Higher risk for cervical herniated intervertebral disc in physicians: A retrospective nationwide population-based cohort study with claims analysis

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There is no study about cervical herniated intervertebral disc (cervical HIVD) in physicians in the literature; therefore, we conceived a retrospective nationwide, population-based cohort study to elucidate the topic. We identified 26,038 physicians, 33,057 non-physician healthcare providers (HCPs), and identical numbers of non-HCP references (i.e., general population). All cohorts matched a 1:1 ratio with age and gender, and each were chosen from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database (NHIRD). We compared cervical HIVD risk among physicians, nonphysician HCPs, and non-HCP references and performed a follow-up between 2007 and 2011. We also made comparisons among physician specialists. Both physicians and nonphysician HCPs had higher cervical HIVD risk than non-HCP references (odds ratio [OR]: 1.356; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.162–1.582; OR: 1.383; 95% CI: 1.191–1.605, respectively). There was no significant difference of cervical HIVD risk between physicians and nonphysician HCPs. In the comparison among physician specialists, orthopedists had a higher cervical HIVD risk than other specialists, but the difference was not statistically significant (adjusted OR: 1.547; 95% CI: 0.782–3.061). Physicians are at higher cervical HIVD risk than the general population. Because unknown confounders could exist, further prospective studies are needed to identify possible causation.

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