2018-01-26Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.25646/6050
Social Gradients in Myocardial Infarction and Stroke Diagnoses in Emergency Medicine
An Analysis of Socioeconomic Regional Disparities in a German City
Trampisch, Hans J.
Background: Persons of lower socio-economic status are at higher risk of disease, especially with respect to severe and chronic illnesses. To date, there have not been any studies with large case numbers regarding acute medical emergencies in this population. Methods: In a retrospective study, data were obtained on all cases treated by emergency physicians in Bochum, Germany, in 2014/2015, including the diagnoses that were made by the emergency physicians. There were a total of 16 767 cases. The local unemployment rate was taken as an indicator of the socioeconomic situation of a neighborhood; it was defined as the percentage of registered unemployed persons among persons aged 15 to 64 with their domicile in the neighborhood. 12 168 cases were grouped by emergency medical diagnosis and analyzed with respect to the three most heavily represented diagnostic categories (cardiovascular, neurological, and pulmonary emergencies), which accounted for nearly two-thirds of all diagnoses. Results: The overall rates of deployment involving emergency physicians were found to be positively correlated with the unemployment rate. After adjustment for age, sex, and possible confounders, this correlation was statistically significant (p<0.01). The indirectly standardized rate ratio (IRR) for the overall case-activity rate ranged from 0.841 (95% confidence interval: [0.808; 0.875]) with less than 5% unemployment to 1.212 [1.168; 1.256] with 9.5% unemployment or higher. The same finding was obtained with respect to diagnosis-specific case activity in each of the three main diagnostic categories (cardiovascular, neurological, and pulmonary emergencies), as well as for the respective commonest individual diagnoses (acute coronary syndrome/circulatory arrest [1498 cases], transient ischemic attack/ischemic stroke/intracerebral hemorrhage [1274 cases], and asthma/chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [663 cases]). Conclusion: This study shows that the case-activity rate of the emergency medical services is significantly higher in socially disadvantaged neighborhoods, both with respect to total numbers and with respect to individual diseases. It demonstrates a problem affecting society as a whole, which should be taken into account in the organization of medical rescue services.
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