Dermatologists in the Emergency Department: A 6-Year Retrospective Analysis

Lilliana M. Ramírez-García, Alfredo Bou-Prieto, Diane Carrasquillo-Bonilla, Sheila Valentín-Nogueras, Luz D. Figueroa-Guzmán


Objective: There are few studies documenting dermatological consultations in the emergency setting. The aim of this study was to evaluate the nature, purpose, and diagnostic accuracy of emergency care physicians in all the dermatology consults evaluated by the Department of Dermatology of the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine. Methods: A retrospective analysis of all the consultation reports pertaining to patients evaluated at 4 emergency departments served from July 1, 2007, to June 30, 2013. The data collected from each consultation report consisted of the demographic information of the patient, the name of the consulting hospital, the initial diagnostic impression, the diagnostic impression of a dermatologist, and the procedures, if any, performed by that dermatologist. Results: A total of 429 patients were evaluated (53% men, 47% women) from July 2007 through June 2013. The most common diagnosis was infectious process (37%), followed by eczema (14%) and drug-induced skin reactions (12%). Seventeen percent (17%) of the cases for which consultations were sought were considered true dermatological emergencies. Forty-six percent of cases resulted in no diagnostic impression from the consulting physician. Of the cases that did result in diagnoses, these diagnoses were later changed by a dermatologist in 34% of the cases. Conclusion: This study suggests that the role of the dermatologist in the emergency department is very important. In addition, better education in the management of common skin disorders and the identification of true dermatological emergencies should be stressed during medical school and in residency training programs of specialties such as emergency medicine and those that offer primary care.


Consults; Emergency Medicine; Dermatolgy

Full Text:


Published by the University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus
Founded in 1982