Background The number of patients calling for an ambulance increases. A considerable number of patients receive a non-specific diagnosis at discharge from the hospital, and this could imply less serious acute conditions, but the mortality has only scarcely been studied. The aim of this study was to examine the most frequent sub-diagnoses among patients with hospital non-specific diagnoses after calling 112 and their subsequent mortality.
Methods A historical cohort study of patients brought to the hospital by ambulance after calling 112 in 2007-2014 and diagnosed with a non-specific diagnosis, chapter R or Z, in the International Classification of Diseases, 10 th edition (ICD-10). 1-day and 30-day mortality was analyzed by survival analyses and compared by the log-rank test.
Results We included 74,847 ambulance runs in 53,937 unique individuals. The most frequent diagnoses were ‘unspecified disease’ (Z039), constituting 47.0 % (n 35,279). In children 0-9 years old, ‘febrile convulsions’ was the most frequent non-specific diagnosis used in 54.3 % (n 1,602). Overall, 1- and 30-day mortality was 2.2 % (n 1,205) and 6.0 % (n 3,258). The highest mortality was in the diagnostic group ‘suspected cardiovascular disease’ (Z035) and ‘unspecified disease’ (Z039) with 1-day mortality 2.6 % (n 43) and 2.4 % (n 589), and 30 day mortality of 6.32 % (n 104) and 8.1 % (n 1,975).
Conclusion Among patients calling an ambulance and discharged with non-specific diagnoses the 1- and 30-day mortality, despite modest mortality percentages lead to a high number of deaths.