Epidemiology of acromegaly in Italy: analysis from a large longitudinal primary care database

Endocrine. 2018 Sep;61(3):533-541. doi: 10.1007/s12020-018-1630-4. Epub 2018 May 24.


Purpose: Epidemiological data are pivotal for the estimation of disease burden in populations.

Aim: Of the study was to estimate the incidence and prevalence of acromegaly in Italy along with the impact of comorbidities and hospitalization rates as compared to the general population.

Methods: Retrospective epidemiological study (from 2000 to 2014) and case control-study. Data were extracted from the Health Search Database (HSD). HSD contains patient records from about 1000 general practitioners (GPs) throughout Italy, covering a population of more than 1 million patients. It includes information about patient demographics and medical data including clinical diagnoses and diagnostic tests.

Results: At the end of the study period, 74 acromegaly patients (out of 1,066,871 people) were identified, resulting in a prevalence of 6.9 per 100,000 inhabitants [95% CI 5.4-8.5]. Prevalence was higher in females than men (p = 0.004), and showed a statistically significant trend of increase over time (p < 0.0001). Overall, incidence during the study period was 0.31 per 100,000 person-years. Hypertension and type II diabetes mellitus were the comorbidities more frequently associated with acromegaly (31.3 and 14.6%, respectively) and patients were more likely to undergo a high frequency of yearly hospitalization (≥3 accesses/year, p < 0.001) compared to sex-age matched controls.

Conclusions: This epidemiological study on acromegaly carried out using a large GP-based database, documented a disease prevalence of about 7 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. As expected, acromegaly was associated with a number of comorbidities (mainly hypertension and type II diabetes mellitus) and a high rate of patients' hospitalization.

Keywords: Acromegaly; Comorbidities; Epidemiology; Incidence; Prevalence.

MeSH terms

  • Acromegaly / epidemiology*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Young Adult