Impact of Ramadan on emergency department visits and on medical emergencies
Fasting during Ramadan is important to Muslims. This study describes changes in emergency department (ED) visits and in frequencies of emergency conditions and impact on clinical outcomes during Ramadan in a tertiary care center in Beirut, Lebanon.Patients and methods
Patients presenting to ED during Ramadan 1 month before and 1 month after Ramadan over a 3-year period with specific conditions (acute coronary syndrome, stroke, seizure, diabetes, renal colic, headache or hypertension) were included. Clinical and sociodemographic characteristics, ED volume, diagnoses, and outcomes were examined during two periods (Ramadan vs. non-Ramadan). Multiple logistic regressions were performed to identify the impact of Ramadan on ED bounce-back and mortality at ED discharge.Results
A total of 3536 patients were included. The daily average ED volume was higher during non-Ramadan months (145.65±22.14) compared with Ramadan (128.85±14.52). The average ED length of stay was higher during Ramadan (5.42±14.86 vs. 3.96±4.29 h; P=0.006). Frequencies and admission rates for the selected diseases were comparable during the two periods, except for patients with acute coronary syndrome or stroke who had lower admission rates during Ramadan.Results
ED bounce-back rates and mortality at ED discharge were higher during Ramadan (odds=1.34, 95% confidence interval: 1.03–1.74 and odds ratio=2.88, 95% confidence interval: 1.01–8.27, respectively).Conclusion
EDs might experience a decreased in volumes, higher length of stay, and potentially worse outcomes during Ramadan. Changes in the frequencies of ED visits related to common conditions are not expected. Prospective studies documenting fasting status would clarify further the impact of Ramadan.