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Central Distributor SEDD: Description of Data Elements

AGE - Age in years at admission
Documentation Sections:
General Notes
Uniform Values
State Specific Notes
General Notes

Age in years (AGE) is calculated from the birth date (DOB) and the admission date (ADATE) in the HCUP State databases with the few exceptions listed below. Ages over 89 are aggregated into a single category of 90 years or older in the HCUP nationwide databases starting in data year 2012.

Exceptions for assigning AGE:

  • AGE is set to the supplied age if the age cannot be calculated (ADATE and/or DOB is missing or invalid). Note: If the supplied age is the age at discharge instead of the age at admission, then the supplied age is NOT used.
  • AGE is missing (.) if the age cannot be calculated and the supplied age is missing.
  • AGE is invalid (.A) if
    • it is out of range (AGE NE 0-124) or
    • the age cannot be calculated and the supplied age is nonnumeric.

    An invalid calculated AGE is not replaced by the supplied age.

  • If the data source does not provide the necessary dates to calculate age or the reported age at admission, then beginning in the 1998 data, AGE is not present on the HCUP files. In the 1988-1997 data, AGE is retained on the HCUP files and is set to unavailable from source (.B).
  • AGE is set to inconsistent (.C) if one of the HCUP edit checks is triggered. The age edit checks vary by year.
    • Beginning in the 1998 data, AGE is less than 0 (EAGE02), is greater than 124 (EAGE03), is inconsistent with neonatal diagnoses (EAGE04), or is inconsistent with maternal diagnoses/procedures (EAGE05).
    • From 2006-2014, AGE is inconsistent with the HCPCS procedure codes (ECPT03)
      • We discontinued age edits for HCPCS level I (CPT codes) beginning with data year 2011 and we discontinued age edits for all other HCPCS codes beginning in 2015.
    • In the 1988-1997 data, AGE is inconsistent with AGEDAY (ED021), neonatal diagnoses (ED3nn), maternal diagnoses (ED4nn), or maternal procedures (ED5nn).

When processing the 1996 HCUP data, no adjustment was made for the leap year when age was calculated from date of birth and admission date. This caused infants admitted on the day before their first birthday to have AGE=1 instead of AGE.

Uniform Values
VariableDescriptionValueValue Description
AGEAge in years at admission0-124Age in years
.BUnavailable from source (coded in 1988-1997 data only)
.CInconsistent: beginning with 1998 data, EAGE02, EAGE03, EAGE04, EAGE05; in 2006-2014 data, ECPT03; in 1988-1997 data, ED021, ED3nn, ED4nnn, ED5nn
State Specific Notes


The reported age was not used when AGE could not be calculated because Arizona supplied age at discharge.

Beginning with 2005, source AGE is no longer supplied.


Central Distributor only - because of confidentiality restrictions, age in years (AGE) is suppressed or offset by a few years on some records.

Because California did not provide an admission date, the date of service was used to calculate age.


AGE may differ by one year from the actual age. When only the year of birth is available, Iowa assigns the day and month of birth to '01', which may cause the age calculated from birth date to be one year less than the actual age.


Starting with Version 3 of the 2012 SASD and SEDD (created in 2017), the patient age (AGE) is set to 90 for patients age 90 years and older.


Beginning in 2013, the supplied age in years is used when the data element cannot be calculated.


For discharges less than 90 years old, if the age could not be calculated from dates, then the reported age was used to assign AGE. For discharges that are 90 or older, only the calculated age could be used to assign AGE because Nevada sets age in years to 90 for all discharges age 90 and above.

New York

Beginning with the 2008 data, the HCUP data element AGE is missing (.) for AIDS/HIV patients. New York identifies AIDS/HIV records by ICD-9-CM diagnosis code, DRG, or MS-DRG:

  • An admitting, principal or any secondary diagnosis of "042", "043", "044", "7958", "27910", "27919", "2793", "1363", "79571", "07951", "07952", "07953", "V017" or "V08".
  • A DRG of 488 through 490 (prior to October 2007) or MS-DRG of 700 through 716 (beginning in October 2007).

Please note that the admitting diagnosis is not retained in the HCUP databases prior to 2012.

In the 1988-1997 HCUP New York databases, AGE could not be calculated because New York did not report full admission and birth dates. During HCUP processing, only the reported age in years could be used to assign AGE.


Beginning with the 2015 data, the HCUP data element AGE is set to missing (.) in the Central Distributor SEDD for records involving substance abuse or HIV infection. This was done at the request of the Utah Partner organization.


Beginning in 2005, Wisconsin no longer codes ages greater than 96 to 96. Prior to 2005, only the calculated age could be used to assign AGE because Wisconsin groups ages greater than 96. AGE was calculated using the date of birth and date of principal procedure because the admission date is not provide by the state.


Internet Citation: HCUP Central Distributor SEDD Description of Data Elements - All States. Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP). September 2008. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.
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Last modified 9/11/08