Morbidity and mortality of hospitalized patients after the 1995 Hanshin-Awaji earthquake

Am J Emerg Med. 1999 Mar;17(2):186-91. doi: 10.1016/s0735-6757(99)90059-1.


The objective of this study was to provide an overview of the morbidity and mortality of hospitalized patients during the Hanshin-Awaji earthquake. Medical records of 6,107 patients admitted to 95 hospitals (48 affected hospitals within the disaster area and 47 back-up hospitals in the surrounding area) during the initial 15 days after the earthquake were analyzed retrospectively. Patient census data, diagnoses, dispositions, and prognoses were considered. A total of 2,718 patients with earthquake-related injuries were admitted to the 95 hospitals included in our survey, including 372 patients with crush syndrome and 2,346 with other injuries. There were 3,389 patients admitted with illnesses. Seventy-five percent of the injured were hospitalized during the first 3 days. In contrast, the number of patients with illnesses continued to increase over the entire 15-day period after the earthquake. The mortality rates were 13.4% (50/372), 5.5% (128/2,346), and 10.3% (349/3,389) associated with crush syndrome, other injuries, and illness, respectively. The overall mortality rate was 8.6% (527/6,107 patients). Morbidity as well as mortality rates increased with age in patients with both injuries and illnesses. In the initial 15-day period, there was an unprecedented number of patients suffering from trauma, and they converged upon the affected hospitals. Subsequently an increased incidence of illness was observed. This survey underscores the need for adequate disaster response in such an urban situation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cause of Death*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Crush Syndrome / mortality
  • Disasters / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Hospital Mortality*
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Trauma / mortality*
  • Risk Factors