Characteristics of the prehospital phase of adult emergency department patients with an infection: A prospective pilot study

Gideon H. P. Latten*, Lieke Claassen, Marnix Jonk, Jochen W. L. Cals, Jean W. M. Muris, Patricia M. Stassen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Web of Science)

Abstract

Objective

Research on serious infections/sepsis has focused on the hospital environment, while potentially the most delay, and therefore possibly the best opportunity to improve quality of care, lies in the prehospital setting. In this study we investigated the prehospital phase of adult emergency department (ED) patients with an infection.

Methods

In this prospective pilot study all adult (>= 18y) patients with a suspected/proven infection, based on the notes in the patient's ED chart, were included during a 4-week period in 2017. Prehospital course, ED findings, presence of sepsis and 30-day outcomes were registered.

Results

A total of 440 patients were identified, with a median symptom duration before ED visit of 3 days (IQR 1-7 days). Before arrival in the ED, 23.9% of patients had used antibiotics. Most patients (83.0%) had been referred by a general practitioner (GP), while 41.1% of patients had visited their GP previously during the current disease episode. Patients referred by a GP were triaged as high-urgency less often, while vital parameters were similar. Emergency Medical Services (EMS) transported 268 (60.9%) of patients. Twenty-two patients (5.0%) experienced an adverse outcome (30-day all-cause mortality and/or admission to intensive care).

Conclusions

Patients with a suspected infection had symptoms for 3 (IQR 1-7) days at the moment of presentation to the ED. During this prehospital phase patients often had consulted, and were treated by, their GP. Many were transported to the ED by EMS. Future research on severe infections should focus on the prehospital phase, targeting patients and primary care professionals.

Original languageEnglish
Article number0212181
Number of pages10
JournalPLOS ONE
Volume14
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2019

Keywords

  • SEPTIC SHOCK
  • SEPSIS
  • EPIDEMIOLOGY
  • DEFINITIONS
  • MORTALITY

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