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Incidence and factors associated with emergency department visits for recurrent skin and soft tissue infections in patients in California, 2005–2011

Incidence and factors associated with emergency department visits for recurrent skin and soft tissue infections in patients in California, 2005–2011

The Question

CDDEP researchers and collaborators find an association between recurrent emergency department (ED) visits for skin and soft tissue infections (SSTI), sociodemographic factors and comorbidities, using California emergency department discharge data from 2005 to 2011. 

What we found

  • More than 16 percent of all ED visits for an SSTI were for a recurrent infection within six months following an initial SSTI.
  • Patients with a history of alcohol abuse, drug abuse, or liver disease were 35 percent more likely to have a recurrent SSTI visit than those without these conditions. Obese patients were 30 percent more likely to have a recurrent SSTI visit than non-obese patients.
  • The most significant associations among sociodemographic factors were patients’ insurance status. Medicare coverage or self-pay status were associated with slightly higher odds of a recurrent visit, while patients with Medicaid were 33 percent less likely to have a recurrent visit.
  • Patients between the ages of 18 and 44 were 36 percent more likely to have recurrent visits compared to patients under age 18. Those over 64 years were 22 percent less likely to have recurrent visits compared to patients under age 18.

Why it matters

According to CDDEP Fellow Dr. Eili Klein, “Recurring skin and soft tissue infections are relatively common, but the factors associated with their recurrence are under-researched. Identification of groups at high risk for repeat SSTIs will be necessary to develop future emergency department-based interventions.”