Term: Comorbidity / Comorbidities

Glossary Definition

Last Updated: 2006-04-18


A comorbidity is simply defined as a pre-existing medical condition of a patient, or the presence of one or more medical conditions known to increase risk of death, that exist in addition to the most significant condition (usually recorded as the "most responsible diagnosis" on hospital discharge abstracts) that causes a patient's stay in the hospital. The number of comorbid conditions can be used to provide an indication of the health status (and risk of death) of patients. In other words, comorbidity is an indicator of the differential utilization of hospital care.

Note: A comorbidity is different than a complication, which is considered a medical condition that arises during a hospital stay.

Related concepts 

Related terms 


Term used in