Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 109, Issue 3, pp 427–435 | Cite as

Geographic variation in incidence and prevalence rates for rheumatoid arthritis in Saskatchewan, Canada 2001–2014

  • Regina Taylor-Gjevre
  • Bindu Nair
  • Shan Jin
  • Jacqueline Quail
Quantitative Research



To estimate and compare incidence/prevalence of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in different geographic health regions and between urban/rural locations of residence within the province of Saskatchewan.


Saskatchewan Provincial Administrative Health Databases (2001–2014) were utilized as data sources. Two RA case-definitions were employed: (1) three physician billing diagnoses, at least one of which was submitted by a specialist (rheumatologist, general internist, or orthopedic surgeon) within 2 years; (2) one hospitalization diagnosis (ICD-9-CM code-714 and ICD-10-CA codes-M05, M06). Data from these definitions were combined to estimate annual RA incidence and prevalence. Annual incidence and prevalence rates across geographic regions and between rural and urban residences were examined.


An increasing RA prevalence gradient was observed in a south to north direction within the province. In the 2014–2015 Fiscal Year, the southern region of Sun Country had a 0.57% RA prevalence and the Northern Health Regions a prevalence of 1.15%. Incidence rates fluctuated over time in all regions but tended to be higher in Northern Health Regions. A higher RA prevalence trend was observed in rural residents over the study period.


Higher prevalence rates were observed for RA in Northern Health Regions than elsewhere in the province. Rural prevalence rates were higher than for urban residents. Healthcare delivery strategic planning will need to ensure appropriate access for RA patients throughout the province.


Rheumatoid arthritis Epidemiology Geography 



Estimer et comparer l’incidence et la prévalence de la polyarthrite rhumatoïde (PR) entre différentes régions sanitaires et entre les lieux de résidence urbains et ruraux de la province de la Saskatchewan.


Nos données sont extraites des bases de données administratives sur la santé de la Saskatchewan (2001–2014). Nous avons employé deux définitions de cas pour la PR: 1) > trois factures de diagnostic médical, dont au moins une soumise par une ou un spécialiste (rhumatologue, interniste général(e) ou chirurgien(ne) orthopédiste) en l’espace de deux ans; 2) > un diagnostic d’hospitalisation (code CIM-9-MC 714 et codes CIM-10-CA M05 et M06). Nous avons combiné les données de ces définitions pour estimer l’incidence et la prévalence annuelles de la PR. Nous avons ensuite examiné les taux d’incidence et de prévalence annuels d’une région géographique à l’autre et entre les lieux de résidence urbains et ruraux.


Un gradient de prévalence de la PR croissant du sud vers le nord a été observé dans la province. Durant l’exercice 2014–2015, le taux de prévalence de la PR était de 0,57% dans la région sanitaire de Sun Country, dans le sud de la Saskatchewan, et de 1,15% dans les régions sanitaires du nord. Les taux d’incidence ont fluctué dans le temps dans toutes les régions, mais ont eu tendance à être plus élevés dans les régions sanitaires du nord. Une prévalence supérieure de la PR a été observée chez les résidents des milieux ruraux au cours de la période de l’étude.


Les taux de prévalence observés pour la PR dans les régions sanitaires du nord étaient plus élevés qu’ailleurs dans la province. Les taux de prévalence des résidents des milieux ruraux étaient supérieurs à ceux des résidents des milieux urbains. Dans la planification stratégique, il faudra donc veiller à ce que les patients atteints de PR aient accès aux soins de santé appropriés dans toute la province.


Polyarthrite rhumatoïde Épidémiologie Géographie 



This work was supported by the Noreen Sutherland—Rheumatoid Arthritis—Royal University Hospital Foundation Endowment Fund.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

This study complies with the Declaration of Helsinki and was approved by the University of Saskatchewan Biomedical Research Ethics Board.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


This study is based in part on de-identified data provided by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health. The interpretation and conclusions contained herein do not necessarily represent those of the Government of Saskatchewan or the Ministry of Health.


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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Rheumatology, College of MedicineUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada
  2. 2.College of MedicineUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada
  3. 3.Saskatchewan Health Quality CouncilSaskatoonCanada

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