Hospital-based Emergency Department Visits with Periapical Abscess: Updated Estimates from 7 Years

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Introduction:The impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on the utilization of the emergency department (ED) for periapical abscess (PA) is unknown. The objectives of this study were to provide nationwide estimates of hospital-based ED visits with PA and to examine the effect of the ACA on the use of EDs for PAs.Methods:We performed a retrospective analysis of the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample (NEDS) for 2008 to 2014. All ED visits with a diagnosis of PA were selected. The International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision–Clinical Modification code was used to identify PA. Patient- and hospital-level characteristics were examined. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize the data.Results:From 2008 to 2014, a total of 3,505,633 ED visits for PA occurred. The proportion of ED visits with PA significantly increased over the study period (from 460,260 in 2008 to 545,693 in 2014). Medicaid was the primary payer (30.3%) and more than 40% were uninsured. Mean charge per PA-related ED visit was $1080.50 and total PA-related ED charge across the United States was $3.4 billion. Among those hospitalized following PA-related ED visits, mean hospitalization charges were $34,245 and total hospitalization charges were $5.7 billion.Conclusion:Oral health continues to be overlooked in health care. A large proportion of ED visits with PA were made by those covered by Medicaid and uninsured. The passing of the ACA has not reduced the number of ED visits with PA.

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