Visits by the elderly to United States EDs for alcohol-related disorders

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Objectives—The objectives are to estimate the number of elderly patients presenting to emergency departments (EDs) in the United States from 2006 to 2011 for alcohol-related disorders and examine their demographic and clinical features. Methods—This study used 2006 to 2011 data from the Nationwide ED Sample, a stratified, multistage sample designed to give national estimates of US ED visits each year. Clinical Classifications Software 660 code (“alcohol-related disorders”) was used. The clinical and demographic features that were examined were as follows: number of admissions, disposition, sex, age, expected payer, income, geographic region, charges, and primary diagnoses and procedures performed. Results—From 2006 to 2011, there were 1620345 ED visits for alcohol-related disorders in elderly patients. Roughly one-third were discharged from the ED, whereas 66% (1078677) were admitted to the hospital. Approximately 73% were male, and the mean age was 73 years. Most patients used Medicare (84%), resided in neighborhoods with the lowest median income national quartile (29%), and lived in the South (36.4%). The average charge for discharged patients was $4274.95 (4050.30–4499.61) and $37857.20 (36813.00–38901.40) for admitted patients. The total charges for all patients treated and released from the ED were $2166082965.40 and admitted was $40835690924.40. Conclusions—This study provided insight not only into the sociodemographic characteristics of this patient population but also the health care costs related to alcohol-related ED visits. These results may contribute to the development of future interventions targeted toward this population.