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Characterization and Prediction of Emergency
Department Use in Chronic Daily Headache Patients
Freitag FG, Kozma CM, Slaton T, Osterhaus JT, Barron R.
Posted: December 2005
Objective: To examine the characteristics
of chronic daily headache sufferers who use emergency departments
(EDs) and identify factors predictive of ED visits.
Background: Several large clinical trials have
found that a sizable subset of headache patients uses EDs
frequently, although such visits should be preventable.
Methods: Participants in two large clinical trials
provided baseline data on ED use, hospitalizations, disability,
daily activities, and quality of life.
Results: Of the 785 patients included, 182
reported at least 1 ED visit over the past year. Most of these
patients reported one to six visits; however, 4.4% reported more
than 21 visits. The percentage of patients with overnight
hospitalizations during the previous year was significantly
greater in the ED user group than non-ED user group, as was the
number of visits to healthcare practitioners.
Conclusions: Patients seeking ED treatment for
chronic daily headache are more severely affected and have more
unmet medical needs than those who do not use the ED. Management
strategies that help prevent frequent ED use might be possible.