Return visits to the emergency department among febrile children 3 to 36 months of age

Pediatr Emerg Care. 2011 Dec;27(12):1126-9. doi: 10.1097/PEC.0b013e31823a3e86.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Infections / complications
  • Bacterial Infections / diagnosis
  • Bacterial Infections / epidemiology
  • British Columbia / epidemiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diagnostic Tests, Routine / statistics & numerical data
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Fever / epidemiology*
  • Fever / etiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Pain / epidemiology
  • Patient Readmission / statistics & numerical data*
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • Triage
  • Virus Diseases / complications
  • Virus Diseases / diagnosis
  • Virus Diseases / epidemiology