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Limb problems account for up to 40% of ED visits

04 Mar 2016

Deputy Róisín Shortall

Between 25 and 40 per cent of presentations at Emergency Departments (EDs) are limb problems, an analysis of triage categories has shown.

This includes limb injuries, infection and loss of circulation acutely to the limb.

The next most common presentations are chest pain, acute breathlessness, feeling generally unwell and collapse, the National Emergency Medicine Programme said.

A detailed analysis of the principle reason for attendance at EDs is “not possible” because of the non-standardisation of Clinical Information Systems across hospitals, the Emergency Medicine Programme added.

Of the 400,000 patients treated as inpatients emergencies, 68.5 per cent were admitted through the ED, an analysis of HIPE data relating to emergency inpatient activity has shown.

The top presentations included chest pain, abdominal pain or mesenteric adenitis, oesophagitis and gastroenteritis, COPD, headache, other digestive system diagnoses, otitis media and URI, syncope and collapse, kidney and urinary tract infections and other respiratory system diagnoses.

Between 75 and 80 per cent of patients who presented to EDs were discharged directly from there, the HSE said in response to Dáil questioning by Deputy Róisín Shortall.

A 2013 study by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine involved GPs seeing patients presenting to EDs in the UK.

The study looked at determining whether or not the GPs would have been comfortable seeing that patient in their GP surgery and found that 13 per cent of patients fitted into this category.

Gary Culliton

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Irish Medical Times