Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Disposition of emergency department patients with psychiatric comorbidity: results from the 2004 National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey
  1. S Kunen1,2,
  2. C Prejean1,
  3. B Gladney1,3,
  4. D Harper2,
  5. C V Mandry2
  1. 1Louisiana State University Emergency Medicine Residency Program, Baton Rouge, LA, USA
  2. 2Earl K Long Medical Center, Baton Rouge, LA, USA
  3. 3Baton Rouge General Medical Center, Baton Rouge, LA, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 Professor S Kunen
 LSU Emergency Medicine Residency Program, Earl K Long Medical Center, 5825 Airline Hwy, Baton Rouge, LA 70806, USA; profsk{at}


Background: Few emergency department (ED) studies have examined how psychiatric comorbidity relates to hospitalisation decisions.

Methods: We assessed the relationship of psychiatric comorbidity to hospitalisation decisions among ED patients in the 2004 National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey.

Results: Patients with psychiatric comorbidity were five times more likely to be hospitalised than patients with a single psychiatric diagnosis. The most frequent psychiatric comorbidities involved substance use disorders (SUDs).

Conclusions: Psychiatric disorders are underdiagnosed among ED patients. We believe that this underdiagnosis may be partly responsible for the high hospitalisation rates of ED patients with SUDs

  • ED, emergency department
  • NHAMCS, National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey
  • SUD, substance use disorder
  • psychiatry
  • comorbidity
  • emergency department

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Competing interests: none declared