Scoliosis is defined as a lateral deviation of the spine. Although most of the curves are small to moderate and never necessitate intervention, some of these curves progress and will require surgical interventions. These procedures are associated with significant health care resources consumption. The objective of this study was to assess the economic impact of scoliosis from a Canadian health care system perspective.
Using a subset of 125,000 patients covered by the provincial drug reimbursement program (Régie de l'assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ)), a retrospective prescription and medical claims analysis was performed. Patients who received a diagnosis of scoliosis (ICD9 = 737.3) from January 2003 to December 2011 were included in the analysis. Annual health care resources utilization and costs were estimated for patients with scoliosis. Surgical procedures associated with scoliosis were identified using the procedure codes found in the RAMQ database. The costs and the resources utilization associated with the surgical procedures were estimated over a one-year period from 30 days preceding to 335 days following the surgery.
Between January 2003 and December 2011, 523 individuals of the sample population received a diagnosis of scoliosis, with a higher proportion of females (70.6%). Among these patients, 22 (4.2%) required at least one scoliosis surgery, for a total of 94 procedures. Most surgeries were correction of the scoliosis via a posterior approach using Luke or Cotrel-Dubousset segmental instrumentation (84% of all the procedures). The mean annual medical cost associated with scoliosis was $4,865 while it was $29,777 for patients who had a surgery. Annual medication cost were $1,178 for all patients with scoliosis and $1,546 for patients who had a surgery.
The economic impact of scoliosis in Canada is substantial, especially when a surgical intervention is required.
© 2012 International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR). Published by Elsevier Inc.