Repository logo

Hospitalisation for degenerative cervical myelopathy in England: insights from the National Health Service Hospital Episode Statistics 2012 to 2019.

Published version

Change log


Goacher, Edward 
Phillips, Richard 
Mowforth, Oliver D 
Yordanov, Stefan 
Pereira, Erlick AC 


PURPOSE: Degenerative cervical myelopathy (DCM) is the most common cause of adult spinal cord dysfunction worldwide. However, the current incidence of DCM is poorly understood. The Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) database contains details of all secondary care admissions across NHS hospitals in England. This study aimed to use HES data to characterise surgical activity for DCM in England. METHODS: The HES database was interrogated for all cases of DCM between 2012 and 2019. DCM cases were identified from 5 ICD-10 codes. Age-stratified values were collected for 'Finished Consultant Episodes' (FCEs), which correspond to a patient's hospital admission under a lead clinician. Data was analysed to explore current annual activity and longitudinal change. RESULTS: 34,903 FCEs with one or more of the five ICD-10 codes were identified, of which 18,733 (53.6%) were of working age (18-64 years). Mean incidence of DCM was 7.44 per 100,000 (SD ± 0.32). Overall incidence of DCM rose from 6.94 per 100,000 in 2012-2013 to 7.54 per 100,000 in 2018-2019. The highest incidence was seen in 2016-2017 (7.94 per 100,000). The median male number of FCEs per year (2919, IQR: 228) was consistently higher than the median female number of FCEs per year (2216, IQR: 326). The rates of both emergency admissions and planned admissions are rising. CONCLUSIONS: The incidence of hospitalisation for DCM in England is rising. Health care policymakers and providers must recognise the increasing burden of DCM and act to address both early diagnoses and access to treatment in future service provision plans.



Cervical, Degeneration, Disability, Myelopathy, Spondylosis, Adolescent, Adult, Databases, Factual, Female, Hospitalization, Hospitals, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Spinal Cord Diseases, State Medicine, Young Adult

Journal Title

Acta Neurochir (Wien)

Conference Name

Journal ISSN


Volume Title



Springer Science and Business Media LLC