Pneumonia sent 135,000 Canadians to ER in 2017-2018, way up from year before: report

TORONTO — A new report says that for the first time in at least five years, pneumonia was among the top-10 reported reasons that Canadians went to the emergency department last year.

The report by the Canadian Institute for Health Information found there were almost 135,000 pneumonia-related ED visits reported across the country in 2017—2018 — a 13 per cent jump from the previous year.

More than one in four emergency department visits for pneumonia resulted in the patient being admitted to the hospital for at least one night.

The report found that abdominal and pelvic pain, throat and chest pain, and acute upper respiratory infection were the top-three reasons Canadians sought emergency care, resulting in about one million visits.

Pneumonia is a concern both in emergency departments and throughout hospitals, as the lung infection is among the top causes of in-hospital deaths in Canada.

The report says older adults made up about 65 per cent of pneumonia-related admissions last year. Some people develop pneumonia as a result of a respiratory illness like influenza.

“Pneumonia is a serious illness and continues to be a concern in our emergency departments,” said Greg Webster, CIHI’s director of acute and ambulatory care information services.

“As we approach the colder months, this new data is a timely reminder to all Canadians to take action to prevent pneumonia. Practising good hygiene, getting vaccinated and following advice from our public health units are good tips this time of year.”

CIHI’s data also showed that emergency department visits climbed to more than 11.4 million in 2017—2018 from 11.2 million in 2016—2017.

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