Cross-sectional examination of musculoskeletal conditions and multimorbidity: Influence of different thresholds and definitions on prevalence and association estimates

Journal article


Lowe, Dianne B., Taylor, Michael J. and Hill, Sophie J.. (2017) Cross-sectional examination of musculoskeletal conditions and multimorbidity: Influence of different thresholds and definitions on prevalence and association estimates. BMC Research Notes. 10(1), pp. 1 - 13. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13104-017-2376-4
AuthorsLowe, Dianne B., Taylor, Michael J. and Hill, Sophie J.
Abstract

Background: Multimorbidity and musculoskeletal conditions create substantial burden for people and health systems. Quantifying the extent of co-occurring conditions is hampered by conceptual heterogeneity, imprecision and/or indecision about how multimorbidity is defined. The purpose of this study is to examine the influence of different ways of operationalising multimorbidity on multimorbidity prevalence rates with a focus on working-age adults with musculoskeletal conditions. Weighted population prevalence rates of multimorbidity among working-age Australians were estimated using data from the National Health Survey. Two nominal thresholds (2+ or 3+ co-occurring conditions) and three operational definitions of multimorbidity (survey-, policy- and research-based) were examined. Using logistic regression, we estimated the association between the prevalence of multimorbidity among persons with musculoskeletal conditions compared to persons with non-musculoskeletal conditions for each definition and threshold combination. Results: As few as 7.9% of working-age Australians have 2+ conditions using the research-based definition (95% CI 7.4–8.5%), compared to estimates of 15.3% (95% CI 14.3–16.2%) and 61.5% (95% CI 60.3–62.7%). with the policy- and survey-based definitions, respectively. Depending on definition, with the 3+ threshold multimorbidity prevalence ranged from 2.1% (research) to 41.9% (survey). Among the sub-sample with musculoskeletal conditions, multimorbidity with the 2+ threshold ranged from 20.2 to 92.2%; and with 3+ threshold from 5.9 to 75.4%, again lowest with the research-definition and highest with the survey-definition. When compared to any other condition (i.e. non-musculoskeletal conditions), all musculoskeletal conditions were positively associated with multimorbidity, regardless of definition or threshold. Conclusions: Depending on definition and threshold, multimorbidity is either rare or endemic in working-age Australians. Irrespective of definition, musculoskeletal conditions are a near-ubiquitous feature of multimorbidity.

Keywordsmultimorbidity; comorbidity; musculoskeletal conditions; prevalence
Year2017
JournalBMC Research Notes
Journal citation10 (1), pp. 1 - 13
PublisherBioMed Central
ISSN1756-0500
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1186/s13104-017-2376-4
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85009895016
Open accessOpen access
Page range1 - 13
Research GroupSchool of Allied Health
Publisher's version
License
Place of publicationUnited Kingdom
EditorsT. Hughes
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