Deprivation as an outcome determinant in emergency medical admissions

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Background: Deprivation in the general population predicts mortality. We have investigated its relevance to an acute medical admission, using a database of all emergency admissions to St James’ Hospital, Dublin, over a 10-year period (2002–11).

Methods: All emergency admissions, based on geocoding of residence, were allocated to a Small Area Health Research Unit division, with a corresponding deprivation index. We then examined this index as a univariate (unadjusted) and independent (adjusted) predictor of 30-day in-hospital mortality.

Results: The 30-day in-hospital mortality, over the 10-year period, was higher for those in the upper half of the deprivation distribution (9.6 vs. 8.6%; P = 0.002). Indeed, there was a stepwise increase in 30-day mortality over the quintiles of deprivation from 7.3% (Quintile 1) to 8.8, 10.0, 10.0 and 9.3%, respectively. Univariate logistic regression of the deprivation indices (quintiles) against outcome showed an increased risk (P = 0.002) of a 30-day death with odds ratios (ORs), respectively (compared with lowest deprivation quintile) of 1.39 [95% confidence intervals (CI) 1.21, 1.58], 1.47 (95% CI 1.29, 1.68), 1.44 (95% CI 1.26, 1.64) and 1.39 (95% CI 1.22, 1.59). The deprivation index was an independent predictor of outcome in a model when adjusted for illness severity and co-morbidity. The fully adjusted OR for a 30-day death was increased by 31% (P = 0.001) for patients in the upper half of the deprivation index distribution (OR 1.35; 95% CI 1.23, 1.48; P < 0.001).

Conclusion: Deprivation, independent of co-morbidity or acute illness severity, is an independent predictor of 30-day mortality in acute medical admissions.

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