Infectious diseases, comorbidities and outcomes in hospitalized people who inject drugs (PWID) infections in persons who inject drugs Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Injection drug use poses a public health challenge. Clinical experience indicates that people who inject drugs (PWID) are hospitalized frequently for infectious diseases, but little is known about outcomes when admitted. Charts were identified from local hospitals between 2013–2018 using consultation lists and hospital record searches. Included individuals injected drugs in the past six months and presented with infection. Charts were accessed using the hospital information system, undergoing primary and secondary reviews using Research Electronic Data Capture (REDCap). The Wilcoxon rank-sum test was used for comparisons between outcome categories. Categorical data were summarized as count and frequency, and compared using Fisher’s exact test. Of 240 individuals, 33% were admitted to the intensive care unit, 36% underwent surgery, 12% left against medical advice (AMA), and 9% died. Infectious diagnoses included bacteremia (31%), abscess (29%), endocarditis (29%), cellulitis (20%), sepsis (10%), osteomyelitis (9%), septic arthritis (8%), pneumonia (7%), discitis (2%), meningitis/encephalitis (2%), or other (7%). Sixty-six percent had stable housing and 60% had a family physician. Fifty-four percent of patient-initiated discharges were seen in the emergency department within 30 days and 29% were readmitted. PWID are at risk for infections. Understanding their healthcare trajectory is essential to improve their care.

publication date

  • January 2022