April 26 (Reuters) - HCA Healthcare on Friday beat Wall Street estimates for quarterly profit, helped by higher patient admissions due to demand for healthcare services.

The hospital operator, however, reaffirmed its annual forecast.

In the first quarter, HCA saw a 6.2% increase in same-facility admissions, while emergency room visits increased by 7.2%.

HCA posted quarterly revenue of $17.34 billion, beating estimates of $16.78 billion.

Demand for medical care has been healthy even after the COVID-induced backlog has cleared, analysts say. Some have attributed it to an overall ageing population in the United States, while others also said a shift in the preference for more efficient setting such as ambulatory care centers that do not require patients to stay overnight has also aided demand.

The largest for-profit hospital operator in the United States reported an adjusted profit of $5.36 per share for the quarter. Analysts on average had expected a profit of $5.01 per share, according to LSEG data. (Reporting by Sriparna Roy and Sneha S K in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)