ED Crowding means worse outcomes for chest pain patients?

The article isn’t available yet.  Here’s the pre-publication take from Medwire news:

Crowded emergency departments pose increased risk for chest pain patients

By Mark Cowen

05 June 2009

Acad Emerg Med 2009: Not yet available online

MedWire News: Heart attack patients and those with other forms of chest pain are significantly more likely to experience serious complications after admission to hospital if they were initially treated in a crowded emergency department, US research shows.

“What shocked us is that these complications were not explained by what goes on in the emergency department,” said lead researcher Dr Jesse Pines, from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. “The adverse events occurred after the patient had been admitted to the hospital. Emergency department crowding is really more of a marker of a dysfunctional hospital.”

Hmm.  Delays are delays, but I’ll wait until I see the actual article to comment more.  My first question: are these different hospitals, or same ED with different censuses (which would be a better apple to apple comparison).

Don’t change where you go just yet.


  1. hypnoid says:

    I’d buy this-the biggest cause of ED crowding here is lack of available inpatient beds. Yesterday there were 25 patients in the ER who had been admitted and who were waiting for a bed on a ward. Guess what-that means 25 fewer beds available in the ED… It would be unsurprising to expect more adveres outcomes in a hospital ward which is so overcapacity some of their patients are still in the ED.