Epidemiological profiles of otorhinolaryngological disorders in adults admitted to the emergency room of a tertiary university hospital
Background: The incidence of otorhinolaryngological emergencies has been steadily increasing. With the increasing number of patients admitted to the emergency room, numerous challenges in healthcare have become more prevalent. This study aimed to evaluate the epidemiological profile of otorhinolaryngological disorders in adults admitted to the emergency department of a tertiary university hospital.
Materials and Methods: A total of 7028 adult patients with otorhinolaryngological disorders admitted to the emergency department of a tertiary hospital from January 1 to December 31, 2016, were enrolled in the study. Each patient underwent a comprehensive clinical evaluation by the physicians of the emergency department and was consulted by an otorhinolaryngologist. Age, sex, time of visits, and cost of each patient due to healthcare insurance were recorded.
Results: In total, 3098 patients were male (36.6 ± 16.4 years; 44.1%) and 3930 were female (35.4 ± 16.2 years; 55.9%). The most common otorhinolaryngological disorders were pharyngitis (n = 2713; 38.6%), followed by tonsillitis (n = 1302; 18.5%) and rhinitis (n = 1161; 16.5%). These three infectious diagnoses constituted 73.6% of all otorhinolaryngological disorders. The highest number of medical visits due to otorhinolaryngological disorders was in January, whereas the lowest number of visits was in July. When we excluded the three infection‑based diagnoses, otorhinolaryngological disorders were stable at approximately 150 patients per month. The main reason for the increase in the number of visits per month due to otorhinolaryngological disorders appeared to be a result of these three infection‑based diagnoses.
Conclusion: More than 80% of otorhinolaryngological disorders in adults admitted to the emergency department were not truly emergencies requiring attendance at a tertiary hospital emergency room. New policies should be instituted to reduce the workload of the emergency services and to allow more effort to be spent on real emergencies.
Keywords: Emergency department, epidemiology, otorhinolaryngological disorders