Incidence and prevalence of systemic sclerosis in a healthcare plan in Buenos Aires

J Clin Rheumatol. 2011 Mar;17(2):59-63. doi: 10.1097/RHU.0b013e31820e7e8d.


Background: Systemic sclerosis (scleroderma) is an infrequent disease. Data on incidence and prevalence are scarce and conflictive. There are no such data in Latin America or in Argentina in particular.

Objectives: We undertook to examine the incidence and prevalence of systemic sclerosis in the prepaid health maintenance organization of our hospital, in the city of Buenos Aires.

Methods: Members of the plan between 1999 and 2004 were followed up for incident cases, and prevalence was calculated at the end of the period.

Results: A total of 98,642 persons were followed up for a total of 32,9534 person-years. Density of incidence overall was 21.2 per million person-years (95% confidence interval [CI], 5.4-37). Density of incidence for diffuse disease was 6.1 per million person-years (95% CI, 2.3-14.5), and for limited disease, it was 15.2 per million person-years (95% CI, 2-28). Prevalence was 296 per million people (95% CI, 193-434); females, 477 per million people (95% CI, 309-704); and males, 28 per million people (95% CI, 7-157). Prevalence for diffuse disease was 57 per million people (95% CI, 18-133), and for limited disease, it was 240 per million people (95% CI, 148-365).

Conclusions: Despite potential biases, these data are in agreement with others from different parts of the world and the first obtained in Argentina and, to our knowledge, in Latin America.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Argentina / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Delivery of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / epidemiology*
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / ethnology*
  • Sex Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Young Adult