Physical medicine and rehabilitation conditions in the Astrodome clinic after hurricane Katrina

Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2007 Sep;86(9):762-9. doi: 10.1097/PHM.0b013e31813e61cc.


Objective: To report the physical medicine and rehabilitation (PMR) conditions seen in the Astrodome Clinic after Hurricane Katrina.

Design: Retrospective chart analysis from the county hospital-sponsored disaster-relief clinic in large urban city, including a study of 239 patients with 292 PMR conditions. The total number of patients seen in the Astrodome Medical Clinic was 11,245. The Astrodome database was reviewed for PMR condition diagnostic codes. A retrospective chart analysis was conducted, including date of visit, age, gender, ethnicity, and PMR diagnosis category. Descriptive statistics were obtained for the entire sample. chi2 or t tests were used to determine gender, age, or date-of-service predominance for the most common diagnostic categories.

Results: Mean +/- SD age was 45.7 +/- 14.3 yrs; 56% were women, 43% were men (1% unspecified), and 76% were African American. The majority (75%) of PMR conditions presented in the first week. Most frequent were swollen feet and legs (22%), leg pain and cramps (17%), headache (12%), and neck and back pain (10%). Persons with headaches were younger than those without (41.3 vs. 46.3 yrs, P = 0.048). Persons with neck and/or back pain were older than those without those conditions (51.3 vs. 44.8 yrs, P = 0.004). Women had more headaches (20.9%) than did men (6.7%, P = 0.002). There were no Caucasians with leg pain/cramps, whereas 20.2% of African Americans had this condition (P = 0.028).

Conclusions: This study documents the time of clinic presentation and most frequent types of PMR conditions of patients treated in the Astrodome Clinic after a historic hurricane. Most PMR conditions were treated by PMR personnel during the first week. Thus, future disaster planning should include PMR professionals as early responders.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Disaster Planning
  • Disasters*
  • Emergency Medical Services / organization & administration
  • Emergency Medical Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Louisiana / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / epidemiology
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / therapy
  • Nervous System Diseases / epidemiology
  • Nervous System Diseases / therapy
  • Pain / epidemiology
  • Pain Management
  • Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine* / organization & administration
  • Rehabilitation* / organization & administration
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Skin Ulcer / epidemiology
  • Skin Ulcer / therapy
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / therapy