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Using Syndromic Surveillance to Quantify ED Visits for Coagulopathy Cases


In March 2018, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) was informed of a cluster of coagulopathy cases linked to SC use. By June 30, 2018, 172 cases were reported, including five deaths, where 74% were male and the mean age was 35.3 years (range: 18–65 years). All cases presented to an emergency department (ED) at least once for this illness. Ninety-four cases provided clinical specimens and all tested positive for brodifacoum, a long-acting anticoagulant used in rodenticide. Cases were reported to the health department by the Illinois Poison Control Center and direct reporting from hospitals. REDCap was the primary database for tracking cases and collecting demographic information, risk factor data and healthcare facility utilization, including number of ED visits. Syndromic surveillance was utilized to monitor ED visits related to the cluster, assist with case finding and provide situational awareness of the burden on the EDs and geographic spread. In this study, we retrospectively used syndromic surveillance along with the data in REDCap to quantify the number of ED visits per coagulopathy case, understand the reasons for repeat visits, and determine whether visits were captured in syndromic surveillance.

Objective: To determine whether emergency department (ED) visits were captured in syndromic surveillance for coagulopathy cases associated with an outbreak linked to synthetic cannabinoid (SC) use and to quantify the number of ED visits and reasons for repeat visits.

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