Systemic autoimmune rheumatic disease prevalence in Canada: updated analyses across 7 provinces.J Rheumatol 2014; 41(4):673-9JR
To estimate systemic autoimmune rheumatic disease (SARD) prevalence across 7 Canadian provinces using population-based administrative data evaluating both regional variations and the effects of age and sex.
Using provincial physician billing and hospitalization data, cases of SARD (systemic lupus erythematosus, scleroderma, primary Sjögren syndrome, polymyositis/dermatomyositis) were ascertained. Three case definitions (rheumatology billing, 2-code physician billing, and hospital diagnosis) were combined to derive a SARD prevalence estimate for each province, categorized by age, sex, and rural/urban status. A hierarchical Bayesian latent class regression model was fit to account for the imperfect sensitivity and specificity of each case definition. The model also provided sensitivity estimates of different case definition approaches.
Prevalence estimates for overall SARD ranged between 2 and 5 cases per 1000 residents across provinces. Similar demographic trends were evident across provinces, with greater prevalence in women and in persons over 45 years old. SARD prevalence in women over 45 was close to 1%. Overall sensitivity was poor, but estimates for each of the 3 case definitions improved within older populations and were slightly higher for men compared to women.
Our results are consistent with previous estimates and other North American findings, and provide results from coast to coast, as well as useful information about the degree of regional and demographic variations that can be seen within a single country. Our work demonstrates the usefulness of using multiple data sources, adjusting for the error in each, and providing estimates of the sensitivity of different case definition approaches.