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National rates of emergency department visits associated with diabetes in Saudi Arabia, 2011-2015

Ziyad Saeed Almalki,a Ahmed Abdulrahman Albassam,a Mohammed Ali Alnakhli,a Mohammed Faisal Alnusyan,a Fahad Naif Alanazi,a Maaly Salem Alqurashib 

From the aDepartment of Clinical Pharmacy, College of Pharmacy, Prince Sattam bin Abdulaziz University, Al Kharj, Saudi Arabia; bDepartment of Pharmacy, Ibn Sina National College for Medical Studies, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

How to cite this article:

Almalki Z, Albassam A, Alnakhli MA, Alnusyan MF, Alanazi FN, Alqurashi S. National rates of emergency department visits associated with diabetes in Saudi Arabia, 2011-2015. Ann Saudi Med 2019; 39(2): 71-76.




BACKGROUND: Despite the fact that diabetes is an important component of the burden of disease on the individual and on the national healthcare systems in Saudi Arabia, knowledge of the volume of emergency department (ED) visits for diabetes is unclear.


OBJECTIVE: Examine changes in ED visit rates associated with diabetes. 


DESIGN: Retrospective.


SETTINGS: Governmental hospitals.


METHODS: Publicly available records of health statistics published by the Saudi Ministry of Health from 2011 through 2015 were used to extract data on ED visits related to diabetes. ED visits associated with diabetes were compared over time and by gender. We calculated diabetes-specific rates per 10000 persons for each sex category by dividing the total number of diabetes-associated ED visits in that category by the sex-specific population. We calculated the rate difference (RD) with 95% CI between 2011 and 2015.


MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Diabetes-specific rates per 10000 persons for each sex category.


RESULTS: Total annual visits to the ED for management of diabetes increased from 617683 cases in 2011 to 748605 in 2015. The annual number of ED visits associated with diabetes increased by 21% over the study period (20% for males and 23% for females). Compared to males, females had a larger increase in visit rates from 240.5 to 249.8 visits per 10000 women over the study years (RD, 9.6 per 10000 persons, 95% CI -16.4 to 26.6 versus 5.7 per 10 000 persons, 95% CI-13.6 to 18.3 ; P=.01).


CONCLUSION: Although diabetes-associated ED visit rates dramatically increased in 2012, they remained relatively stable after 2012 to the end of the study period. More effective preventive diabetes programs that prevent the use of ED visits and other expensive healthcare resources among people with diabetes are needed.


LIMITATIONS: We had no information on the specific indications for the reported ED visits. These estimates may represent a lower bound on ED visits associated with diabetes since the private sector was not included.





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