Emergency department utilization in elderly patients: a report from the National Emergency Department Information System (NEDIS) of Korea, 2018-2022.
: With general aging of the population, emergency department (ED) utilization by elderly patients is increasing. In this study, we analyzed data on ED visits of patients aged 65 years and older in Korea. : The study is a retrospective analysis of National Emergency Department Information System (NEDIS) data from 2018-2022, focusing on patients aged 65 years and older who visited EDs across Korea. ED utilization data were analyzed using Korean Triage and Acuity Scale (KTAS) scores. The patients were divided into three age groups, and common chief complaints and diagnoses were identified. Age- and sex-standardized ED visits per 100,000 population and outcomes were also analyzed. : During the study period, there was a total of 9,803,065 elderly patient ED visits. The mean patient age was 76.4±7.6 years, and 47.6% were men. The ED mortality rate and in-hospital mortality rate were 1.8% and 4.6%, respectively. The KTAS scores 1-2 group accounted for 11.0% of patients, KTAS score 3 group for 42.5%, KTAS scores 4-5 group for 37.2%, and KTAS score unknown group for 9.4%. When patients were categorized into three age groups, the oldest group exhibited the highest rates of KTAS score 1, severe illness diagnoses, and mortality. The most frequently reported chief complaint was abdominal pain, and the most common diagnosis was light headedness. When analyzing the data by year, the COVID-19 outbreak had a discernible impact on ED visits and clinical outcomes. : Over the past 5 years, ED visits for elderly patients have averaged 26,050 per 100,000 population per year, with a temporary decline during the COVID-19 pandemic and a subsequent upward trend.