gynecological Care

A report released today by HealthGrades, the nation’s most trusted, independent source of physician information and hospital quality outcomes, found that between 2002 and 2009 the C-section, or Cesarean section, rate in the U.S. rose from 27% of all single births to 34%, an all-time high.The highest rates of C-section were found in Florida, New Jersey and Texas, the lowest in Utah, Wisconsin and Colorado.

HealthGrades Obstetrics and Gynecology in American Hospitals report also evaluated the quality of maternity and gynecological care, over a three year period, in the 19 states where hospital patient outcomes data is publicly available. HealthGrades designated the best performing hospitals in these states as 5-Star rated. Consumers can search and compare the quality of all hospital maternity and gynecology programs in their community at

“Women today have a wide array options when it comes to reproductive health and choosing a health care provider who aligns with their personal preferences,” said Divya Cantor, MD, MBA and HealthGrades Senior Physician Consultant. “From pregnancy and childbirth to more serious interventions such as hysterectomy, surgeries to treat incontinence, ovarian and other cancers of the reproductive organs, women can optimize their chances for receiving the highest possible quality of care by researching and comparing the clinical outcomes of hospitals and doctors in their area.”

Key findings of the HealthGrades 2011 Obstetrics & Gynecology in American Hospitals report include:

  •     In the 19 states studied, 7% of women undergoing single live born deliveries experience an inhospital complication. If all hospitals performed at the level of 5-Star rated hospitals in maternity care, 32% of these complications, (141,869), could have been potentially prevented.
  •     In the 19 states studied, 9% percent of women undergoing gynecologic surgery experienced an inhospital complication. If all hospitals performed at the level of the best hospitals, 35% of these complications (30,675) could have been potential prevented.
  •     While hysterectomies are the most common gynecological procedure performed in hospitals, comprising 79% of all the inpatient gynecologic surgeries, the number has decreased substantially. Since 2002, the number has declined 31%.
  •     The highest rate of C-section was found in Florida, (38.6%) and New Jersey (38.0%). The lowest rate was found in Utah (22.4%).

HealthGrades Hospital Ratings
HealthGrades Obstetrics & Gynecology in American Hospitals report analyzed patient outcome data from the years 2007-2009 for virtually every hospital in the 19 states that make their data available. The state data contained inpatient records for all patients. HealthGrades hospital ratings are independently created; no hospital can opt in or opt out of being rated, and no hospital pays to be rated. The full methodology and individual hospital ratings can be found at

About HealthGrades
HealthGrades is America's most trusted, independent source of physician information and hospital quality outcomes. HealthGrades’ online properties are the nation's leading destination for physician search and empower more than 200 million consumers annually to make informed health care decisions.


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Marsha Austin
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