Community-based study to estimate prevalence and burden of illness of rheumatic diseases in Cuba: a COPCORD study

J Clin Rheumatol. 2009 Mar;15(2):51-5. doi: 10.1097/RHU.0b013e31819b61cb.


Objective: To estimate the prevalence, burden of illness, and help-seeking behavior of patients with musculoskeletal complaints and provide point prevalence estimates of osteoarthritis, low back pain, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and bone fractures not related to trauma among the adult population in a urban community in Havana City.

Methods: Home survey of adults validated against physical examination. Forty-eight trained family doctors and 3 rheumatologists supervised the interviews and confirmed diagnoses. Family doctors applied a validated Community Oriented Program for the Control of Rheumatic Diseases core questionnaire. A diagnosis using American College of Rheumatology criteria was established. Analysis was based on descriptive statistics and point prevalence estimates with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of most common diseases and associated disability rate.

Results: One thousand two hundred thirty-eight men and 1917 women were included. Prevalence of musculoskeletal pain was estimated in 43.9% (95% CI: 42.2-45.7). The knees were the most affected area (11.7%; 95% CI: 10.6-12) followed by low back pain (11.6%; 95% CI: 10.5-12.8). Point prevalence and 95% CI were as follows: osteoarthritis, 20.4% (95% CI: 19-21.8); gout, 0.38% (95% CI: 0.2-0.6); fibromyalgia, 0.22% (95% CI: 0.09-0.4); systemic lupus erythematosus, 0.06% (95% CI: 0.01-0.25); spondyloarthropathies, 0.19% (95% CI: 0.07-0.4); and rheumatoid arthritis,1.24% (95% CI: 0.8-1.7). Bone fractures not related to trauma were found in 1.14%, hip fracture being the most common (30.5%). Most patients were seen by the general practitioner (65.4%) and 6.2% described some disability.

Conclusions: Musculoskeletal pain is highly prevalent in Cuba. Prevalence estimates are similar to those described in other surveys except for rheumatoid arthritis that seems more prevalent in Cuba and fibromyalgia less prevalent.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Cuba / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Rheumatic Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Sex Distribution
  • Young Adult