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Prehospital assessment of patients with abdominal pain triaged to self-care at home: an observation study
University of Borås, Faculty of Caring Science, Work Life and Social Welfare. Department of Prehospital Emergency Care, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden. (PreHospen)
NU Hospital Group (NU), Department of Ambulance Care, SE- 461 85, Trollhättan, Sweden.
NU Hospital Group (NU), Department of Ambulance Care, SE- 461 85, Trollhättan, Sweden.
University of Borås, Faculty of Caring Science, Work Life and Social Welfare. (PreHospen)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4139-6235
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2022 (English)In: BMC Emergency Medicine, ISSN 1471-227X, E-ISSN 1471-227X, Vol. 22, no 1, article id 92Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background

Patients who call for emergency medical services (EMS) due to abdominal pain suffer from a broad spectrum of diseases, some of which are time sensitive. As a result of the introduction of the concept of ‘optimal level of care‘, some patients with abdominal pain are triaged to other levels of care than in an emergency department (ED). We hypothesised that it could be challenging in a patient safety perspective.

Aim

This study aims to describe consecutive patients who call for EMS due to abdominal pain and are triaged to self-care by EMS clinicians.

Methods

This was an observational study performed in an EMS organisation in Western Sweden during 2020. The triage tool Rapid Emergency Triage and Treatment System (RETTS), which included Emergency Signs and Symptom (ESS) codes, was used to find medical records where patients with abdominal pain have been triaged to self-care and 194 patients was included in the study.

Results

Of total 48,311 ambulance missions, A total of 1747 patients were labelled with ESS code six (abdominal pain), including 223 (12.8%) who were given the code for self-care and 194 who were further assessed by the research group. Of these patients, 32 (16.3%) had a return visit within 96 hours due to the same symptoms and 11 (5.6%) were hospitalised. In six of these patients, the EMS triage was evaluated retrospectively and assessed as inappropriate. These patients had a final diagnosis of ruptured abdominal aneurysm (n = 1), acute appendicitis with peritonitis (n = 2) and acute pancreatitis (n = 3). All these patients required extensive evaluation and different treatments, including acute surgery, antibiotics and fluid therapy.

Conclusion

Amongst the 1747 patients assessed by EMS due to abdominal pain, 223 (12.8%) were triaged to self-care. Of the 194 patients who were further assessed, 16.3% required a return visit to the ED within 96 hours and 5.6% were hospitalised. Six patients had obvious time-sensitive conditions. Our study highlights the difficulties in the early assessment of abdominal pain and the requirement for an accurate decision support tool.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer Nature, 2022. Vol. 22, no 1, article id 92
Keywords [en]
Prehospital, EMS, Assessment, Triage, Self-care
National Category
Nursing
Research subject
The Human Perspective in Care
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-27958DOI: 10.1186/s12873-022-00649-xISI: 000805774900003PubMedID: 35659247Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85131645318OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hb-27958DiVA, id: diva2:1665215
Available from: 2022-06-07 Created: 2022-06-07 Last updated: 2022-11-24Bibliographically approved

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Publisher's full textPubMedScopushttps://doi.org/10.1186/s12873-022-00649-x

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Larsson, GlennHerlitz, JohanAndersson Hagiwara, Magnus

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