The acute sick and injured patients – an overview of presenting symptoms to a Norwegian University Hospital Emergency Department
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Objectives: There is a need for structural changes and increased physician competence and availability in the Norwegian emergency department (ED). The aim of this studywas to improve the knowledge of the ED patient population, including symptomatology, for better insight of competence and resources needed within Norwegian emergency medicine. Methods: Prospective data were collected from an ED database (Akuttdatabasen) and included all patients admitted to the main ED at the St. Olav’s University Hospital over a period of two months. The patient`s main complaint were registered using International Classification of PrimaryCare-2 codes (ICPC-2). Results: 3163 patients arrived in the ED during the study period. The overall admission rate was 90%. The majority (71%) of patients presented with symptoms, where abdominal pain (13%), chest pain (13%) and dyspnea (9%) were the most common. The complaints of remainingpatients (29%) were primarily traumas, infections, and other diagnoses. There were significant differences in symptom distribution between the elderly (>65 years old) and the younger adults. Conclusions: Our results show that the patients in the ED have a diverse specter of complaints and the majority of patients present with symptoms rather than defined medical diagnosis. The broad spectrum of challenging s ymptoms and agerelated differences will require increased physician competence and availabilityin Norwegian EDs.