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Ricci B., Ricci V.
Department of Ophthalmology Columbus Association Catholic University of Rome, Rome, Italy
Aim. Glaucoma surgery has decreased in the past decade after the introduction of new topical drugs. The aim of this study was to evaluate the number of patients hospitalized for glaucoma and the number of surgical procedures used to treat them in a six-year period in Italy.
Methods. Retrospective review of all hospital discharges and surgical treatments from 2000 through 2005 in glaucomatous patients aged 45 years and older. The source of our data was the online database maintained by the Italian Ministry of Health.
Results. Hospital discharges with diagnosis of glaucoma were 126 117, while 40 853 surgical procedures were performed. On the whole, 8312 operations were carried out in 2000, 6 248 in 2001, 6 148 in 2002, 6 267 in 2003, 6 863 in 2004, and 7 015 in 2005. The number of trabeculectomies decreased by 25.87% in 2005 with respect to 2000.
Conclusion. During the study period, there was a considerable reduction in the number of surgeries, but this decrease cannot be compared to the reduction observed in other countries. A sudden result was that trabeculectomy, normally the most common surgical treatment for glaucoma, represented merely 54.28% of the total operations and 75.13% of filtration surgeries. A large difference exists between the number of discharges related to glaucoma and the number of treatments involving patients >45 years. Besides, the number of admissions increased from 20 660 in 2000 to 24 371 in 2005 (18% increase). Taking into consideration the cost of healthcare, this data represents a serious evidence of many avoidable hospital expenditures in our country.