, Volume 7, Issue 5, pp 414-425

Incidence and Direct Medical Costs of Hospitalizations due to Osteoporotic Fractures in Switzerland

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The objective of this study was to estimate the annual direct medical costs of hospitalizations due to osteoporotic fractures in Switzerland. Days of hospital stay in 1992 were quantified using the casuistic of the medical statistics department of VESKA (Vereinigung Schweizerischer Krankenhäuser, the Swiss Hospital Association), which covers 43% of all hospital beds of that country. Number and incidence of total hospitalizations due to fractures were calculated by extrapolating to 100% the 43% VESKA-selected sample. To estimate number and incidence of hospitalizations due to osteoporotic fractures, internationally accepted age-specific osteoporosis attribution rates were applied. According to the latter the probability of a fracture being causes by osteoporosis increases with age. Mean length of stay for all fractures was calculated (= total hospital days divided by number of cases). By multiplying these mean lengths of stay by the number of osteoporosis-related fracture cases, the number of bed-days due to osteoporotic fractures was calculated. To compare the direct medical costs of hospitalization due to osteoporosis with those due to other frequent diseases, days of hospital stay caused by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), stroke, acute myocardial infarction and breast cancer were estimated using the same methodology. A total estimate of 63 170 (f: 33 596, m: 29 574) hospitalizations due to fractures (and other osteoporosis-related diagnoses) was calculated, thus leading to overall annual incidence rates of hospitalizations for fractures of 950/100 000 women and 877/100 000 men. In women, 548 615 hospital days were found to be caused by osteoporosis, 353 654 days by COPD, 352 062 days by stroke, 200 669 days by breast carcinoma and 131 331 days by myocardial infarction. In men, COPD caused more hospitalization days (537 164) than myocardial infarction (196 793), stroke (180 524) or osteoporosis (152 857). Taking a mean price for a hospital day in Switzerland of 845 Swiss francs, the annual costs of acute hospitalizations due to osteoporosis and its complications were approximately 600 million Swiss francs (f: 464, m: 130 million Swiss francs) in 1992. We conclude that there is enough economic evidence to justify wide-scale interventions against osteoporosis in Switzerland.