ASSOCIATION BETWEEN PATIENTS WITH OSTEOARTICULAR PATHOLOGIES AND METEOROLOGICAL VARIABLES, IN THE BUENOS AIRES AREA
Adelia P. Alessandro
Departamento de Ciencias de la Atmósfera y los Océanos, UBA, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Manuscript received on 10th April 2015, in final form on 28th October 2015
This paper examines data of patients with osteoarticular pathologies (POA) in the area of influence of the bigger Buenos Aires in the period January 2005–December 2012. Frequency distributions of POA occurrence are determined in function of the age and gender to determine the degree of vulnerability to the POA. The relationship is also established between the number of patients with POA during that period and meteorological variables (temperature (T), dew point (Td) and atmospheric pressure (Pr)). In addition, the relationship between T, Td, Pr and the relative frequency of POA patients with respect to the total of patients at a medical enterprise, with the aim to determine whether these meteorological variables can be used to forecast the number of patients, as well as the number of professionals and vehicles under given weather conditions. The following POA were selected: lumbocitalgia, cervicalgia, artralgia, osteocondritis, dorsalgia, ciatalgia and condritis, given that 93.3 % of the patients suffer from these pathologies. The greatest incidence of these illnesses is generally observed in adults
above 70 years old, primarily women. Daily correlation coefficients between the incidence of each POA and meteorological variables are not statistically significant. On the contrary, monthly correlations for the three variables and the number of patients with dorsalgia and osteocondrits are statistically significant. This is also true for monthly temperature and patients with lumbocitalgia. The analysis of the frequencies of patients with POA relative to the total number of patients would indicate that mean temperature correlates best with the number of registered patients. In addition, a larger number of calls would reach the health service company when T and Td are warmer than 14.1 and 9.1, respectively and less phone calls when Pr is higher than 1013 mb in any month of the year. The seasonal analysis of POA occurrence shows that frequency decreases from its summer peak through spring, autumn and winter. Multiple correlations obtained from the Stepwise method of T, Td and Pr allow estimating the expected number of patients per month, (FrSt) with a quadratic error range of 0.26 – 0.0001. The maximum error is for lumbocitalgia and decreases through cervicalgia, artralgia, osteocondritis, dorsalgia, ciatalgia and condritis. Based on the results obtained between the monthly number of patient with POA and meteorological variables, mean temperature projected by global climate models might be used to forecast the monthly number of osteoarticular patients in the future.