HealthDay News — Almost 60% of adult emergency department visits are by patients with at least one chronic condition associated with severe COVID-19, according to a study published online September 1 in the National Health Statistics Reports, a publication from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Loredana Santo, MD, MPH, from the National Center for Health Statistics in Hyattsville, Maryland, and colleagues describe emergency department visits made by adults with selected chronic conditions associated with severe COVID-19 illness using data collected in the 2017 to 2019 National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey.
The researchers found that 59.5% of emergency department visits made by adults for 2017 to 2019 were among those with one or more chronic conditions. Those aged 45 to 64 years had the highest percentage of emergency department visits made by adults with three or more chronic conditions. Among adults with 3 or more chronic conditions, Medicare was the most frequently observed expected source of payment. The percentage of emergency department visits that resulted in a hospital admission increased with the number of chronic conditions. The most frequently observed chronic condition was hypertension (33.8% of emergency department visits by adults); hypertension and diabetes was the most frequently observed pair of chronic conditions (33.2% of emergency department visits for adults with at least two chronic conditions).
“Monitoring emergency department visits made by adults at highest risk of severe COVID-19-related illness is important for understanding the health burden of COVID-19 and for planning prevention strategies,” the authors write.