Causes of hospitalization of pilgrims in the Hajj season of the Islamic year 1423 (2003)

Ann Saudi Med. 2006 Sep-Oct;26(5):346-51. doi: 10.5144/0256-4947.2006.346.


Background: Approximately 2 to 3 million pilgrims perform Hajj every year. Planning for health care requires knowledge of the pattern of diseases, complications, and outcome of pilgrims who require hospitalization during the Hajj period.

Methods: In a cross-sectional study we compiled data on all patients admitted to 1487 beds in four hospitals in Mena (793 beds) and three hospitals in Arafat (694 beds) from the seventh to the thirteenth day of the Hajj season of the Islamic year 1423, corresponding to 8 to 14 February 2003.

Results: Of 808 patients hospitalized, most (79%) were older than 40 years. There was no sex preponderance. A total of 575 (71.2%) patients were admitted to medical wards, 105 (13.0%) to surgical wards, and 76 (9.4%) to intensive care units. Most patients (84.8%) had one acute medical problem. Pneumonia (19.7%), ischemic heart disease (12.3%), and trauma (9.4%) were the most common admitting diagnoses. More than one third (39%) had co-morbid conditions. A total of 644 (79.7%) patients were discharged from the hospital in stable condition to continue therapy in their residential camps, 140 (17.3%) were transferred to other hospitals in Makkah for specialized services or further care, 19 (2.3%) were discharged against medical advice, and 5 (0.7%) patients died.

Conclusion: This study provided information on the most common causes of hospitalization, pattern of diseases, and required medical services for pilgrims in Hajj. It is hoped that this data will be of help to health sector planners and officials to provide optimal and cost-effective health care services to pilgrims in Hajj.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Hospital Units / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Islam*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Ischemia / epidemiology
  • Patient Admission / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Discharge / statistics & numerical data
  • Patient Transfer / statistics & numerical data
  • Pneumonia / epidemiology
  • Saudi Arabia / ethnology
  • Seasons*
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative / statistics & numerical data
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Refusal
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology