Gastrointestinal (GI) emergencies may cause substantial morbidity.
Dr Uri Ladabaum and colleagues from California, USA characterized the national clinical and economic burden of GI visits to emergency departments (EDs) in the United States.
The research team performed an observational cross-sectional study using the 2007 Nationwide Emergency Department Sample, the largest US all-payer ED database.
The team identified the leading causes for ED visits due to GI diseases and their associated charges, stratified by age and sex.
Logistic regression was used to analyze predictors of hospitalization after an ED visit.
|The fraction of ED visits resulting in hospitalization was 22% for primary GI diagnoses |
|American Journal of Gastroenterology|
Of the 122 million ED visits in 2007, 12% had a primary GI diagnosis.
The researchers reported that the leading primary GI diagnoses were abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, and functional disorders of the digestive system.
The leading diagnoses differed by age group.
The research team found that the fraction of ED visits resulting in hospitalization was 22% for primary GI diagnoses vs. 15% for non-GI visits.
The team observed that women had more ED visits with a primary GI diagnosis than men, but lower rates of subsequent hospitalization.
There were no differences in hospitalization rates between sexes after adjustment by age, primary GI diagnosis, and Charlson Comorbidity Score.
The team noted that the total charges for ED visits with a primary GI diagnosis in 2007 were $27.9 billion.
Dr Ladabaum's team concluded, "GI illnesses account for substantial clinical and economic burdens on US emergency medical services."