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Emergency department visits and emergency-to-inpatient admissions for abnormal uterine bleeding in the USA nationwide

Abstract

Background Abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB) is a common but understudied gynaecological problem, and data are lacking on emergency department (ED) visits and associated ED-to-inpatient admissions for AUB. This project aims to further understanding of the burden of AUB on patients and the healthcare system by establishing the number and characteristics of women with AUB in the ED and evaluating predictors of AUB-related inpatient hospitalisation in the USA.

Methods This is a cross-sectional study of women presenting to the ED with non-malignant AUB in the 2016 US Nationwide Emergency Department Sample (NEDS). Clinical, demographic and hospital system factors were evaluated. χ2 and Mann-Whitney tests were used to compare the proportion of visits with each characteristic, resulting in inpatient admission versus discharge from the ED. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to analyse predictors of AUB in the ED and of AUB-related hospitalisations.

Results There were 1.03 million AUB-related visits in the 2016 NEDS, of which 11.2% resulted in inpatient admission. Clinical as well as demographic and hospital system factors influenced ED disposition. Women with AUB tended to be of reproductive age, be underinsured, live in lower income and urban areas, and present to urban and public hospitals. However, older age, higher income, better insurance, presentation to private hospitals and rural residence predicted inpatient admission.

Conclusions Our study highlights the ED as an essential place of care for women with AUB while also demonstrating the importance of access to outpatient gynaecology services as some AUB-related ED visits may be preventable with outpatient care. The significant demographic and hospital system differences, as well as expected clinical differences, between women with AUB admitted to inpatient and women discharged from the ED imply structural biases impacting AUB-related ED care and add to the deepening understanding of health disparities.

  • care systems
  • gynecology
  • utilisation
  • epidemiology
  • health service accessibility

Data availability statement

Data are available in a public, open access repository.

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