Publication date

Somatic comorbidity in neurological disease.

Nuyen, J., Bos, G.A.M. van den, Groenewegen, P.P., Schellevis, F.G. Somatic comorbidity in neurological disease. European Journal of Public Health: 2004, 14(4 Suppl.) 103. Abstract. 12 th Annual EUPHA meeting: Urbanisation and health: new challenges in health promotion and prevention in Oslo, Norway, 7-9 october 2004.
Background: Patients with comorbidity in general have a higher risk of dying, a poorer quality of life and greater use of health services. Relativel few studies have examined the occurrence of somatic comorbid conditions in neurological diseases. Aim: Therefore, the size of somatic comorbidity in four neurological diseases, i.e. stroke, multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s disease/ parkinsonism (PD) and epilepsy, was examined. Knowledge of higher risks for certain
additional diseases may direct care providers towards prevention of these diseases. Methods: Data were derived from the second Dutch National Survey of General Practice (2001). On the basis of ICPC-coded diagnoses recorded by general practitioners (GPs) four cohorts of patients were established: those with stroke (n=2037; 6914514 yrs.; 50% male), MS (n=295; 4914513 yrs.; 32% male), PD (n=448; 7414510 yrs.; 48% male), and epilepsy (n=1579; 4314521 yrs.; 51% male). Somatic comorbidity was defined as having in addition at least one of 70 selected chronic conditions as evidenced by GP diagnoses. Results: preliminary descriptive analysis showed that 61% of the stroke patients had comorbidity. The comorbidity rate among MS patients was 22%, while being 47% among the PD patients, and 24% among the epilepsy patients. In additional analyses we will compare the observed prevalences of the selected comorbid conditions with the expected prevalences in the Dutch general practice population, adjusted for age and sex. Furthermore, the observed prevalences will be compared between the four neurological diseases. Conclusions: Our results suggest that somatic comorbidity in general is common in patients with neurological disease, and differs in extent between specific neurological diseases. This suggests that in a substantial proportion of patients with neurological disease the disease burden is heightened due to comorbidity, which may have consequences for the organisation of health care for these patients.