Injury is the most common diagnostic category in the emergency unit, but no survey of epidemiological data for trauma or orthopaedic fractures has been made to date in Taiwan. A nationwide study of orthopaedic injuries is therefore necessary and would be of benefit to the Taiwanese population.
A qualified dataset, provided by a governmental authority, containing the original claims data of 1,000,000 randomly-sampled claimants from the year 2005 in Taiwan was analyzed, and a survey was made of 12 categories of orthopaedic fracture based on the ICD9-CM codes using two sets of data: inpatient data and ambulatory care data.
The prevalence of orthopaedic fractures in Taiwan was estimated to be 234.9 (95% CI: 226.8–235.0) per 10,000 for ambulatory visitors and 61.2 (95% CI: 59.7–62.7) per 10,000 for inpatients. After combining these two datasets, the overall prevalence of fractures of various bones were estimated to be as follows (per 10,000): clavicle or scapula, 16.8; humerus, 15.9; radius or ulna, 38.6; carpal, metacarpal or phalanges, 31.5; femoral neck, 17.4; femur, 13.5; patella, 6.1; tibia or fibula, 24.8; ankle, 13.1; tarsal, metatarsal or foot phalanges, 22.7; vertebrae, 42.4; and pelvis, 4.6. The estimated lifetime prevalence of any fracture was calculated at 23.4% for female and 15.8% for male Taiwanese aged 85 years.
The prevalence of various orthopaedic fractures increases with age, and a higher prevalence of orthopaedic fractures but a lower admission rate were found in Taiwan in comparison with other countries. In addition, the estimated lifetime fracture rates for men and women were more equal and lower in Taiwan than in other countries.
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