After Hospitalization, Men More Likely to Show Up in ER

THURSDAY April 19, 2012 -- Men are much more likely than women to require urgent hospital care within a month of being discharged from the hospital, a new study finds.

Researchers followed 367 men and 370 women for 30 days after they were discharged from the Boston Medical Center to determine if gender played a role in the need for follow-up urgent care, including readmission to the hospital.

The study was published April 18 in the online journal BMJ Open.

Men in the study were an average of about four years younger than the women, and tended to have better-paying jobs and more access to private health insurance. Women were more likely than men to have a family doctor and to have been diagnosed with depression at some time in the past, with twice as many women taking antidepressants.

The study found that the return rate for urgent care within 30 days of discharge was 29 percent for women and 47 percent for men. Men were twice as likely to go to the emergency room, according to a journal news release.

Many key factors predicted men's return to hospital. They were 72 percent more likely to return if they were unmarried or retired, 64 percent more likely if they had not seen their family doctor since their discharge and 53 percent more likely if they were depressed.

"Our findings raise the possibility that social isolation -- as illustrated by the positive association with being retired or unmarried, and [having] symptoms of depression -- may be important factors to target for intervention," wrote Dr. Suzanne Mitchell, of the department of family medicine at the Boston University School of Medicine, and colleagues, in the release.

The researchers noted that previous studies found that men's social isolation tends to contribute to poorer health results for them, and that women are better at using health services.

More information

The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has more about men's health.

Posted: April 2012


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