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Original Article

J Pak Med Assoc. 2016; 66(5): 509-516

Impact of delay in admission on the outcome of critically ill patients presenting to the emergency department of a tertiary care hospital from low income country

Badar Afzal Khan, Nishi Shakeel, Emad uddin Siddiqui, Ghazala Kazi, Irum Qamar Khan, Munawer Khursheed, Asher Feroze, Kiran Ejaz, Sumaiya Tauseeq Khan, Hatem Adel.


Objective: To assess the impact of admission delay on the outcome of critical patients.

Methods: The retrospective chart review was done at Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi, and comprised adult patients visiting the Emergency Department during 2010. Outcome measures assessed were total hospital length of stay, total cost of the visit and in-hospital mortality. Patients admitted within 6 hours of presentation at Emergency Department were defined as non-delayed. Data was analysed using SPSS 19.

Results: Of the 49,532 patients reporting at the Emergency Department during the study period, 17,968 (36.3%) were admitted. Of them 2356(13%) were admitted to special or intensive care units, 1595(67.7%) of this sub-group stayed in the Emergency Department for >6 hours before being shifted to intensive care. The study focussed on 325(0.65%) of the total patients; 164(50.5%) in the non-delayed group and 161(49.5%) in the delayed group. The admitting diagnosis of myocardial infarction (p=0.00) and acute coronary syndrome (p=0.01) was significantly more common in the non-delayed group compared to other diagnoses like cerebrovascular attacks (p=0.03) which was significantly more common in the delayed group. There was no significant difference in the hospital length of stay between the two groups (p>0.05). The Emergency Department cost was significantly increased in the delayed group (p0.05).

Conclusions: There was no significant difference in the delayed and non-delayed groups, but long Emergency Department stays are distressing for both physicians and patients.

Key words: Emergency department, Critical patients, Delays in admission, Karachi, Pakistan

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