Osteoporosis breaks the bank

August 7, 2009

The rate of hospitalizations that involved an injury likely due to osteoporosis increased 55% since 1995, to just more than 254,000 hospital stays totaling $2.4 billion in hospital costs in 2006, according to AHRQ.

The rate of hospitalizations that involved an injury likely due to osteoporosis increased 55% since 1995, to just more than 254,000 hospital stays totaling $2.4 billion in hospital costs in 2006, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

The Midwest had the highest rate of injurious osteoporosis hospitalizations (107 stays per 100,000 population), while the West had the lowest rate (68 stays per 100,000 population). “The regional differences were striking to us, as was the increase over time,” says Anne Elixhauser, PhD, senior research scientist, AHRQ.

Treatments of hip and leg fractures and dislocations were performed in 16.4% of all injurious osteoporosis stays, and 8.1% of these stays noted a hip replacement.

“Given the high costs associated with osteoporosis, especially with cases involving serious fractures, such as hip fractures, prevention efforts should be strengthened at managed care organizations,” Elixhauser says. “The regional differences are interesting and we wonder if they suggest differences in activity levels, which is known to reduce osteoporosis.”

The AHRQ News and Numbers, based on data in U.S. Hospitalizations Involving Osteoporosis and Injury, 2006, also found that fractures associated with osteoporosis:

• Accounted for one-fourth of the roughly 1 million hospitalizations in 2006 of patients with osteoporosis.

• Caused women to be six times more likely to be hospitalized than men.

• Involved mostly older patients: 90% of hospitalizations were for age 65 and older and 37% for patients age 85 and older.