Supplementary Material for: Emergency Consultations in Dermatology in a Secondary Referral Hospital in Southern Switzerland: A Prospective Cross-Sectional Analysis

Background/Aims: The spectrum of dermatological emergencies is broad. Only a few studies have assessed the profile of dermatological conditions resulting in an emergency visit in a referral hospital. We sought to assess the conditions prompting an urgent dermatological visit and to compare the diagnoses with those made during the regular scheduled encounters. Methods: We performed a cross-sectional study of all patients with a cutaneous problem attending our emergency consultation during a 7-month period. The study variables were gender, age, duration of symptoms, diagnosis, need for hospitalization and/or follow-up. We further evaluated patients attending scheduled visits to compare the demographic characteristics and diagnoses between the two groups. Results: Six hundred fifty-two consecutive patients with an urgent dermatological consultation were included. Three hundred sixty (55.2%) were women and 292 (44.8%) were men. Infectious diseases (32.8%) as well as various forms of eczema (24.8%) constituted the most frequent causes for an emergency visit. Approximately 40% of emergency visits took place more than 1 week after the development of the cutaneous manifestations. The most frequent disorders seen in the 1,738 control patients included benign melanocytic and nonmelanocytic tumors (27.2%) and malignant skin lesions (11.5%). Conclusions: Our study indicates that the dermatological diagnoses in the emergency visits significantly differ from those of the routinely scheduled appointments. In a significant portion of patients, the use of an emergency consultation was not justified. This study provides support to the idea that a specific training is required to manage dermatological emergencies and that efforts should be made to reduce unjustified emergency visit use.