High incidence of lost workdays in patients with subacromial impingement syndrome

Mikkel Bek Clausen, Mathias Fabricius Nielsen, Mikas Bjørn Merrild, Per Hölmich, Kristian Thorborg


INTRODUCTION: Loss of workdays is the main societal cost related to shoulder disorders with nine lost workdays per six months on average. The most common shoulder disorder is subacromial impingement syndrome (SIS), but it remains unknown if SIS is also a leading cause of shoulder-related loss of worktime. We aimed to investigate the incidence of workdays lost due to SIS during the six months following a SIS diagnosis in specialised care.

METHODS: Among 157 consecutive patients diagnosed with SIS in secondary care, 129 (82%) completed a structured six-month follow-up interview. Job status, average working hours and sick leave due to SIS were recorded. Only patients holding a job (n = 58) and patients who lost their job due to SIS (n = 8) were considered to be at risk of losing workdays, leaving 66 patients in the at-risk group. The number of lost workhours due to SIS was calculated and normalised to full-time workdays, and incidences of lost workdays were estimated using Poisson regressions.

RESULTS: In total, 1,781 workdays were lost. The mean number of lost workdays per six months was 27 days (95% confidence interval (CI): 18-40) for patients at risk (n = 66), corresponding to 14 days on average (95% CI: 9-21 days) for the entire cohort (n = 129). A total of 33 patients were responsible for all loss of workdays.

CONCLUSIONS: We found that an average of 27 workdays (> 5 work weeks) were lost due to SIS during the first six months after the diagnosis in patients who were otherwise fit to work. This is three times higher than the nine days previously reported for shoulder problems in general, indicating that productivity loss in patients diagnosed with SIS is a major concern.

FUNDING: none.


TidsskriftDanish Medical Journal
Udgave nummer6
Sider (fra-til)1-8
Antal sider8
StatusUdgivet - 28 maj 2021


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