Aging Clinical and Experimental Research

, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 145–150 | Cite as

Cross-sectional study on hospitalizations related to herpes zoster in an Italian region, 2008–2016

  • Silvia Cocchio
  • Tatjana Baldovin
  • Patrizia Furlan
  • Chiara BertoncelloEmail author
  • Alessandra Buja
  • Mario Saia
  • Marco Fonzo
  • Vincenzo Baldo
Original Article



To assess the burden of herpes zoster (HZ) by analyzing HZ-related hospital admissions.


We conducted a population-based descriptive cross-sectional study on all hospitalizations for HZ among the resident population admitted to all public and accredited private hospitals in the Veneto Region (north-east Italy) during the years 2008–2016. HZ hospitalizations were identified from the International Classification of Diseases codes in the hospital discharge records.


During the period considered, we identified 3566 HZ-associated admissions, 194 (5.4%) of which were readmissions within 30 days. A complicated HZ diagnosis was mentioned for 44.4% of the patients admitted once and for 65.9% of those admitted twice. In the sample as a whole, 27.0% of patients had at least one comorbidity. Overall, our analysis revealed a gradual increase in hospitalizations with age for both genders, reaching a hospitalization rate for the population over 80 years old of 51.2 × 100,000 for males and 52.8 × 100,000 for females. The average hospitalization rate for HZ-related conditions during the years 2008–2016 was 7.7 per 100,000 population. Postherpetic neuralgia was diagnosed in 8.2% of hospitalizations, with no difference between the genders. The estimated overall cost of HZ-related conditions was approximately €2.7 million a year.


This study suggests that the burden of HZ and its impact on quality of life are of critical relevance to public health decision-making.


Herpes zoster Postherpetic neuralgia Hospitalization Epidemiology Public health 



Herpes zoster


Varicella zoster virus


Cell-mediated immunity


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease


Postherpetic neuralgia


International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification


Diagnosis-related groups


Average annual percent changes



The authors did not receive any funding or support for the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Human and animal rights statement and consent to participate

The study was conducted on data routinely collected by the health services and linked to anonymized records that make it impossible to identify the individuals concerned. The data analysis was performed on anonymized aggregated data in the Local Health Authority registries that are recorded with the patient’s consent and can be used in aggregate form for scientific studies without further authorization (Gazzetta Ufficiale della Repubblica Italiana. 2012, 72: 47–52). This study complies with the Declaration of Helsinki and with Italian privacy law (Decree n. 196/2003 on the protection of personal data).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Silvia Cocchio
    • 1
  • Tatjana Baldovin
    • 1
  • Patrizia Furlan
    • 1
  • Chiara Bertoncello
    • 1
    Email author
  • Alessandra Buja
    • 1
  • Mario Saia
    • 2
  • Marco Fonzo
    • 1
  • Vincenzo Baldo
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Cardiac, Thoracic and Vascular Sciences, Hygiene and Public Health UnitUniversity of PaduaPaduaItaly
  2. 2.EuroHealth Net, Veneto Region Health DirectorateVenetoItaly

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