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Ambulance Use, Health Outcomes, and Costs for Emergency Department Visits for Primary Diagnosis of Syncope in Canada


ABSTRACT: Background Syncope is a common presentation to the emergency department (ED), yet little is known regarding patient mode of arrival. Methods We identified patients ?20 years old who presented to the ED with a primary diagnosis of syncope in Alberta and Ontario, Canada, between 2010 and 2016. Outcomes included 30-day in-hospital mortality, ED revisits, and rehospitalizations according to mode of arrival and discharge status. The estimated cost for ambulance use was calculated based on the provincial rates (Alberta CAD$385 and Ontario $240). Results A total of 271,601 syncope presentations to the ED were identified and 60.7% arrived by ambulance. A total of 76.3% (n = 125,793) of ambulance users and 87.0% of self-presenters (n = 92,845) were discharged from the ED. Regardless of mode of arrival, discharged patients were younger with fewer comorbidities. Compared with ambulance users admitted, those discharged had lower in-hospital mortality (0.2% vs 3.5%, P < 0.001), ED revisits (4.4% vs 10.4%, P < 0.001), and rehospitalizations (3.6% vs 10.7%, P < 0.001). Discharged self-presenters also had significantly lower outcomes (P < 0.001, for each outcome) compared with admitted self-presenters. The estimated cost for ambulance use among patients discharged from the ED was $33,137,735. Conclusion A majority of syncope patients arrived to the ED by ambulance, and over 3 quarters were directly discharged home. Although discharged patients had a favourable short-term prognosis, they incurred high transportation costs. Strategies aimed at preventing unnecessary ambulance use are needed.

SUBMITTER: Gupta A 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC7499390 | BioStudies | 2020-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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