Multiple Sclerosis Hospitalizations On the Decline

September 11, 2014

Hospitalization rates have declined dramatically in the MS population but remain higher than in the general population. That may be because of the availability of MS disease-modifying treatments.

This study aimed to describe hospitalizations in the multiple sclerosis (MS) population and to evaluate temporal trends in hospitalizations in this population compared with the general population.

Using population-based administrative data in the United States, the researchers identified 5797 patients with MS and a matched general population cohort of 28,769 persons.

The hospitalization rate in 1984 was 35 per 100 person-years in the MS population compared with 10.5 in the matched population. Hospitalizations declined 75% in the MS population but only 41% in the matched population over the study period. The proportion of MS hospitalizations declined substantially, from 43.4% in 1984 to 7.8% in 2011.

Diseases of the digestive, genitourinary, and circulatory systems were the most common non–MS-related reasons for admission in the MS population.

This study shows that hospitalization rates have declined dramatically in the MS population over the last quarter century but remain higher than in the general population. Admissions for MS-related reasons now constitute only a small proportion of the reasons for hospitalization.

• Despite using routinely collected administrative data, and not detailed clinical notes, the study clearly showed that MS hospitalizations are falling and that problems affecting patients are now related to other organ systems.

• The reason why MS admissions are falling is unclear but may be related to the availability of MS disease-modifying treatments.

References:

1. Marrie RA, Elliott L, Marriott J, et al. Dramatically changing rates and reasons for hospitalization in multiple sclerosis. Neurology. 2014;83:929-937.