Hospitalization rates are highest in the first 5 years of systemic sclerosis: Results from a population-based cohort (1980-2016)

Caitrin M. Coffey, Avneek S. Sandhu, Cynthia S. Crowson, Sara J. Achenbach, Eric L. Matteson, Thomas G. Osborn, Kenneth J. Warrington, Ashima Makol

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Objective. Few studies have estimated the healthcare resource usage of patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc). The purpose of this study was to compare hospitalization among incident cases of SSc vs age- and sex-matched comparators. Methods. A retrospective, population-based cohort of patients with SSc in Olmsted County, Minnesota, from January 1, 1980, to December 31, 2016, was assembled. A 2:1 cohort of age- and sex-matched patients without SSc from the same population was randomly selected for comparison. All hospitalizations in the geographic area from January 1, 1987, to September 30, 2018, were obtained. Rates of hospitalization, lengths of stay, and readmissions were compared between groups. Results. There were 76 incident SSc cases and 155 non-SSc comparators (mean age 56 ± 16 yrs at diagnosis/index, 91% female) included. Rates of hospitalization among cases and comparators were 31.9 and 17.9 per 100 person-years, respectively (rate ratio [RR] 1.78, 95% CI Hospitalization rates were higher in patients with SSc than comparators during the first 5 years after SSc diagnosis (RR 2.16, 95% CI This difference decreased over time and was no longer significant at ≥ 15 years after SSc incidence/index. Lengths of stay (median [IQR] 4 [2.6] vs 3 [2.6], P = 0.52) and readmission rates (25% vs 23%, P = 0.51) were similar between groups. Conclusion. Patients with SSc were hospitalized more frequently than comparators, indicating high inpatient care needs in this population. Hospitalization rates were highest during the first 5 years following SSc diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)877-882
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Rheumatology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2021


  • Facilities and services utilization
  • Hospitalization
  • Systemic sclerosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology


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