Geriatric Visits to the Emergency Department at an Academic Tertiary Care Center in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Objectives: Geriatric patients aged more than 60 years are a vulnerable group of patients needing special care in the emergency department. This study aims to determine the prevalence of geriatric patients visiting the emergency department and explore the various aspects of those visits. Methods: A retrospective chart review of all emergency department visits from August 2016 to July 2017 was performed at King Abdulaziz University Hospital in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Results: Of 34,127 emergency department visits by adults, 6,533 (19.14%) were made by geriatric patients (age range, 60-115 years; average, 71.25 years), representing about 45 nationalities (48.62% were Saudi). Triage priority using the “Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale” showed that 36.08% of the visits were emergencies, 49.35% were urgent, and 14.57% were non-urgent. Most (40.47%) of the visits were made during the morning, almost double the number made at night (23.30%). Geriatric patients presenting with a single complaint represented 62.47% of these visits, those presenting with two complaints represented 31.01%, and those presenting three or more complaints, 6.52%. The most common complaints were dyspnea (25.28%), chest pain (13.16%), and abdominal pain (10.82%). In the final diagnoses, diseases of circulatory system were most frequent (15.20%). The admission rate was 28.38%, and the mortality rate was 1.94%.
Conclusion: Geriatric patients visiting the emergency department represent one-fi ft h of all emergency department visits by adults. They commonly present with complex medical conditions, making the approach to their diagnoses more challenging. Therefore, we recommend paying greater attention using multidisciplinary services and follow up.