Objectives: The aims of this cross-sectional study were to describe the incidence of haemorrhages and adverse drug events related to different classes of drugs as cause of emergency department admission. Methods: Adult patients (≥ 18 years) visiting two emergency departments of the University Hospital in Verona (Italy) over a twelve-month period in 2015-2016 were included. The study takes into consideration non-traumatic haemorrhages defined through an International Classification of Diseases, Clinical Modification (ICD-9 CM) diagnosis code and classified into five groups (cerebral haemorrhage, gastrointestinal bleeding, epistaxis, haematuria and other haemorrhages). Demographic data, clinical data and outcome of hospitalization were extrapolated from computerized medical records. Drugs were grouped into six categories and linked to the prescription data of the Verona population during the study period. Results: Overall, 117,019 admissions to emergency departments related to 101,053 patients occurred. According to selection criteria, 1,614 admissions for bleeding, which concerned 1,391 patients (1.4% of the total patients, 59.6% male, 45.7% ≥ 75 years old) were analysed. Out of 1,391 patients, 873 had taken at least one drug (62.8%). Patients were admitted more frequently for epistaxis and gastrointestinal bleeding (27.5% and 23.9%, respectively), and the most reported drugs were antiplatelet (38.8% and 37.7%, respectively) followed by anticoagulants (23.5%), heparins (8.4%), corticosteroids (6.2%), SSRI (5.6%) and NSAIDs (3.0%). About 37% of the visiting patients were subsequently hospitalized, and death was the outcome in 4.2% of cases. Conclusion: In emergency department about 1.4% of admitted patients had an haemorrhage, of these 37% have been hospitalized and 4.2% died during hospitalization. About one third of patients with haemorrhages did not use any drugs. The majority of hospitalized patients had gastrointestinal bleedings and cerebral haemorrhages. To the best of our knowledge, this study is new in the literature, since it takes into consideration all non-traumatic bleedings, and also all drugs known to be associated with haemorrhagic events mentioned on the clinical records.
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