Short Communication - Public Health

Rheumatology International

, Volume 36, Issue 5, pp 673-677

First online:

The non-silent epidemic: low back pain as a primary cause of hospitalisation

  • Manuela LaffontAffiliated withServicio de Reumatologia, Hospital J. M. Ramos Mejia
  • , Gabriel SequeiraAffiliated withServicio de Reumatologia, Hospital J. M. Ramos Mejia Email author 
  • , Eduardo Mario KerzbergAffiliated withServicio de Reumatologia, Hospital J. M. Ramos Mejia
  • , Elida MarconiAffiliated withDirección de Estadísticas e Información de Salud, Ministerio de Salud de la República Argentina
  • , Carlos GuevelAffiliated withDirección de Estadísticas e Información de Salud, Ministerio de Salud de la República Argentina
  • , Maria de las Mercedes FernándezAffiliated withDirección de Estadísticas e Información de Salud, Ministerio de Salud de la República Argentina

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Abstract

Low back pain (LBP) is the most common cause of pain in adults and the second health condition that prompts patients to seek ambulatory medical care visits. To analyse the impact of LBP on hospitalisations in healthcare facilities within the official subsector in Argentina between 2006 and 2010. Discharges in which the original diagnosis had been either adult LBP or lumbosciatica were assessed. The data comprised age, gender, province of residence, average length of stay (LOS) in the hospital, intra-hospital death, and the Provincial Human Development Index (PHDI). 17,859 discharges had an original diagnosis of LBP and 10,948 of lumbosciatica, which jointly accounted for 18.7 % of all the discharges documented for Diseases of Osteomuscular System and Connective Tissue (DOMS). Hospital discharges of female patients represented 53.7 %. The average age upon admission was 47.7 years in men versus 47.9 in women. The average LOS was slightly higher in men (4.2 vs. 3.8 days, p 0.01). In provinces with a PHDI below the national average, a surgical procedure was performed in 3.1 % of the discharges versus 4.1 % in the provinces with a PHDI above the national average (p < 0.001). LBP was the most frequent cause of hospitalisation due to DOMS. It occurred with a slightly higher frequency in women and prompted short hospitalisations. A surgical procedure was carried out during hospitalisation in very few cases, but the percentage of surgeries during hospitalisation was higher in provinces with a PHDI above the national average.

Keywords

Low back pain Hospitalisations Provincial Human Development Index Surgical procedure