Brian J. Moore, Rosanna M. Coffey, Kevin C. Heslin, Ernest Moy
August 31, 2016
Background: Often patients who present to the emergency department (ED) with chest symptoms return to the hospital within 30 days with the same or closely related symptoms and are admitted, raising questions about quality of care, timeliness of diagnosis, and patient safety. This study examined the frequency of and patient characteristics associated with subsequent inpatient admissions for related symptoms after discharge from an ED for chest symptoms. Methods: We used data from the 2012 and 2013 Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) State Inpatient Databases (SID) and State Emergency Department Databases (SEDD) from eight states to identify over 1.8 million ED discharges for chest symptoms. Results: Approximately 3% of ED discharges experienced potentially related subsequent admissions within 30 days – 0.2% for acute myocardial infarction (AMI), 1.7% for other cardiovascular conditions, 0.5% for respiratory conditions, and 0.6% for mental disorders. Logistic regression results showed higher odds of subsequent admission for older patients and those residing in low-income areas, and lower odds for females and non White racial/ethnic groups. Privately insured patients had lower odds of subsequent admission than did those who were uninsured or covered by other programs. Conclusions: Because we included multiple diagnostic categories of subsequent admissions, our results show a more complete picture of patients presenting to the ED with chest symptoms compared with previous studies. In particular, we show a lower rate of subsequent admission for AMI versus other diagnoses. ED physicians and administrators can use the results to identify characteristics associated with increased odds of subsequent admission to target at-risk populations.