ICEM: Patient Data May Help Improve Disaster Preparedness
Review of patient records shows that exacerbation of chronic conditions is common presentation following disaster
FRIDAY, April 4 (HealthDay News) -- Patient data collected in New Orleans after the Hurricane Katrina disaster will help health care personnel prepare for future disasters, according to research presented this week at the 12th International Conference on Emergency Medicine in San Francisco.
Lori Boyajian-ONeill, of the Kansas City University of Medicine & Biosciences in Kansas City, Mo., and colleagues reviewed 2,073 medical charts -- including 3,199 diagnoses -- from the mobile Heart to Heart International clinics that were set up in the wake of the disaster.
The researchers found that chronic medical conditions accounted for 1,665 diagnoses, including 731 (44 percent) diagnoses of hypertension and other cardiovascular conditions. Acute medical conditions accounted for 1,534 diagnoses, including 435 (28 percent) respiratory diagnoses and 383 (25 percent) skin-condition diagnoses. The researchers also found that males accounted for 54.3 percent of patients and that 858 (41 percent) of patients were aged 46 to 64.
"Our results indicate that exacerbation of chronic conditions is a common presentation, likely from patients being displaced from medications, supplies and equipment," the authors write. "As we plan for disaster, a central concern must be providing physicians, medications, equipment and supplies that would meet the medical needs of evacuees."