Objectives: Hospital admissions are important surrogate measures for disease worsening and increased demand on healthcare resources; few studies have examined hospitalizations in multiple sclerosis (MS). We examined hospital admission rates and patterns in a large Canadian MS cohort.
Study design: Retrospective, observational study.
Methods: Data from the British Columbia MS database were linked with hospital separation and registry administrative data, 1986 to 2008. Main outcomes included all-cause hospital admission rates and length of stay. The influence of time and patient characteristics was examined using multivariable regression models.
Results: Overall rate of all-cause admissions was 32.4 per 100 MS patients. Rates decreased by 1.4% (adjusted incidence rate ratio [IRR] 0.986; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.982-0.990) per year from 1986 onward. Higher admission rates were associated with older age (adjusted IRR 1.011; 95% CI 1.007-1.014), primary progressive MS (adjusted IRR 1.294; 95% CI 1.162-1.441), and a longer disease duration (adjusted IRR 1.030; 95% CI 1.027-1.034). Mean length of inpatient stay was 10.2 (standard deviation [SD] 24.8) days, and increased over time. Hospital stays were longer for older patients and those with a longer disease duration, but were not influenced by sex or disease course.
Conclusions: Admission rates for MS patients have decreased since 1986, but length of stay has increased. Patients with a longer disease duration and those with primary progressive MS had higher rates of admission and longer stays. Understanding the impact of time and patient characteristics on hospitalizations is important for resource allocation planning and designing future research studies examining interventions and treatments for MS.