Trends in incidence and costs of injuries to the shoulder, arm and wrist in the Netherlands between 1986 and 2008

Suzanne Polinder, Gijs It Iordens, Martien Jm Panneman, Denise Eygendaal, Peter Patka, Dennis Den Hartog, Esther M.M. Van Lieshout*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Background: Upper extremity injuries account for a large proportion of attendances to the Emergency Department. The aim of this study was to assess population-based trends in the incidence of upper extremity injuries in the Dutch population between 1986 and 2008, and to give a detailed overview of the associated health care costs. Methods. Age-standardized incidence rates of upper extremity injuries were calculated for each year between 1986 and 2008. The average number of people in each of the 5-year age classes for each year of the study was calculated and used as the standard (reference) population. Injury cases were extracted from the National Injury Surveillance System (non-hospitalized patients) and the National Medical Registration (hospitalized patients). An incidence-based cost model was applied in order to estimate associated direct health care costs in 2007. Results: The overall age-adjusted incidence of upper extremity injuries increased from 970 to 1,098 per 100,000 persons (13%). The highest incidence was seen in young persons and elderly women. Total annual costs for all injuries were 290 million euro, of which 190 million euro were paid for injuries sustained by women. Wrist fractures were the most expensive injuries (83 million euro) due to high incidence, whereas upper arm fractures were the most expensive injuries per case (4,440 euro). Major cost peaks were observed for fractures in elderly women due to high incidence and costs per patient. Conclusions: The overall incidence of upper extremity injury in the Netherlands increased by 13% in the period 1986-2008. Females with upper extremity fractures and especially elderly women with wrist fractures accounted for a substantial share of total costs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number531
Pages (from-to)531
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was supported by grants from the European Society for Surgery of the Shoulder and the Elbow (SECEC/ESSSE), the AO Research Fund of the AO Foundation (No. S-09-99D), and the Osteosynthesis and Trauma Care (OTC) Foundation (No. 2010-DHEL). None of these granting organizations was involved in data collection, data analysis, or the preparation of or editing of the manuscript.

Research programs

  • EMC MUSC-01-47-01
  • EMC MUSC-01-48-01
  • EMC NIHES-02-65-02


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