Factors affecting the likelihood of presentation to the emergency department of trauma patients after discharge

Document Type



General Surgery


Study objective: We determine the rate at which trauma patients re-present to the emergency department (ED) after discharge from the hospital and determine whether re-presentation is related to race, insurance, and socioeconomic factors such as neighborhood income level.
Methods: Trauma patients admitted to a Level I trauma center between January 1, 1997, and December 31, 2007, were identified with the hospital's trauma registry. These patients were linked to administrative data to obtain information about re-presentation to the hospital. Neighborhood income was obtained with census block data; multiple imputation was implemented to account for missing income data. Logistic regression analysis was used to determine the predictors of re-presentation.
Results: There were 6,675 patients who were included in the study. A total of 886 patients (13.3%) returned to the ED within 30 days of discharge from the hospital. Uninsured patients (odds ratio [OR]=1.64; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.30 to 2.06) and publicly insured patients (OR=1.60; 95% CI 1.20 to 2.14) were more likely to re-present to the ED than those with commercial insurance. Residing in a neighborhood with a median household income less than $20,000 was associated with a higher odds of re-presentation (OR=1.77; 95% CI 1.37 to 2.29). Only 13.2% of patients who came to the ED were readmitted to the hospital.
Conclusion: A substantial number of trauma patients return to the ED within 30 days of being discharged, but only a small proportion of these patients required readmission. Re-presentation is associated with being uninsured or underinsured and with lower neighborhood income level.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University

Publication ( Name of Journal)

Annals of Emergency Medicine