Pattern of admission to hospitals during muslim pilgrimage (Hajj)

Saudi Med J. 2003 Oct;24(10):1073-6.


Objective: The pattern of medical conditions necessitating admission differs according to the weather condition in that particular year. Previous studies had been conducted during the hot weather, none over the last 10 years, were carried out during, the milder weather we are experiencing. The aim of this study is to establish the pattern of admission during this mild weather and to elucidate the possible risk factors.

Methods: A prospective study was performed in 4 hospitals in 2 different locations in Al-Mashaer, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Data were collected during one working shift in 2 hospitals in Arafat on the 9th of Dhul Hijjah 1422, corresponding to 21st of February 2002, and another working shift in 2 hospitals in Mina on the 10th of Dhul Hijjah 1422, corresponding to 22nd of February 2002.

Results: A cohort of 76 patients from Arafat hospitals and 84 patients from Mina hospitals were included (total 160 patients). Males constituted 62% and females 38% with the median age of 60 +/- 15 years. The respiratory system was the most commonly affected (57%), followed by cardiovascular system (19.4%), and gastrointestinal tract (GIT) in 6.3% of cases. There were only 3 cases of heat-related admissions with only one confirmed case of heat stroke. Similarly, only one case of meningitis was confirmed in this cohort. Pneumonia was encountered in 63 cases (39.4%) and exacerbation of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD) in 23 cases (14.4%). Pre-existing co-morbid medical conditions had included bronchial asthma and COPD (22.5%), hypertension (17.5%), and Diabetes mellitus (15%). Short-term follow up (24-48 hours) identified 2 deaths (1.3%), 94 patients (59%) were transferred to other secondary or tertiary care facilities and 64 (40%) were discharged home.

Conclusion: Hospital admission during Hajj is related to old age and occurs in patients with associated co-morbid conditions. During this mild weather lower respiratory tract infections and exacerbation of bronchial asthma and COPD are the most commonly encountered diseases during Hajj.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Islam*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Admission / statistics & numerical data*
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Seasons
  • Travel*
  • Weather