The excess burden of osteoarthritis in the province of Ontario, Canada

Arthritis Rheum. 2012 Apr;64(4):1153-61. doi: 10.1002/art.33467. Epub 2011 Nov 11.


Objective: Little is known about the burden of osteoarthritis (OA) in Canada. This study was undertaken to estimate the excess burden of OA in Ontario, the largest province in Canada.

Methods: The records of Ontarian respondents to the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) who provided consent to data linkage were linked to the Ontario Health Insurance Program physician claims database and the Discharge Abstract Database Inpatient and Day Procedure databases. Patients with OA (n = 1,474) were identified using CCHS 1.1 and the physician claims database. To determine the excess burden of OA, a control group matched by age, sex, and rural/urban status was created, with 3 controls per case (n = 4,422). Sociodemographic and medical characteristics, health-related quality of life, and 1-year physician, day (outpatient) procedure, and hospitalization costs were compared between the 2 groups. Regression analyses were performed to identify predictors of medical characteristics, health utility, and cost.

Results: The mean age of the OA patients and the control subjects was 66 years, and 74% of all study subjects were women. Several differences were observed between patients with OA and subjects without OA in terms of socioeconomic and medical characteristics. On a scale of 0-1, the mean utility value associated with OA was 0.68, compared to 0.84 for the control group (P < 0.0001), representing a utility decrement of 0.16. The 1-year physician, outpatient procedure, and hospitalization costs were significantly higher in the OA group than in the non-OA group ($2,233 Canadian versus $1,033 Canadian, respectively; P < 0.0001).

Conclusion: These results indicate that the excess burden of OA in Ontario is considerable.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs*
  • Health Status
  • Health Surveys
  • Hospitalization / economics*
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Health / economics
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ontario
  • Osteoarthritis / economics*
  • Quality of Life
  • Socioeconomic Factors