Emergency medicine is a young specialty in many low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Although many patients seeking emergency or acute care are children, little information is available about the needs and current treatment of this group in LMICs. In this observational study, we sought to describe characteristics, chief complaints, management, and outcomes of children presenting for unscheduled visits to two Cambodian public hospitals.Children enrolled in the study presented without appointment for treatment at one of two Cambodian public referral hospitals during a 4-week period in 2012. Researchers used standardized questionnaires and hospital records to collect demographic and clinical data. Patients were followed up at 48 h and 14 days after initial presentation. Multivariate logistic regression identified factors associated with hospital admission.This study included 867 unscheduled visits. Mean patient age was 5.7 years (standard deviation 4.8 years). Of the 35 different presenting complaints, fever (63%), respiratory problems (25%), and skin complaints (24%) were most common. The majority of patients were admitted (51%), while 1% were transferred to another facility. Seven patients (1%) died within 14 days. Follow-up rates were 83% at 48 h and 75% at 14 days. Predictors of admission included transfer or referral from another health provider, seeking prior care for the presenting problem, low socioeconomic status, onset of symptoms within 24 h of seeking care, abnormal vital signs or temperature, and chief complaint of abdominal pain or fever.While the admission rate in this study was high, mortality was low. More effective identification and management of children who can be treated and released may free up scarce inpatient resources for children who warrant admission.
View details for PubMedID 29536212