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Objectives: The aim of this study was to evaluate the trend of the incidence and costs of hip fractures in Italy. Methods: The incidence of hip fractures after 45 years of age in both females and males during the years 1999-2002 was obtained by analyzing the Italian Ministry of Health national hospitalization database, according to the diagnosis codes of International Classification of Diseases, Clinical Modification, 9° edition (IDC-9-CM) that indicate femoral fracture. We have computed all direct costs sustained by the National Health Service for hospitalization and treatment of hip fractures on the basis of the value of the Diagnosis Related Groups (DRG) referring to hip fractures. The expenses of rehabilitation and indirect expenses were based on estimates. Results: In 2002, more than 86,000 hip fractures were registered in Italy in male and female patients over 45 years old, with 9% progression compared to 1999; 77% were female and 80% were over 75 years of age. In 2002 the direct costs of hospitalization, in the patients over 65 years alone, were almost 400 milion euros, with an increase of 15% as compared to 1999. Considering also estimated rehabilitation costs, social aid and indirect costs, we estimate that hip fractures due to age-related osteoporosis created over a billion euros in expenses in 2002. Conclusions: Preventive intervention regarding the risk of hip fracture in elderly patients is urgent.
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