Comparison of 1-Day Emergency Department Observation and Inpatient Ward for 1-Day Admissions in Syncope Patients.
J Emerg Med. 2016 Feb;50(2):217-22
Authors: Grossman AM, Volz KA, Shapiro NI, Salem R, Sanchez LD, Smulowitz P, Grossman SA
BACKGROUND: In an era of increasing health care costs, the need for hospitalization is being scrutinized. In particular, 1-day hospitalizations are thought to be especially costly and unnecessary, and, increasingly, emergency department observation units (EDOUs) are being used as alternatives.
OBJECTIVE: Our aim was to determine the differences in outcomes and diagnoses between 1-day inpatient and EDOU stays for syncope.
METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed a cohort of patients with syncope who were seen in an urban ED with 1-day admission to an inpatient ward, EDOU, or full hospitalization. Etiology of syncope was classified as benign (vasovagal, dehydration), serious (dysrhythmia, sepsis, stroke/intracranial bleed, hemorrhage, valvular, ischemia, pulmonary embolism), or unknown. Data were analyzed using Fisher's exact test and t-test.
RESULTS: One hundred and seventy-two of 351 patients were >1-day admissions, 152 (85%) were admitted for 1 day, and 27 (15%) were admitted to EDOU. The mean (standard deviation [SD]) age when admitted to the hospital was significantly higher at 72 (18.4) years for > 1-day admissions and 68.8 (19.6) years for 1-day admissions vs. 53.0 (18.9) years for EDOU patients (p < 0.01). For fully admitted patients, 36% had benign etiologies of syncope and 38% had serious causes of syncope; in 1-day admitted patients, 48% had benign etiologies and 14% had serious causes. Among EDOU patients, 44% had benign etiologies and none were serious. One-day patients were more likely to have unknown causes of syncope at discharge (36%; 95% confidence interval 0.28 to 0.43) when compared with admitted patients (26%; 95% CI 0.2 to 0.33); similarly, observation patients were more likely to be discharged without a diagnosis (56%; 95% CI 0.37 to 0.74; p ≤ 0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: EDOU patients were less likely than patients admitted to the hospital to be discharged with an etiology of their syncope. Future EDOU protocols can benefit from set admission criteria and standardized evaluation protocols to facilitate maximal use of EDOU for syncope.
PMID: 26682847 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]