PLoS One. 2023 Aug 15;18(8):e0289263. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0289263. eCollection 2023.
BACKGROUND: Breathlessness due to medical conditions commonly causes emergency department presentations and unplanned admissions. Acute-on-chronic breathlessness is a reason for 20% of emergency presentations by ambulance with 69% of these being admitted. The emergency department may be inappropriate for many presenting with acute-on-chronic breathlessness.
AIM: To examine predictors of emergency department departure status in people with acute-on-chronic breathlessness.
DESIGN, SETTING AND METHOD: Secondary analysis of patient-report survey and clinical record data from consecutive eligible attendees by ambulance. Variables associated with emergency department departure status (unifactorial analyses; p<0.05) were included in a binary logistic regression model. The study was conducted in a single tertiary hospital. Consecutive survey participants presenting in May 2015 with capacity were eligible. 1,212/1,345 surveys were completed. 245/1,212 presented with acute-on-chronic breathlessness, 171 of whom consented to clinical record review and were included in this analysis.
RESULTS: In the final model, the odds of admission were increased with every extra year of age [OR 1.041 (95% CI: 1.016 to 1.066)], having talked to a specialist doctor about breathlessness [9.262 (1.066 to 80.491)] and having a known history of a heart condition [4.177 (1.680 to 10.386)]. Odds of admission were decreased with every percentage increase in oxygen saturation [0.826 (0.701 to 0.974)].
CONCLUSION: Older age, lower oxygen saturation, having talked to a specialist, and having history of a cardiac condition predict hospital admission in people presenting to the emergency department with acute-on-chronic breathlessness. These clinical factors could be assessed in the community and may inform the decision regarding conveyance.