The impact of heatwaves on emergency department visits in Brisbane, Australia : a time series study

Toloo, Ghasem Sam, Yu, Weiwei, Aitken, Peter, FitzGerald, Gerry, & Tong, Shilu (2014) The impact of heatwaves on emergency department visits in Brisbane, Australia : a time series study. Critical Care, 18(2), R69.

View at publisher (open access)

Abstract

Introduction

The acute health effects of heatwaves in a subtropical climate and their impact on emergency departments (ED) are not well known. The purpose of this study is to examine overt heat-related presentations to EDs associated with heatwaves in Brisbane.

Methods

Data were obtained for the summer seasons (December to February) from 2000-2012. Heatwave events were defined as two or more successive days with daily maximum temperature >=34[degree sign]C (HWD1) or >=37[degree sign]C (HWD2). Poisson generalised additive model was used to assess the effect of heatwaves on heat-related visits (International Classification of Diseases (ICD) 10 codes T67 and X30; ICD 9 codes 992 and E900.0).

Results

Overall, 628 cases presented for heat-related illnesses. The presentations significantly increased on heatwave days based on HWD1 (relative risk (RR) = 4.9, 95% confidence interval (CI): 3.8, 6.3) and HWD2 (RR = 18.5, 95% CI: 12.0, 28.4). The RRs in different age groups ranged between 3-9.2 (HWD1) and 7.5-37.5 (HWD2). High acuity visits significantly increased based on HWD1 (RR = 4.7, 95% CI: 2.3, 9.6) and HWD2 (RR = 81.7, 95% CI: 21.5, 310.0). Average length of stay in ED significantly increased by >1 hour (HWD1) and >2 hours (HWD2).

Conclusions

Heatwaves significantly increase ED visits and workload even in a subtropical climate. The degree of impact is directly related to the extent of temperature increases and varies by socio-demographic characteristics of the patients. Heatwave action plans should be tailored according to the population needs and level of vulnerability. EDs should have plans to increase their surge capacity during heatwaves.

Impact and interest:

7 citations in Scopus
Search Google Scholar™
7 citations in Web of Science®

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

45 since deposited on 10 Apr 2014
9 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 70058
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Age, Gender, Emergency department, Triage, Length of stay, Discharge, Heatwave, Heatstroke, Heat illness, CEDM
DOI: 10.1186/cc13826
ISSN: 1364-8535
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Aged Health Care (111702)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Epidemiology (111706)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Health and Community Services (111708)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Health Promotion (111712)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Primary Health Care (111717)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > POLICY AND ADMINISTRATION (160500) > Environment Policy (160507)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > POLICY AND ADMINISTRATION (160500) > Health Policy (160508)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIOLOGY (160800) > Environmental Sociology (160802)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Emergency & Disaster Management
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Funding:
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 © 2014 Toloo et al.
Copyright Statement: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which
permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain
Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Deposited On: 10 Apr 2014 22:09
Last Modified: 17 Mar 2015 06:40

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page