Background Based upon population studies the prevalence of RA in Hungary is 1.01% among the adult population. (The estimated number of RA cases is 84,455.) RA is characterised by early disability and frequent hospitalisation. Health related quality of life of RA patients can be improved significantly with joint surgery.
Objectives To describe the annual number of hospitalisation due to RA, the annual number of large joint surgery performed among RA patients, the number of new case of RA with permanent disability.
Methods From the national hospital database all cases with the main diagnosis of RA (ICD code group M05 and M06) were selected for analysis. Multiple hospitalisation of the same patients were excluded. The number of disability pension for RA was drawn from the annual report of the National Institute for Medical Experts.
Results There were 2,556,338 hospitalisation in Hungary in 1999. In 5,243 cases (0.2%) RA was the main diagnosis. This represents the 6.2% of all RA patients, calculated on the epidemiological data. In this year 7,106 total hip replacement and 2,539 knee replacement were performed, among them there were 75 cases of hip, and 78 cases of knee surgery in RA. Reconstructive surgery represents 2,9% of the total hospitalisation with RA. There were 3,667 new disability claimants with locomotor diseases (with any of the “M” ICD code) which is 10.6% of the total new pensionist. RA was the leading cause of disability in 231 (6.2%) cases.
Conclusion Our hospitalisation data with RA are conflicting with the estimated total number of RA patients. Surgery (as measured by the number of large joint reconstuctive surgery) represents only a small proportion as an indication for hospitalisation with RA.