Table of Contents
Advances in Emergency Medicine
Volume 2014, Article ID 536080, 5 pages
Research Article

Common Presenting Problems for Young People Attending the Emergency Department

1Nottingham Children’s Hospital, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, Queen’s Medical Centre Campus, Derby Road, Nottingham NG7 2UH, UK
2Department of Paediatrics, Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Kings Mill Hospital, Mansfield Road, Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottingham NG17 4JL, UK

Received 9 January 2014; Revised 20 February 2014; Accepted 21 February 2014; Published 25 March 2014

Academic Editor: Bruno Megarbane

Copyright © 2014 Dhurgshaarna Shanmugavadivel et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. To determine the common presenting problems for young people attending the emergency department. Design. A retrospective review of electronic patient records of all young people between the ages of 13 and 17 who attended a UK University Hospital ED between 07/02/2007 and 06/02/2008 (). Results. All emergency department attendances for young people over a one-year period were studied in order to determine the common presenting problems. There were a total of 10455 attendances by 8303 young people. The presenting problem in 7505 (71.8%) was classified as injury. Of the remainder the commonest presenting problems reported for young people were abdominal pain (480, 16.3%), self-harm (314, 10.6%), fits, faints and funny turns (308, 10.4%), breathing difficulty (213, 7.2%), and intoxication (178, 6.0%). Ten presenting problems accounted for 72% of noninjury related attendances. Conclusions. Clinical guidelines and pathways developed for young people attending the emergency department should target the commonest presenting problems. In our cohort ten presenting problems account for almost three-quarters of all noninjury attendances for young people. The presenting problems are different to those described in younger children in previous studies. These results will inform the development of clinical pathways in order to improve emergency care.