Characteristics and resource utilization of patients presenting to the ED from mass gathering events

Am J Emerg Med. 2018 Jun;36(6):983-987. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2017.11.006. Epub 2017 Nov 6.


Introduction: At many mass gathering events (MGEs), emergency medical services decrease the number of patient transfers to the hospital; however, little information is known regarding the characteristics of attendees presenting to or requiring transfer to the emergency department (ED). The purpose of this study is to describe the characteristics of patients presenting from MGEs to the ED. A secondary aim of this study is to describe ED resources utilized by these patients.

Methods: This was a single-center, retrospective review evaluating patients attending MGEs who presented to the ED. Electronic medical records of patients seen in the ED of a tertiary academic medical center between October 13, 2013 and December 31, 2015 were reviewed and a descriptive analysis performed.

Results: We reviewed and included 209 patients. The majority of patients presenting to the ED were from large outdoor concerts (n=186, 89%), young (median age 20years), single (n=156, 87%) and had no past medical history (n=114, 63%). Alcohol use was reported in a majority (n=140, 78%) and polysubstance use in over a quarter of patients (n=55, 31%). The most frequently administered medications were intravenous fluids (n=94, 52%) and antiemetics (n=59, 33%). The majority of patients (n=161, 89%) were discharged directly from the ED, and median length of stay in the ED was 3.3h [IQR 2.3 to 5.3].

Conclusion: Patients presenting to the ED from MGEs generally required minimal medical care beyond supportive management with low rates of hospital admission. Further controlled studies are needed to confirm these findings.

Keywords: Emergency department; Emergency preparedness; Event medical care; Mass gathering; Resource utilization; Special event.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Emergency Medical Services / organization & administration*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Resources / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Illinois
  • Male
  • Mass Casualty Incidents / statistics & numerical data*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Transportation of Patients / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult