Objective: To study the patients who make unscheduled return vi-sits in less than week to a pediatric emergency department (ED).
Patients and method: Retrospective review of 495 episodes in 233 children who were attended at our ED in November 1999.
Results: In November 1999, we registered 3667 episodes at our ED (495 corresponding to 233 children who made repeat visits, 13.4%). The most common chief complaints among children who revisited were fever and respiratory symptoms. The most common diagnoses were fever with-out apparent source, ORL infections, asthma and acute gastro-enteritis. The diagnoses made at the initial and fi-nal visits were the same in 131 cases (56.2%), a complication was detected in 18 (7.7%) and 84 (36.1%) were given a different diagnosis. The percentage of patients who received a symptomatic diagnosis was lower in the final visit. The admission rate of children who revisited was higher than that of children who visited our ED once (6.4% vs. 3.0%, p = 0.009), caused by the group of patients who received a different diagnosis when they revisited our ED.
Conclusions: Patients who revisit a pediatric ED within a week are more likely to be admitted to the hospital, especially if the diagnosis they receive varies.