The Mayo Clinic in Minnesota has topped a list of the United States' best hospitals based on care for people with rare or life-threatening conditions, U.S. News & World Report says in its annual ranking of 5,000 medical facilities in the country.

It was the first time the Rochester, Minnesota, facility topped the news magazine's list.

To create its rankings, U.S. News & World Report examined medical specialties from urology to cancer at each of the hospitals surveyed, and only clinics with significantly high marks in at least six of the specialties made the survey's Honor Roll.

Only 17 hospitals achieved a spot in this year's roll.

Just three U.S. cities put more than one hospital on the Honor Roll, the magazine said: Boston, New York and Los Angeles.

All three cities were repeating that feat from last year, it said.

Although the Mayo Clinic ranked first based on a combination of the specialties surveyed, there were hospitals that topped each of the 16 specialty categories examined.

For example, New York's Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center ranked first in cancer, while the top spot for heart surgery and cardiology went to the Cleveland Clinic.

And of hospitals specializing in orthopedics, New York's Hospital for Special Surgery was ranked best.

In total, 144 hospitals achieved a national ranking in a least one medical specialty.

In the overall rankings, Massachusetts General Hospital is the second in rankings behind the Mayo Clinic while Johns Hopkins Hospital is third.

All three received high rankings in 15 of the 16 specialties examined for the survey.

Until 2012, John Hopkins had enjoyed a 21-year run as the best hospital in the rankings, which the magazine has been publishing for 25 years.

Acknowledging that patients are not always able to travel to a nationally ranked hospital for care, U.S. News & World Report also published a separate ranking of almost 600 additional hospitals by region, states and metropolitan area.

The facilities in its Best Regional Hospital list are ranked using the identical criteria and standards as the nationally ranked centers, the magazine said.

The magazine also publishes a list of Best Children's Hospitals.

Rankings in all of the magazine's lists are based for the most part on objective measures of hospital performance including patient survival rates and quantifiable resources like levels of nurse staffing.

The reputation of each facility, determined by separate survey of medical specialists, is factored in, the magazine says.

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