Patterns and predictors of early mortality among emergency department patients in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, has published in BMC Research Notes, an online, open-access journal on October 24, 2015

Authors Cheryl Hunchak, Sisay Teklu, Nazanin Meshkat, Christopher Meaney and Lisa Puchalski Ritchie.

Background: Ethiopian emergency department (ED) patients have a considerable burden of illness and injury for which all-cause mortality rates have not previously been published. This study sought to characterize the burden of and to identify predictors for early all-cause mortality among patients presenting to the Tikur Anbessa Specialized Hospital ED (TASH-ED) in Ethiopia.

Methods: Data was prospectively collected from the records of all patients who died within 72 h of ED presentation. Pearson’s Chi square and Fisher’s exact tests were used to investigate associations between two outcome variables: (a) time to death and (b) immediate cause of death in relation to specific demographic and clinical factors. Time from ED presentation to death was dichotomized as ‘very early’ mortality within ≤6 h and death >6–72 h and logistic regression was used to assess the adjusted impact of these demographic and clinical variables on the probability of dying within 6 h of ED presentation.

Results: Between October 2012 and May 2013, 9956 patients visited the ED and 220 patients died within 72 h of admission. After excluding patients dead on arrival (n = 34), the average age of death was 43.1 years and the overall mortality rate was 1.9 %. Head injury (21.5 %) and sepsis (18.8 %) were the most common causes of death. Relative to medical patients, trauma patients were more likely to be male (p < 0.01), less likely to have had prior recent ED visits (p < 0.01) and more likely to be triaged as higher acuity (p = 0.04). The sole statistically significant predictor of death within 6 h from our multivariable logistic regression model was symptom duration less than 4 h (4–48 h vs. <4 h: OR = 0.20, 95 % CI 0.07, 0.53, p < 0.01; >48 h vs. <4 h: OR = 0.27, 95 % CI 0.09, 0.81, p = 0.02).

Conclusions: The mortality burden of trauma and sepsis in the TASH-ED is substantial, and mortality patterns differ between these groups. As emergency medicine develops as a specialty in the Ethiopian health system, the potential impact of context-specific clinical care protocol development, trauma prevention advocacy and ED care re-organization initiatives to reduce mortality among these young, previously well patients warrants exploration.

n Hunchak-EarlyMortality-BMCResearchNotes.pdf (1035 downloads )