Common emergency department presenting complaints of prisoners: A systematic review [2018]

Prisoners are a particularly vulnerable minority group whose healthcare needs and management differ substantially from the general population. The overall burden of disease of prisoners is well documented; however, little is known regarding the aetiology and frequency of prisoners’ acute medical complaints requiring an ED visit. Objectives of the review were to identify, review and appraise existing literature regarding prisoners’ presentations to EDs. We performed systematic electronic searches in MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, PubMed, Cochrane, and Web of Science using MeSH terms and keywords. Two reviewers abstracted data and conducted quality appraisal using the Quality Assessment Tool for Observational Cohort and Cross‐Sectional Studies. Nine articles met the predefined inclusion criteria. Apart from two European studies in the past 5 years, there is a scarcity of literature primarily addressing the common presenting complaints to EDs by prisoners. Existing studies demonstrated that prisoners have a disproportionately high burden of traumatic, infectious and psychiatric disease requiring emergency treatment. With the increasing number of emergency presentations made by prisoners each year, it is vital that further research is undertaken to identify trends of these acute medical complaints in order to ensure optimal therapeutic outcomes for prisoners.

Nadav Harel Jeremy T Moskovitch Tracey J Weiland Michael R Augello

Emergency Medicine Australasia, 17 August 2018