Roger Daglius Dias, MD, PhD, MBA

The growing impact of older patients in the emergency department: a 5-year retrospective analysis in Brazil


João Carlos Pereira Gomes, Roger Daglius Dias, Jacson Venancio de Barros, Irineu Tadeu Velasco, and Wilson Jacob Filho. 2020. “The growing impact of older patients in the emergency department: a 5-year retrospective analysis in Brazil.” BMC Emerg Med, 20, 1, Pp. 47.


BACKGROUND: The average age of the global population is rising at an increasing rate. There is a disproportional increase in Emergency Department (ED) visits by older people worldwide. In the Brazilian health system, complex and severely ill patients and those requiring specialized urgent procedures are referred to tertiary level care. As far as we know, no other study in Latin America has analyzed the impact of demographic changes in tertiary ED attendance. AIM: To describe the sociodemographic characteristics and outcomes of tertiary Brazilian ED users. METHODS: Design: Observational cross-sectional analytic study. SETTING: Emergency Department, tertiary university hospital, São Paulo, Brazil. PARTICIPANTS: patients aged 18 years or older attending a tertiary ED (2009-2013). The primary outcomes were hospitalization and mortality; the secondary outcome was ICU admission. Age was categorized as ‘young adults’ (18-39y), ‘adults’ (40-59y), ‘young-older adults’ (60-79y), and ‘old-older adults’ (80-109y). Other variables included sex, reason for attendance, time of ED visit, mode of presentation, type of hospitalization, main procedure, length of hospital stay (LOS) and length of ICU stay (ICU-LOS). We calculated descriptive statistics, built generalized linear mixed models for each outcome and estimated Odds Ratios (95% CI) for the independent categorical variables. The significance level was 5% with Bonferroni correction. RESULTS: Older age-groups represented 26.6% of 333,028 ED visits, 40.7% of admissions, 42.7% of ICU admissions and 58% of all deaths. Old-older patients accounted for 5.1% of ED visits, 9.5% of admissions and 10.1% of ICU admissions. Hospitalization, ICU admission and mortality rates increased with older age in both sexes. LOS and ICU-LOS were similar across age-groups. The proportions of visits and admissions attributed to young adults decreased annually, while those of people aged 60 or over increased. The ORs for hospitalization, ICU admission and mortality associated with the old-older group were 3.49 (95% CI = 3.15-3.87), 1.27 (1.15-1.39) and 5.93 (5.29-6.66) respectively, with young adults as the reference. CONCLUSIONS: In tertiary ED, age is an important risk factor for hospitalization and mortality, but not for ICU admission. Old-older people are at the greatest risk and demand further subgroup stratification.

Last updated on 07/08/2021