Patients with head and neck cancer who have more comorbidities and higher socioeconomic status are more likely to frequent the emergency department (ED), according to a study published in Head & Neck.
Using deidentified registry information and electronic medical record data, this retrospective cohort study included 593 (median age, 63 years; 70% male) Singapore residents with head and neck cancers.
The median number of ED visits was two (range, 1-4 visits). Most of the patients had high comorbidity (defined as a Charlson Comorbidity Index [CCI] score of three or more; n=294; 59%). The most common cancer site was oral (48%), followed by larynx (20%) and hypopharynx (10%).
Factors associated with trips to the emergency room
Among the cohort, 13% of patients (n=77) were frequent attenders to the ED. Those with a CCI of three or more (odds ratio = 3.92; 95% CI, 2.29-7.01) and a higher socioeconomic status were more likely to end up in the ED. Smoking status and cancer site were similar between frequent and non-frequent attenders.
Those who more often frequented the ED were more likely to present with respiratory complaints, likely related to cancer treatment, or smoking status.