Author(s): Barranco RJ, , GomezPeralta F, Abreu C, Delgado M,
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Abstract AIMS: Hypoglycaemia is a serious medical emergency. The need for emergency medical service care and the costs of hypoglycaemic emergencies are not completely known. METHODS: This was a retrospective observational study using Public Company for Health Emergencies (EPES) data for hypoglycaemia in 2012. The EPES provides emergency medical services to the entire population of Andalusia, Spain (8.5 million people). Data on event type, onsite treatments, emergency room visits or hospitalization were collected. Medical costs were estimated using the public rates for healthcare services. RESULTS: From a total of 1 137 738 emergency calls that requested medical assistance, 8683 had a primary diagnosis of hypoglycaemia (10.34 per 10 000 person-years). The incidence of severe hypoglycaemic episodes requiring emergency treatment in the estimated population with diabetes was 810 episodes per 10 000 person-years. A total of 7479 episodes (86\%) required an emergency team to visit the patient's residence. The majority of cases (64\%) were addressed in the residence, although 1784 (21\%) cases were transferred to hospital. A total of 5564 events (65\%) involved patients aged > 65 years. Overall mortality was 0.32\% (28 cases). The total annual cost of attending a hypoglycaemic episode was €6 093 507, leading to an estimated mean direct cost per episode of €702 ± 565. Episodes that required hospital treatment accounted for 49\% of the total costs. CONCLUSIONS: Hypoglycaemia is a common medical emergency that is associated with high emergency medical service utilization, resulting in a significant economic impact on the health system. © 2015 The Authors. Diabetic Medicine published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Diabetes UK.
This article was published in Diabet Med
and referenced in Journal of Diabetes & Metabolism