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  Table of Contents  
Year : 2012  |  Volume : 53  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 129-131  

Audit of an urban paediatric emergency department visits

1 Department of Health Research, Alnoor Specialist Hospital, Makkah, Saudi Arabia
2 Department of Surgery, Directorate General of Health Affairs, Makkah, Saudi Arabia
3 Department of Paediatric Medicine, Umm-al-Qurra University, Makkah, Saudi Arabia

Date of Web Publication6-Dec-2012

Correspondence Address:
Mian Usman Farooq
Health Research Centre, Alnoor Specialist Hospital, Development and Planning Department, King Abdullah Medical City, Makkah
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0300-1652.104380

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Background: This study aimed to highlight the health seeking behavior of children in an Emergency Department (ED). Materials and Methods: Retrospective files review of ED was done for the month of July, 2008. Data about the children ≤12 years of age was gathered. Results: In one month period a total 21000 patients visited our ED, out of them 6120 (29%) were children. Males, Saudis and children of (1-6 years) were more frequent, i.e., 3540 (57.8%), 5760 (94.1%) and 3180 (52%), respectively. Majority of patients visited in shift "2", i.e., 15:30 hours to 23:30 hours. Among the patients "diseases of respiratory system" were found more frequent 4170 (68.1%) and main diagnosis was "acute upper respiratory tract infection" 3300 (53.9%). Non-urgent cases were 2020 (33%) while 244 (4%) were admitted. Conclusion: Young children as well as non-urgent cases were predominant. Evening shift was the busiest one.

Keywords: Children, emergency, infection, respiratory tract

How to cite this article:
Gazzaz ZJ, Dhafar KO, Maimini O, Farooq MU, Ahmad I. Audit of an urban paediatric emergency department visits. Niger Med J 2012;53:129-31

How to cite this URL:
Gazzaz ZJ, Dhafar KO, Maimini O, Farooq MU, Ahmad I. Audit of an urban paediatric emergency department visits. Niger Med J [serial online] 2012 [cited 2021 Sep 17];53:129-31. Available from: https://www.nigeriamedj.com/text.asp?2012/53/3/129/104380

   Introduction Top

Emergency department (ED) provide an extraordinary public service mission by providing emergency care for 24 hours a day, 365 days per year without discrimination of social and economic status. [1] Provides free comprehensive health care to all of its citizens. The Ministry of Health (MOH) provides health services on the basis of a three-tier system, i.e., primary health Centre's, general hospitals and specialist hospitals. Governmental sectors other than MOH, such as the Ministries of defense, education, interior, and National Guard, provide health services to their employees and their families through an organized network of hospitals and health Centre. Private sector provides health services that range from basic medical care to highly specialized health services. [2]

The Paediatric ED is an important part of hospital services. Details of paediatric emergency services have been previously reported from many centers around the world but there is a lack of information regarding the users of paediatric emergency services in Middle East. A similar lack in other parts of the world was mentioned by some authors. [3],[4]

In this study we highlighted the pattern of health seeking behavior by paediatric cases presented to our ED.

   Materials and Methods Top

This study based upon the retrospective review of ED files by the health research Centre of, during the month of July 2008. It is providing secondary to tertiary health care services in the, with a capacity of 550 beds. The Hospital's ED is fully equipped with total covering area of 2315 m [2] having 60 beds including 12 beds in paediatric care area. Other patients' care areas are triage area, adult care area (ACA), adult non-ambulatory triage area, obstetrics and gynecology care area, critical care area (CCA), chest pain unit, and trauma unit. This ED also has a pharmacy, radiology and laboratory facilities. There are surgical facilities with an operation room, and ENT, eye and dental procedure rooms are also available for emergency patients. This hospital's ED is open 24 hours a day, and has a high-volume of turnover with an average annual attendance of 200000-250000 including 55000-60000 paediatric cases.

The paediatric ED typically contained a total of 12 nurses and six resident doctors. ED doctors could call specialist on call of any specialty, to take second opinion for the patients with expected admissions or complications. Only the specialist or consultant on call could admit a patient as per hospital policy depending upon the patient's condition. All presenting patients to ED had been sorted out by triage nurse into five categories of Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale (CTAS), i.e., CTAS I = resuscitation, CTAS II = emergent, CTAS III = urgent, CTAS IV = less urgent, CTAS V = non-urgent.

The ED files had been attained from the medical record unit and looked for the demographical data of paediatric cases including age groups, i.e., infant (birth-12 months), pre-school child (>12 months to six years) and school going child (>6-12 years) according to standard criteria, [5],[6] gender, and nationality, i.e., Saudi and non-Saudi.

Patients seen in different shifts of ED, i.e., shift 1 (07:30 to 15:30), shift 2 (15:30 to 23:30) and shift 3 (23:30 to 07:30) were counted. Subjects' final diagnosis as documented by ED physician had been collected, and categorized according to Major Diagnostic Category of International Classification of Diagnosis version 10 (MDC, ICD-10).

The study protocol was approved by the institutional review board.

   Results Top

In one month period a total 21000 patients visited our ED, out of them 6120 (29%) were children. Males, Saudis and pre-school children were more frequent, i.e., 3540 (57.8%), 5760 (94.1%) and 3180 (52%), respectively. Majority of patients visited in shift "2" followed by shift "3", i.e., 2700 (44.1%) and 1800 (29.4%), respectively [Table 1].
Table 1: Subjects' demography with presentation time to emergency department

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Among the MDCs, patients with the category "diseases of respiratory system" were found more frequent 4170 (68.1%) followed by "injury, poisoning and certain other consequences of external causes" 510 (8.3%). Most common diagnosis was "acute upper respiratory tract infection unspecified (J06.9)" 3300 (53.9%) followed by "viral intestinal infection unspecified (A08.4)" 420 (6.9%). The total of 38 different types of diagnosis belonged to 11 different MDCs were presented [Table 2] and [Table 3].
Table 2: Patients' frequency in different MDCs

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Table 3: Patients' frequency with different diagnosis

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Patients with "CTAS IV" were more frequent followed by "CTAS V" 2448 (40%) and 2020 (33%), respectively. However, frequency of patients with "CTAS I, II, and III" was 73 (1.2%), 649 (10.6%), and 930 (15.2%), respectively. Admitted cases were 244 (4%), while others were disposed from ED.

   Discussion Top

Paediatric emergency rooms were frequently used for nonemergency problems by parents who find them to be convenient sources of health care for their children. The results of our study showed that nearly one-third of patients (33%) were in the non-urgent Category, i.e., CTAS V, which were simple cases such as upper respiratory tract infection (URTI), mild gastroenteritis, etc., and those could be handled at a primary care clinic. This observation is comparable with other studies. [4],[7],[8] Males outnumbered the females as were observed by other authors. [4],[9],[10] It is less frequent that girls of school going or even of pre-school age go out of their homes without male companions due to male predominance culture with strict influence of religion. Due to this reason, males move out of homes more frequently and are more exposed to outdoor environment hazards especially excessive usage of cold drinks and ice-creams, road traffic accidents, trauma during playing, as well as communicable diseases especially viral. Infants constituted 14.7%, that could also be comparable to Bergman et al. and Wingert et al. [11],[12] However, the majority of cases were below six years of age (67%). This observation put an extra burden on our ED staff, which should have experience in managing infants and pre-school children. The busiest period of the day in our study was "shift 2" while (8 a.m. to 12 a.m.) was observed busiest period by other studies [9],[13] and Al Saleh et al. reported 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. as the busiest period. [4] The difference in these studies could be explained by the fact that most families in Saudi Arabia have to wait for their men to return from work in the afternoon in order to take their children to a hospital and majority of primary health care clinics are open only in the morning shift. Diseases of respiratory system accounted for 68.1% of the ED visits that was comparable to other studies by Al Saleh et al.[4] Our study findings are highly comparable to study done in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. [14]

It was clearly demonstrated that majority of patients attended the ED for simple problems. This might be because of free medical treatment and/or patients sometimes seek medical advice from different Centre's for the same complaints. This could eventually affect the quality of services, and also lead to an increase in waiting time for patients, as well as a waste of health resources. The recommendations in terms of reducing the number of nonemergency visits to the ED should be strongly stressed.

   Conclusion Top

Majority of cases were pre-school children and visited in evening shift. Less and non-urgent cases were more frequent, which were simple cases such as acute upper respiratory tract infection.

   References Top

1.Derlet R, Richards J, Kravitz R. Frequent overcrowding in U.S. Emergency Departments. Clinical Practice. Acad Emerg Med 2001;8:151.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Al Mazrou YY, Khoja T, Rao M. Health services in Saudi Arabia. Proc R Coll Phys Edin 1995;25:263-6.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Williams K. Who uses the accident service? Injury 1984;16:35-7.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Al Saleh QA, Al Saleh QA, Qurtom HA, Lubani MM, Al-Shab TS, Ismail AM, et al. Trends in pediatric casualties in a regional hospital of Kuwait. Ann Saudi Med 1991;11:171-4.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Dorland S. Illustrated Medical dictionary. 28 th ed. USA: W. B. Saunders Company; 1999. p. 31-1385.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.Joffe A. Introduction to Adolescence. In: McMillan JA, DeAngles CD, Feign RD, Warshow JB, editors. Oski, s Pediatrics Principles and Practise. 3 rd ed. USA: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins A Wolters Klawer Company; 1999. p. 87.  Back to cited text no. 6
7.Halperin R, Meyers AR, Alper JJ. Utilization of pediatric emergency services: A critical review. Pediatr Clin North Am 1979;26:747-57.  Back to cited text no. 7
8.Lane DS. The diagnosis and management of walk-in syndrome. Am J Public Health 1974;64:908-10.  Back to cited text no. 8
9.Al Maani WS, Shanableh A, Zyadeh J, Abdul-Rahim H. An analysis of emergency services in a teaching hospital in a developing country. Jordan Med J 1986;2:261-72.  Back to cited text no. 9
10.Fifield GC, Magnuson C, Carr WP, Deinard AS. Pediatric emergency care in a metropolitan area. J Emerg Med 1984;1:495-507.  Back to cited text no. 10
11.Bergman AB, Haggerty RJ. The emergency clinic. Am J Dis Child 1962;104:68-76.  Back to cited text no. 11
12.Wingert WA, Friedman DB, Larson WR. Pediatric emergency room patient: A comparison of patients seen during the day and the night. Am J Dis Child 1968;115:48-56.  Back to cited text no. 12
13.Rothschild M, Gilboa S, Sagi H, Berger I, Wolach B. Referral, admission and discharge pattern in pediatric emergency patients in a pediatric emergency department. Pediatr Emerg Care 1993;9:72-6.  Back to cited text no. 13
14.Al-Ayed IH, Shaikh JA, Qureshi MI. Patterns of pediatric emergency room visits at king khalid university hospital, Riyadh. Ann Saudi Med 1997;17:360-2.  Back to cited text no. 14


  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]

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