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An Pediatr (Barc). 2006 Aug;65(2):123-8.

[Neonatal management in the emergency department of a tertiary children's hospital].

[Article in Spanish]

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  • 1Sección de Urgencias, Servicio de Pediatría, Hospital Sant Joan de Déu, Universitat de Barcelona, Esplugues de Llobregat, Barcelona, España.



To determinate the chief complaints in neonates presenting to a pediatric emergency service and their management.


We performed a retrospective study of patients younger than 28 days old who presented to the pediatric emergency department in 2003. Patients directly admitted to the neonatal unit and those attended by the surgery and orthopedic surgery departments were excluded. Information on sex, age, time and date, waiting time, visit duration, source of referral, presenting complaint, complementary examinations, final diagnosis, and hospital admission were analyzed.


There were 1,481 neonatal visits. The mean chronological age was 15.8 days and 57.3 % were boys. Visits were most frequent on Fridays, evening shifts, and in July and December. The most frequent chief complaints were crying/irritability (16.3 %), fever (13.6 %), vomiting (11 %), and influenza (10.8 %). The most frequent final diagnoses were feeding problems (12.6 %), infantile colic (12.4 %), and upper respiratory tract infections (12 %). No abnormalities were detected in 11.7 % of the patients and complementary examinations were not required in 45.9 %. The admission rate was 26 %, most commonly due to fever and bronchiolitis.


Many visits were due to minor problems that did not require complementary examinations and could have been resolved in primary care. Because of the greater vulnerability of this age group, thorough investigation is required to rule out severe disease. This phenomenon was reflected by the large number of complementary examinations and admissions.

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