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Pediatr Emerg Care. 2017 Jan 9. doi: 10.1097/PEC.0000000000001013. [Epub ahead of print]

Outcomes From Referrals and Unscheduled Visits From Community Emergency Departments to a Regional Pediatric Emergency Department in Canada.

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From the *Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia; †Department of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital of British Columbia; and ‡Department of Emergency Medicine, St. Paul's Hospital, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.



Existing pediatric literature describing repeat visits to the emergency department (ED) for the same medical complaint has yet to report on patient flow patterns from general EDs (GEDs) to a pediatric ED (PED). We sought to characterize the population of patients who are treated in a GED and subsequently present to a PED for further care.


We conducted a retrospective cohort study reviewing all pediatric visits (age < 17 y) at 5 GEDs in Vancouver. Our primary outcome measure was the proportion of visits with a subsequent visit to a PED (<7 days) during the 2012 to 2013 fiscal year. Secondary outcomes included reasons for PED consultation, the clinical services accessed, and disposition at the PED.


During the study period, 581 (3.3%) of the 17,824 children seen at GEDs subsequently presented to the PED within 7 days. The top 3 diagnoses among these were fracture, viral infection, and musculoskeletal complaints. Of the 581 children with a visit to the PED, 180 (31.0%) were referred to the PED for a consultation, whereas the rest were family initiated. Referred visits were more frequently associated with pediatric subspecialist consultation than family-initiated visits (45.0% vs 19.5%, P < 0.01). The referred group more frequently resulted in a surgical procedure (13.9% vs 2.5%, P < 0.01) or hospital admission (51.7% vs 8.7%, P < 0.01).


Knowing the proportion, management, and outcomes of children who are treated in a GED and subsequently at a PED may provide an important quality measure and opportunities to improve the management of common pediatric emergencies in the community.

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