Assessment and treatment of the acutely ill patient have improved by introducing systematic assessment and accelerated protocols for specific patient groups. Triage systems are widely used, but few studies have investigated the ability of the triage systems in predicting outcome in the unselected acute population. The aim of this study was to quantify the association between the main component of the Hillerød Acute Process Triage (HAPT) system and the outcome measures; Admission to Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and in-hospital mortality, and to identify the vital signs, scored and categorized at admission, that are most strongly associated with the outcome measures.
The HAPT system is a minor modification of the Swedish Adaptive Process Triage (ADAPT) and ranks patients into five level colour-coded triage categories. Each patient is assigned a triage category for the two main descriptors; vital signs, T(vitals), and presenting complaint, T(complaint). The more urgent of the two determines the final triage category, T(final). We retrieved 6279 unique adult patients admitted through the Emergency Department (ED) from the Acute Admission Database. We performed regression analysis to evaluate the association between the covariates and the outcome measures.
The covariates, T(vitals), T(complaint) and T(final) were all significantly associated with ICU admission and in-hospital mortality, the odds increasing with the urgency of the triage category. The vital signs best predicting in-hospital mortality were saturation of peripheral oxygen (SpO(2)), respiratory rate (RR), systolic blood pressure (BP) and Glasgow Coma Score (GCS). Not only the type, but also the number of abnormal vital signs, were predictive for adverse outcome. The presenting complaints associated with the highest in-hospital mortality were 'dyspnoea' (11.5%) and 'altered level of consciousness' (10.6%). More than half of the patients had a T(complaint) more urgent than T(vitals), the opposite was true in just 6% of the patients.
The HAPT system is valid in terms of predicting in-hospital mortality and ICU admission in the adult acute population. Abnormal vital signs are strongly associated with adverse outcome, while including the presenting complaint in the triage model may result in over-triage.
In this article, we discuss findings from an ethnographic study in which we explored experiences of access to primary care services from the perspective of Aboriginal people seeking care at an emergency department (ED) located in a large Canadian city. Data were collected over 20 months of immersion in the ED, and included participant observation and in-depth interviews with 44 patients triaged as stable and nonurgent, most of whom were living in poverty and residing in the inner city. Three themes in the findings are discussed: (a) anticipating providers' assumptions; (b) seeking help for chronic pain; and (c) use of the ED as a reflection of social suffering. Implications of these findings are discussed in relation to the role of the ED as well as the broader primary care sector in responding to the needs of patients affected by poverty, racialization, and other forms of disadvantage.
Administrative discharge codes are widely used in epidemiology, but the specificity and sensitivity of this coding is unknown and must be validated. We assessed the validity of the discharge diagnosis of syncope in administrative registers and reviewed the etiology of syncope after workup.
Two samples were investigated. One sample consisted of 5262 randomly selected medical patients. The other sample consisted of 750 patients admitted or seen in the emergency department (ED) for syncope (ICD-10: R55.9) in three hospitals in Denmark. All charts were reviewed for baseline characteristics and to confirm the presence/absence of syncope and to compare with the administrative coding. In a sample of 600 admitted patients 570 (95%) and of 150 patients from ED 140 (93%) had syncope representing the positive predictive values. Median age of the population was 69 years (IQR: ± 14). In the second sample of 5262 randomly selected medical patients, 75 (1.4%) had syncope, of which 47 were coded as R55.9 yielding a sensitivity of 62.7%, a negative predictive value of 99.5%, and a specificity of 99.9%.
ED and hospital discharge diagnostic coding for syncope has a positive predictive value of 95% and a sensitivity of 63%.
BACKGROUND: Due to long-term capacity problems in the psychiatric acute ward, we tried to canalise acute admissions due to life crises (and not serious mental disease) to a new short-term in-patient crisis unit. Our hypothesis was that the opening of this unit would lead to fewer admissions to the psychiatric acute ward and that this change would be reflected by an increase of patients with a more severe psychopathology. MATERIAL AND METHODS: The study had a quasi-experimental design. Two patient groups in a psychiatric acute ward (from separate catchment areas) were compared before (2.1.2003-1.6.2003) and after (2.1.2004-1.6.2004) establishment of a community based short-term inpatient crisis unit in one of the catchment areas. RESULTS: 234 patients were included in the study. Admissions to the psychiatric acute ward did not decline from any of the catchment areas from the first to the second time-period . The second time-period was associated with less psychopathology, but only for men in the area with a crisis unit. The reduction was largest for self-harm and suicidal behaviour (p = 0.02) and depression (p = 0.01). INTERPRETATION: None of our hypotheses were confirmed. Our main conclusion is that patient flow in acute mental health services involves a multitude of complex and unpredictable factors. The services continuously reorganise. Different ways of organising mental health services are rarely studied systematically, and such studies are difficult and resource demanding.
In November, 1993 the UN opened a Norwegian field hospital in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The hospital was handed over to the American IFOR forces in November, 1996. In the present study, we analyse the activities at the hospital and the results achieved by the Norwegian management. While under Norwegian supervision 2,593 patients were admitted, and 67% of them were civilians. Almost two thirds of military personnel admitted were non-surgical cases. The war-related surgical activity was low, corresponding to the low number of war-related injuries. In the period in question 135 emergency operations were performed on military persons. There was considerable out-patient activity at the hospital, covering both military personnel and civilians. Altogether, 12,921 out-patients were treated, 40% of which were civilians. The hospital was well-equipped and well-run. This experience will be helpful in planning future Norwegian task forces abroad.
Comment In: Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 1998 Jan 10;118(1):1019481922
A total of 3,727 in-patients with acute abdominal symptoms were identified during the first quarter of 1995 at the surgical clinics of the nine hospitals with emergency departments in the county of Stockholm. The diagnoses were: non-specific abdominal pain 24%; cholecystitis 9%; appendicitis 8%; bowel obstruction 7%; intra-abdominal malignancy, diseases of the urinary tract and peptic ulcer 6% each; gastrointestinal hemorrhage, diverticulitis of the colon and pancreatitis 5% each; other diseases as a cause of abdominal symptoms, 19%. 1,601 operations were performed of which 47% were endoscopic procedures. The mean duration of hospital stay was 4.8 days. The length of stay increased significantly with age. The age-related relative frequency of hospitalization due to acute abdominal pain was also dramatically higher in the elderly cohorts. These facts and the prognosis of an 18% increase of inhabitants 50 years of age or older until 2010 in Greater Stockholm signal an increased need of hospital resources for this large group of patients in the coming years.
Anna Trinks, MSc, Karin Festin, PhD, Preben Bendtsen, PhD, and Per Nilsen, PhD, Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Linköping, Sweden. Cheryl J. Cherpitel, DrPH, Alcohol Research Group, Berkeley, California.
Injuries constitute a major public health problem. Millions of people are injured each year, and acute drinking is a well-known risk factor for injuries. Research suggests that acknowledgment of alcohol as a factor in an injury enhances willingness to change drinking behavior, possibly because the patient becomes aware of the negative consequences of their drinking. This study aims to investigate the prevalence of acute alcohol consumption (drinking before the event) among injury patients and to examine the importance of factors potentially associated with motivation to reduce alcohol consumption among these patients. All patients aged 18-69 years were requested to answer alcohol-related questions on a touchscreen computer. Fifteen percent of injured patients were categorized as acute drinkers, and of these, 64% reported that their injury was connected to alcohol. There were significant differences for all sociodemographic and drinking characteristics between acute drinkers and nonacute drinkers. Acute drinkers were categorized as risky drinkers to a much higher extent than nonacute drinkers. Acute drinkers had a considerably higher average weekly alcohol consumption and engaged far more frequently in heavy episodic drinking than nonacute drinkers. Acute drinkers were motivated to reduce their alcohol intake to a greater extent than nonacute drinkers; 51% were in the action, preparation, and contemplation stages, compared with 19% of the nonacute drinkers. Acute drinkers had considerably more detrimental alcohol consumption than nonacute drinkers, and the acute drinkers were more motivated to reduce their drinking than the nonacute drinkers.
To investigate racial/ethnic differences in acute asthma among adults presenting to the emergency department (ED), and to determine whether observed differences are attributable to socioeconomic status (SES).
Prospective cohort studies performed during 1996 to 1998 by the Multicenter Airway Research Collaboration. Using a standardized protocol, researchers provided 24-h coverage for a median duration of 2 weeks per year. Adults with acute asthma were interviewed in the ED and by telephone 2 weeks after hospital discharge.
Sixty-four North American EDs.
A total of 1,847 patients were enrolled into the study. Black and Hispanic asthma patients had a history of more hospitalizations than did whites (ever-hospitalized patients: black, 66%; Hispanic, 63%; white, 54%; p
Acute chest pain is a frequently occurring symptom in patients with medical emergencies and imposes potentially life threatening situations outside hospitals. Little is known about the epidemiology of patients with acute chest pain in a primary care setting in Norway, and we aimed to obtain more representative data on such patients using data from emergency medical communication centres (EMCCs).
Data were collected prospectively during three months in 2007 from three EMCCs, covering 816 000 inhabitants. The EMCCs gathered information on every situation that was triaged as a red response (defined as an "acute" response, with the highest priority), according to the Norwegian Index of Medical Emergencies. Records from ambulances and primary care doctors were subsequently collected. International Classification of Primary Care - 2 symptom codes and The National Committee on Aeronautics (NACA) System scores were assigned retrospectively. Only chest pain patients were included in the study.
5 180 patients were involved in red response situations, of which 21% had chest pain. Estimated rate was 5.4 chest pain cases per 1000 inhabitants per year. NACA-scores indicated that 26% of the patients were in a life-threatening medical situation. Median prehospital response time was 13 minutes; an ambulance reached the patient in less than 10 minutes in 30% of the cases. Seventy-six per cent of the patients with chest pain were admitted to a hospital for further investigation, 14% received final treatment at a casualty clinic, while 10% had no further investigation by a doctor ("left at the scene").
The majority of patients with acute chest pain were admitted to a hospital for further investigation, but only a quarter of the patients were assessed prehospitally to have a severe illness. This sheds light on the challenges for the EMCCs in deciding the appropriate level of response in patients with acute chest pain. Overtriage is to some extent both expected and desirable to intercept all patients in need of immediate help, but it is also well known that overtriage is resource demanding. Further research is needed to elucidate the challenges in the diagnosis and management of chest pain outside hospitals.
Cites: Ann Emerg Med. 1994 Nov;24(5):867-727978559
Cites: Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2004 Dec 2;124(23):3058-6015586187
Cites: Am Fam Physician. 2005 Nov 15;72(10):2012-2116342831
Previous epidemiologic studies of acute heart failure (AHF) have involved patients admitted to hospital and fail to account for that unknown proportion discharged directly from the emergency department (ED). We examined discharge rates, and whether outcomes, including mortality, differed based on admission status in AHF.
This population-based cohort included all patients > or =65 years presenting to an Alberta ED with HF (ICD9-CM 428.x; 1998 to 2001). Patients were either not admitted (Not-ADM) or directly admitted to hospital (ADM) and followed for one-year. Of 10,415 AHF patients evaluated in the ED, 35% were Not-ADM whereas 65% were ADM. Thirty days after ED presentation the rates of death, re-ED or initial/re-hospitalisation were 3.3%, 44% and 19% for Not-ADM, and 10.9%, 33% and 21% for the ADM patients, respectively (all p