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J Korean Med Sci. 2012 Oct;27(10):1222-8. doi: 10.3346/jkms.2012.27.10.1222. Epub 2012 Oct 2.

Utilization of emergency department by children in Korea.

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Department of Emergency Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


This study was conducted to examine the nation-wide emergency department (ED) utilization pattern by children in Korea. Most referral hospital EDs provide their essential ED information to the National Emergency Medical Center through the National Emergency Department Information System (NEDIS). We analyzed the NEDIS data on pediatric visits (< 19 yr old) during three years, from June 1, 2008 to May 31, 2010. A total of 2,072,664 children visited 124 EDs during the study period, and this patient population comprised 31.2% of the total ED visits. Male patients with a mean age of 5.44 (± 5.40 SD) yr comprised 59.1% of the ED pediatric visits. Among all age groups, the 1-4-yr-old group was the largest (42.3%). The most common mode of arrival was non-emergency medical service (EMS) (90.7%), and only 4.2% of patients used EMS transport. Common chief complaints in infants were fever (37.4%), whereas many older children presented to the EDs with abdominal pain (15.4%). The ratio of disease versus injury as the cause of ED visits was 2.5:1. Most patients were discharged (81.2%), and 15.3% were admitted. In conclusion, the most common age group who are brought to EDs in Korea is 1 to 4 yr-old young children, and common chief complaints of the visiting children are age-dependent, such as fever in younger children and abdominal pain and headache in older children. We need more improved and organized emergency medicine service system for children in Korea.


Child; Emergencies; Epidemiology

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