Evaluation of inflammatory rheumatic diseases from an emergency medicine perspective

San I., Erden A., Gemcioglu E., KÜÇÜKŞAHİN O.

International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases, vol.23, no.12, pp.1670-1675, 2020 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 23 Issue: 12
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1111/1756-185x.13982
  • Journal Name: International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, EMBASE, MEDLINE
  • Page Numbers: pp.1670-1675
  • Keywords: emergency medicine, inflammatory rheumatic diseases
  • Gazi University Affiliated: No


© 2020 Asia Pacific League of Associations for Rheumatology and John Wiley & Sons Australia, LtdBackground: Patients with rheumatological complaints may visit an emergency department (ED) because of an acute attack or complication. Because of the recent increased use of immunosuppressant drugs to treat rheumatic diseases, more patients with these conditions visit the ED with a complaint about an infection. However, there are little data on the ED visits of patients with rheumatological complaints. This study evaluated the ED visits of patients with inflammatory rheumatic diseases. Materials and Methods: A total of 2715 patients (1753 females, 962 males) who had been diagnosed with an inflammatory rheumatic disease and followed up at the rheumatology clinic of Yıldırım Beyazit University, Ankara Atatürk Training and Research Hospital between April 2014 and April 2018 were included in the study. The demographic, clinical, and laboratory characteristics of the patients were obtained from the hospital patient records. The ED visits of these patients were classified into five triage groups (T1: critical, T2: very urgent, T3: urgent, T4: less urgent, T5: not urgent). Results: Of the 2715 patients, 577 (21.3%) had visited the ED. The three most numerous groups who visited the ED were patients with rheumatoid arthritis (19.8%), ankylosing spondylitis (19.2%), and familial Mediterranean fever (15.9%). Of these 577 patients, 347 (60.1%) were discharged from the ED, 209 (36.2%) were hospitalized in the wards, and 21 (3.6%) were hospitalized in the intensive care unit (ICU). The 3 main reasons for visiting the ED were fever and malaise (n = 152, 26.3%), musculoskeletal complaints (n = 125, 21.7%), and abdominal pain (n = 89, 15.4%). The most numerous group of patients referred by the ED to the wards had vasculitis (n = 38, 17.9%), while the most numerous group of patients referred to the ICU had scleroderma (n = 7, 33.3%). Of the 21 patients who were referred by the ED to the ICU, 16 (76.1%) had respiratory system complaints. Of the 577 patients, 10 (1.7%) died. Eight of the 10 patients (80%) had a rheumatic disease and died after admission to the ICU. The other 2 patients had been diagnosed with pneumonia and myocardial infarction, respectively. Conclusions: Our study found that visits to the ED by patients with inflammatory rheumatic diseases were classified as urgent or less urgent. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis were the most numerous ED visitors. Vasculitis was the most common cause of hospitalization in the wards and scleroderma was the most common cause of hospitalization in the ICU and death. This suggests that ED physicians should be aware of these patients.