, Volume 16, Issue 2 Supplement, pp S8-S17
Date: 16 Sep 2004

Epidemiology and direct medical costs of osteoporotic fractures in men and women in Switzerland

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Abstract

The aim of this study was to estimate the hospitalization incidence and the total number of hospital days related to all fractures and osteoporotic fractures in the year 2000 in Switzerland and to compare these with data from other frequent disorders in men and women. The official administrative and medical statistics database of the Swiss Federal Office of Statistics (SFOS) from the year 2000 was used. It covered 81.2% of all registered patient admissions and was considered to be representative of the entire population. We included the ICD-10 codes of 84 diagnoses that were compatible with an underlying osteoporosis and applied the best matching age-specific osteoporosis attribution rates published for the ICD-9 diagnosis codes to the individual ICD-10 codes. To preserve comparability with previously published data from 1992, we grouped the data related to the ICD-10 fracture codes into seven diagnosis pools (fractures of the axial skeleton, fractures of the proximal upper limbs, fractures of the distal upper limbs, fractures of the proximal lower limbs, fractures of the distal lower limbs, multiple fractures, and osteoporosis) and analyzed them separately for women and men by age group. Incidences of hospitalization due to fractures were calculated, and the direct medical costs related to hospitalization were estimated. In addition, we compared the results with those from chronic pulmonary obstructive disease (COPD), stroke, acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, diabetes and breast carcinoma from the same database. In Switzerland during 2000, 62,535 hospitalizations for fractures (35,586 women and 26,949 men) were registered. Fifty-one percent of all fractures in women and 24% in men were considered as osteoporotic. The overall incidences of hospitalization due to fractures were 969 and 768 per 100,000 in women and men, respectively. The hospitalization incidences for fractures of the proximal lower limbs and the axial skeleton increased exponentially after the age of 65 years. The direct medical cost of hospitalization of patients with osteoporosis and/or related fractures was 357 million CHF. Hip fractures accounted for approximately half of these costs in women and men. Among other common diseases in women and men, osteoporosis ranked number 1 in women and number 2 (behind COPD) in men. When compared with data from 1992, the average length of stay had shortened by 8.4 days for women and 4.7 days for men, leading to a decrease of almost 40% in direct medical costs related to acute hospitalizations. This apparent decrease in cost might result from a shift into the ambulatory cost segment, for which the assessment and management tools need to be developed. We conclude that, in 2000, osteoporosis continued to be a heavy burden on the Swiss healthcare system. Lack of awareness of the disease and its consequences prevents widespread use of drugs with anti-fracture efficacy. This limits their potential to reduce costs.