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Wang E, Lim BL, Than KY
Correspondence: Dr Etienne Wang, firstname.lastname@example.org
Introduction In Singapore, a significant proportion of patients receive specialist dermatological services via referrals from points of primary care, such as polyclinics and emergency departments (ED). The study hospital, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, is an acute care general hospital with a large catchment area, and has the busiest ED in Singapore. The aim of this paper was to describe the types of dermatological conditions presented at the ED in the year 2007. This information is useful for the future education of junior doctors working in the department, as well as for the allocation of future resources in the treatment of the more common conditions.
Methods The ED patient database was searched for all dermatological conditions by ICD-9 code and by keywords in the diagnosis description. The two lists were merged and duplications were eliminated. The consultation notes of the patients were reviewed in cases where the diagnosis was ambiguous. Patient demographics were then filtered and analysed.
Results A total of 4,061 patients were seen in the ED with a primary dermatological complaint, out of a total of 157,527 attendances in 2007. The commonest conditions seen were chickenpox and herpes zoster (20.8 percent). Dermatitis/eczema (11.6 percent) and urticaria (11.4 percent), nail conditions including trauma and infections (10.2 percent) and drug rashes (9.7 percent) were also common. Venereal diseases (1 percent) were uncommonly seen in the ED. Interestingly, men (65.3 percent) were seen in the ED for dermatological conditions twice as often as women (34.7 percent).
Conclusion The recognition and management of the common conditions should be core modules in the training of doctors and nurses.
Keywords: chickenpox, dermatitis, dermatological conditions, rash, skin conditions
Singapore Med J 2009; 50(9): 881-884