Almost all studies of pathologic fractures have been conducted based on patients with tumours and hospital-based data; however, in the present study, a nationwide epidemiological survey of pathologic fractures in Taiwan was performed and the medical utilization was calculated.
All claimants of Taiwan's National Health Insurance (NHI) Program in 2008 were included in the target population of this descriptive cross-sectional study. The registration and inpatient expenditure claims data by admission of all hospitalized subjects of the target population were examined and the concomitant International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM) diagnosis codes were evaluated and classified into seven major categories of fracture.
A total of 5,244 incident cases of pathologic fracture were identified from the 2008 hospitalized patient claims data. The incidence of pathologic fracture of the humerus, distal radius/ulna, vertebrae, femoral neck, other part of the femur, and tibia/fibula was 0.67, 0.08, 10.58, 1.11, 0.56, and 0.11 per 100,000 people, respectively, and patients with those fractures were hospitalized for 43.9 ± 42.9, 31.1 ± 32.9, 29. 4 ± 34.4, 43.3 ± 41.2, 42.4 ± 38.1, and 42.0 ± 32.8 days, respectively, incurring an average medical cost of US$11,049 ± 12,730, US$9,181 ± 12,115, US$6,250 ± 8,021, US$9,619 ± 8,906, US$10,646 ± 11,024, and US$9,403 ± 9,882, respectively. The percentage of patients undergoing bone surgery for pathologic fracture of the humerus, radius/ulna, vertebrae, femoral neck, other part of the femur, and tibia/fibula was 31.2%, 44.4%, 11.3%, 46.5%, 48.4%, and 52.5% respectively.
Comparing Taiwan to other countries, this study observed for Taiwan higher medical utilization and less-aggressive surgical intervention for patients hospitalized with pathologic fractures.