Pediatric and Adolescent Obstetric and Gynecologic Encounters in US Emergency Departments: A Cross-Sectional Study

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Annals of emergency medicine




STUDY OBJECTIVE: To describe pediatric and adolescent obstetric and gynecologic diagnoses presenting at emergency departments (EDs) in the United States. METHODS: This was a retrospective, cross-sectional study design that utilized the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample (NEDS), which comprised hospital-owned EDs throughout the United States in 2018. The participants included a sample set of female patients from birth to 18 years old. All obstetric and gynecologic (OB/GYN) International Classification of Disease (ICD-10) codes were categorized. Descriptive, bivariate, and multivariate analyses were used to assess diagnoses by age group, hospital type, ED disposition (eg, admission and transfer), payer, and median household income. RESULTS: In 2018, there were 518,244 OB/GYN ED visits by female patients aged less than or equal to 18 years. Vulvovaginal disorders and abnormal uterine bleeding were among the top 5 presentations in all age groups. The top diagnoses varied by age group. Diagnoses with higher morbidity and mortality (ovarian torsion and ectopic pregnancy) had higher admission and transfer rates compared with diagnoses that can be commonly managed in the outpatient setting (vulvar or vaginal disorders). CONCLUSIONS: This is the first study that evaluated OB/GYN diagnoses in pediatric and adolescent patients presenting to the ED. Educational and referral efforts should focus on not only emergency diagnoses, such as ovarian torsion, adnexal masses, and ectopic pregnancy, but also common presentations that can often be managed in the outpatient setting, such as vulvovaginal disorders and abnormal uterine bleeding.


Emergency Medicine