The impact of a concurrent trauma alert evaluation on time to head computed tomography in patients with suspected stroke.
ABSTRACT Emergency department (ED) overcrowding threatens quality of care by delaying the time to diagnosis and treatment of patients with time-sensitive diseases, such as acute stroke.
The authors hypothesized that the presence of a trauma alert evaluation would impede the time to head computed tomography (hCT) in patients with stroke-like symptoms.
This was a secondary analysis of prospectively collected data on patients with potential stroke who received an hCT in an urban trauma center ED from January 1, 2004, to November 30, 2004. Structured data collection included historical and examination items, National Institutes of Health (NIH) stroke scale score, laboratory and radiographic results, and final diagnosis. Admitted patients were followed in hospital. Patients who presented within one hour following a trauma evaluation were compared with patients who presented without concurrent trauma for triage time until completion of hCT. Chi-square, t-tests, and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) were used for comparisons.
The 171 patients enrolled had a mean (+/- standard deviation) age of 60.7 (+/- 7) years; 60% were female; and 58% were African American. Of these, 72 patients had a significant cerebrovascular event (38 [22%] ischemic stroke, 25 [15%] transient ischemic attack, seven [4%] intracranial hemorrhage, one [0.6%] subarachnoid hemorrhage, and one [0.6%] subdural hematoma). The remaining diagnoses included 4.6% migraine, 2.3% seizure, 2.9% syncope, 2.3% Bell's palsy, and 2.9% vertigo. There was no significant difference in time to hCT in patients who presented during a trauma activation and those who did not (99 minutes [interquartile range (IQR) = 24-156] vs. 101 minutes [IQR = 43-151.5]; p = 0.537). In subgroup analysis of patients with a significant cerebrovascular event, times to hCT were also similar (24 minutes [IQR = 12-99] vs. 61 minutes [IQR = 15-126]; p = 0.26).
In the authors' institution, the presence of concurrent trauma evaluation does not delay CT imaging of patients with potential stroke.
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ABSTRACT: As the malpractice and financial environment has changed, injured patients evaluated by the trauma team and discharged from the emergency department (ED) are now commonplace. The evaluation, care, and disposition of this population has become a significant workload component but is not reported to accrediting organizations and is relatively invisible to hospital administrators. Our objective was to quantify and begin to qualify the evolving picture of the trauma ED discharge population as a work component of trauma service function in an urban, Level I trauma center with an aeromedical program. Trauma registry (contacts, mechanism, transport, injuries, and disposition) and hospital databases (ED closure, occupancy rates) were queried for a 5-year period (1999-2003). Trend analysis provided statistical comparisons for questions of interest. During the 5-year study period, the total number of trauma contacts rose by 18.1% (2,220 in 1999 vs. 2,622 in 2003; trend p < 0.05). This increase in total contacts was not a manifestation of an increase in admissions (1,672 in 1999 vs. 1,544 in 2003) but rather a reflection of a marked increase in patients seen primarily by the trauma team and discharged from the ED (473 in 1999 vs. 1,000 in 2003; trend p < 0.05). These ED discharge patients were increasingly transported by helicopter (12.3% in 1999 vs. 29.2% in 2003; trend p < 0.05) and less frequently from urban areas (57.1% in 1999 vs. 48.1% in 2003; trend p < 0.05) over the course of the study period. Average injury severity of this group increased over the study period (Injury Severity Score of 2.7 +/- 0.1 in 1999 vs. 3.3 +/- 0.1 in 2003; trend p < 0.05). ED length of stay for this group increased 19.8% over the study period (trend p < 0.05), averaging nearly 5 hours in 2003. The total number, relative percentage, and injury severity of patients evaluated by the trauma team and discharged from the ED has significantly increased over the last 5 years, representing nearly 5,000 patient care hours in 2003. Systems to care for these patients in a cost- and resource-efficient fashion should be put in place. The impact of this growing population of patients on the workload of the trauma center should be recognized by accrediting agencies, hospital administration, and Emergency Medical Services.The Journal of trauma 04/2005; 58(4):675-83; discussion 683-5. · 2.35 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: We estimate the effect of emergency department (ED) crowding on door-to-needle time for patients given intravenous thrombolysis for suspected acute myocardial infarction. This was a retrospective observational study of patients thrombolyzed in the ED for suspected acute myocardial infarction in 1998 to 2000 in 25 community and teaching hospital EDs in Ontario. EDs located close together and sharing a common ambulance diversion system were grouped into networks consisting of 2 to 5 hospitals each. At patient registration in an ED, the ambulance diversion status of all EDs in the network was determined. Network crowding was calculated as the percentage of EDs that were diverting ambulances on patient registration, categorized as none (0%), moderate (<60%), and high (> or =60%). Door-to-needle time was defined as time from ED registration to drug administration. Multivariable quantile regression and logistic regression were carried out; covariates included age, sex, ECG characteristics, previous acute myocardial infarction, vital signs, time of presentation, and hospital type. A total of 3,452 thrombolysis patients were included: mean age was 62.9 years, and 73% were male patients. Overall median door-to-needle time was 43 minutes (interquartile ratio 27 to 80). Median door-to-needle time was 40, 45, and 47 minutes in conditions of none, moderate, and high network crowding, respectively ( P <.001). The adjusted odds ratios for door-to-needle time delay (>30 minutes) and major delay (>60 minutes) were 1.32 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.98 to 1.79) and 1.40 (95% CI 1.12 to 1.75), respectively, for high network crowding compared with none, and 1.21 (95% CI 0.89 to 1.63) and 1.06 (95% CI 0.86 to 1.29), respectively, for moderate crowding compared with none. In multivariate analyses, moderate and high crowding conditions were associated with increased median door-to-needle time (3.0 minutes [95% CI 0.1 to 6.0] and 5.8 minutes [95% CI 2.7 to 9.0], respectively). ED crowding is associated with increased door-to-needle times for patients with suspected acute myocardial infarction and may represent a barrier to improving cardiac care in EDs.Annals of emergency medicine 01/2005; 44(6):577-85. · 4.23 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Trauma victims sometimes take priority over other patients because their injuries require immediate treatment. We examined whether such demands might compromise the care of patients with acute chest pain in an emergency department. Case patients were patients with chest pain who arrived immediately after a major trauma victim. Control patients were patients with chest pain who arrived on a preceding day when no trauma patient was in the emergency department. Case and control patients were similar in mean age (60 vs. 60 years, p = not significant), percentage male (47 vs. 53%, p = not significant) and percentage ultimately diagnosed as cardiac (29 vs. 33%, p = not significant). Case patients spent an average of 81 minutes longer in the emergency department (297 vs. 216 minutes, p = 0.009). Similar delays were observed in the subgroup of patients ultimately diagnosed as cardiac (309 vs. 217 minutes, p = 0.029). Case patients had generally worse scores on the American College of Emergency Physicians Quality Assurance Index (75.6 vs. 84.4, p = 0.027), particularly those ultimately diagnosed as cardiac (60.3 vs. 85.1, p = 0.002). The common failures were failure to administer aspirin, undertreatment of ongoing pain, and failure to provide instructions regarding treatment and need to return. Trauma victims can decrease the timeliness and quality of care for other patients who have potentially life-threatening conditions in an emergency department.The Journal of trauma 05/2000; 48(4):649-53. · 2.35 Impact Factor