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A survey of emergency department use in patients with cyclic vomiting syndrome.

BMC Emergency Medicine 2010 Februrary 25
BACKGROUND: Cyclic vomiting syndrome (CVS), a chronic disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of vomiting, is frequently unrecognized and is associated with high utilization of emergency department (ED) services.

METHODS: A web-based survey was posted on the Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome Association (CVSA) website to assess utilization of ED services in patients with CVS.

RESULTS: Of 251 respondents, 104 (41.4%) were adult CVS patients and 147 (58.6%) were caregivers of pediatric and adult patients. In the adult group, the median number of ED visits for CVS symptoms was 15(range 1 - 200), with a median of 7 ED visits prior to a diagnosis of CVS (range 0 - 150). In the caregiver group, the median number of ED visits was 10 (range 1 - 175) and the median number of ED visits prior to a diagnosis of CVS was 5 (range 0 - 65). CVS was not diagnosed in the ED in 89/104 (93%) adults and 119/147 (93%) patients in the caregiver group. CVS was not recognized in the ED in 84/95 (88%) of adults and 97/122 (80%) of patients in the caregiver group, despite an established diagnosis of CVS.

CONCLUSION: There is a sub-group of adult and pediatric CVS patients who are high utilizers of ED services and CVS is not recognized in the ED in the majority of patients. Improved efforts to educate ED physicians are indicated to optimize treatment of patients with CVS and to decrease potential overuse of ED services.

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