Objectives and methods: The aim of the present retrospective, cross-sectional, descriptive study was to determine the characteristics of febrile 3- to 36-month-old children who were admitted to the emergency department (ED) with the chief complaint of fever and returned with the same complaint within 72 hours (returning group), compared with age-matched children who did not return to the ED (nonreturning group). Demographics and predischarge evaluation extent were focused on.
Results: Compared with the nonreturning group (n = 305), the returning group (n = 92) demonstrated higher mean temperature at home (P = 0.008), longer fever duration (P < 0.0001), and greater pain frequency (P = 0.03). Demographics and predischarge evaluation extent were similar in both groups. Within the returning group, fever duration was longer at the time of the second visit (P = 0.004).
Conclusions: Higher fever causes higher rate of return visits. Among the investigated groups, pain was the sole differentiating symptom. Further studies should identify patterns that diminish children's ED readmission.