Annual consultation incidence of osteoarthritis estimated from population-based health care data in England

Rheumatology (Oxford). 2015 Nov;54(11):2051-60. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/kev231. Epub 2015 Jul 9.


Objectives: To estimate the consultation incidence of OA using population-based health care data in England and compare OA incidence figures with those derived in other countries.

Methods: A population-based health care database (Consultations in Primary Care Archive) in England was used to derive the consultation incidence of OA (overall and by joint site) using the maximum available run-in period method. These estimates, and their distribution by age and sex, were compared with those published from population-based health care databases in Canada, the Netherlands and Spain. A novel age-stratified run-in period method was then used to investigate whether the consultation incidence has been increasing over time in younger adults.

Results: The annual consultation incidence of OA (any joint) was 8.6/1000 persons ≥15 years of age (95% CI 7.9, 9.3) [6.3 (95% CI 5.5, 7.1) in men and 10.8 (95% CI 9.8, 12.0) in women]. Incidence increased sharply between 45 and 64 years of age, peaking at 75-84 years. The joint-specific incidence was 1.4 (95% CI 1.1, 1.7), 3.5 (95% CI 3.1, 3.9) and 1.3 (95% CI 1.1, 1.6) for hip OA, knee OA and hand OA, respectively. The estimates and their distribution by age and sex were broadly consistent with international estimates. Between 2003 and 2010, incidence in those aged 35-44 years increased from 0.3 to 2.0/1000 persons.

Conclusion: Newly diagnosed cases of OA in England occur in 9 in 1000 at-risk adults each year, similar to other international estimates. Although lower, the consultation incidence proportion in younger adults appears to have increased in the past decade.

Keywords: consultation; incidence; osteoarthritis; population-based health care data.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Databases, Factual / statistics & numerical data*
  • Delivery of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • England / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Osteoarthritis / diagnosis*
  • Osteoarthritis / epidemiology*
  • Primary Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Referral and Consultation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Young Adult