News from the FDA/CDC

Pediatric ED diagnoses vary with the season


The two most common reasons for pediatric emergency department visits exhibit considerable and opposing seasonal variations, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Of the 30 million ED visits by children aged 18 years and younger during fiscal year 2015, about 9.6 million, or just under 24%, were for respiratory disorders, making it the most common diagnosis by body system. The second-most common reason, injuries, was associated with approximately 7.9 million visits in 2015, the AHRQ reported recently in a statistical brief.

Over the 4-year period from 2011 to 2015, pediatric ED visits for respiratory disorders peaked during the months from October to March and dropped during April-September. In 2015, for example, there was a 43% difference between October-December, which was the highest-volume quarter, and July-September, which had the lowest volume of visits, the report showed.

The opposite pattern of seasonality was seen with visits for injury-related visits: The high point each year occurs in April-September, with the low in October-March. In 2015, there was a 30% difference between the lowest-volume quarter of January-March and the highest-volume quarter of July-September, based on the analysis of data from the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample.

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