Osteoarthritis: quality of life, comorbidities, medication and health service utilization assessed in a large sample of primary care patients
Department of General Practice and Health Services Research, University of Heidelberg, Voßstrasse 2, 69115 Heidelberg, Germany
Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research 2007, 2:12 doi:10.1186/1749-799X-2-12Published: 30 June 2007
To assess the gender related impact of osteoarthritis (OA) on quality of life (QoL) and health service utilization (HSU) of primary care patients in Germany.
Cross sectional study with 1250 OA patients attending 75 primary care practices from March to May 2005. QoL was assessed using the GERMAN-AIMS2-SF. Data about comorbidities, prescriptions, health service utilization, and physical activity were obtained by questioning patients or from the patients' medical files. Depression was assessed by means of the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9).
1021 (81.7%) questionnaires were returned. 347 (34%) patients were male. Impact of OA on QoL was different between gender: women achieved significantly higher scores in the AIMS 2-SF dimensions lower body (p < 0.01), symptom (p < 0.01), affect (p < 0.01) and work (p < 0.05). Main predictors of pain and disability were a high score in the "upper body "scale of the AIMS2-SF (beta = 0.280; p < 0.001), a high score in the PHQ-9 (beta = 0.214; p < 0.001), duration of OA (beta = 0.097; p = 0.004), age (beta = 0.090; p = 0.023) and the BMI (beta = 0.069; p = 0.034). Predictors of pain and disability did not differ between gender. 18.8 % of men and 19.7% of women had a concomitant depression. However, no gender differences occurred. Women visited their GP (mean 5.61 contacts in 6 months) more often than men (mean 4.08; p < 0.01); visits to orthopedics did not differ between gender.
The extent to which OA impacts men and women differs in primary care patients. This might have resulted in the revealed differences in the pharmacological treatment and the HSU. Further research is needed to confirm our findings and to assess causality.