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Normal-range emergency department serum phosphorus levels and all-cause mortality


Purpose of the study Hypophosphataemia and hyperphosphataemia are frequently encountered in hospitalised patients and are associated with significant clinical consequences. However, the prognostic value of normal-range phosphorus levels on all-cause mortality and hospitalisations is not well established. Therefore, we examined the association between normal-range phosphorus levels, all-cause mortality and hospitalisations in patients presenting to the emergency department of a tertiary medical centre in Israel.

Study design A retrospective analysis of patients presenting to the Chaim Sheba Medical Center emergency department between 2012 and 2018. The cohort was divided into quartiles based on emergency department phosphorus levels: ‘very-low-normal’ (p ≥ 2 mg/dL and p ≤ 2.49 mg/dL), ‘low-normal’ (p ≥ 2.5 mg/dL and p ≤ 2.99 mg/dL), ‘high-normal’ (p≥  3 mg/dL and p≤3.49 mg/dL) and ‘very-high-normal’ (p ≥  3.5 mg/dL and p ≤ 4 mg/dL). We analysed the association between emergency department phosphorus levels, hospitalisation rate and 30-day and 90-day all-cause mortality.

Results Our final analysis included 223 854 patients with normal-range phosphorus levels. Patients with ‘very-low-normal’ phosphorus levels had the highest mortality rate. Compared with patients with ‘high-normal’ phosphorus levels, patients with ‘very-low-normal’ levels had increased 30-day all-cause mortality (OR 1.3, 95% CI 1.1 to 1.4, p<0.001), and increased 90-day all-cause mortality (OR 1.2, 95% CI 1.1 to 1.3, p<0.001). Lower serum phosphorus levels were also associated with a higher hospitalisation rate, both for the internal medicine and general surgery wards (p<0.001).

Conclusions Lower phosphorus levels, within the normal range, are associated with higher 30-day and 90-day all-cause mortality and hospitalisation rate.

  • adult intensive & critical care
  • diabetes & endocrinology
  • nephrology
  • general medicine (see internal medicine)
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