Acute and long-term costs of 268 peripheral nerve injuries in the upper extremity

Konstantin D Bergmeister, Luisa Große-Hartlage, Simeon C Daeschler, Patrick Rhodius, Arne Böcker, Marius Beyersdorff, Axel Olaf Kern, Ulrich Kneser, Leila Harhaus

Publikation: Beitrag in Fachzeitschrift (peer-reviewed)Artikel in Fachzeitschrift

40 Zitate (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Peripheral nerve injury in the upper extremity is linked to high socioeconomic burden, yet cost-analyses are rare and from small cohorts. The objective of this study was to determine the costs and long-term socioeconomic effects of peripheral nerve injuries in the upper extremity in Germany.

METHODS: We analyzed data of 250 patients with 268 work-related upper extremity nerve injuries from acute treatment to long-term follow-up on rehabilitation, sick-leave and disability-pension.

RESULTS: Patients were on average 39.9±14.2 years old, male (85%) and mean inpatient treatment was 7±6 days. Location of nerve was 8% (N = 19) proximal to the wrist, 26% (N = 65) at the wrist and metacarpus, and 66% (N = 166) at phalangeal level. Acute in-patient treatment for (single) median nerve injury accounted for 66% with hospital reimbursement of 3.570€, ulnar nerve injury for 24% and 2.650€ and radial nerve injury for 10% and 3.166€, all including finger nerve injuries. The remaining were combined nerve injuries, with significantly higher costs, especially if combined with tendon 5.086€ or vascular injury 4.886€. Based on location, nerve injuries proximal to the wrist averaged 5.360±6.429€, at the wrist and metacarpus 3.534±2.710€ and at the phalangeal level 3.418±3.330€. 16% required rehabilitation with average costs of 5.842€ and stay of 41±21 days. Sick leave was between 11-1109 days with an average of 147 days with socioeconomic costs of 197€/day, equaling on average 17.640€. 30% received a mean yearly disability pension of 3.187€, that would account to 102.167€ per lifetime.

CONCLUSION: This large German patient sample indicates that nerve injury has a major impact on function and employment, resulting in significant health care costs. Both proximal and distal nerve injuries led to long-term disability, subsequent sick-leave and in 30% to permanent disability pension. These data are determined to support future studies and health economical work on prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of these often small injuries with great consequences.

Seiten (von - bis)e0229530
FachzeitschriftPLoS ONE
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 2020


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