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Open AccessArticle

The Value of Local Heatwave Impact Assessment: A Case-Crossover Analysis of Hospital Emergency Department Presentations in Tasmania, Australia

1
Menzies Institute for Medical Research, University of Tasmania, 1 Liverpool St, Hobart, Tasmania 7000, Australia
2
Public Health Services, Department of Health (Tasmania), 25 Argyle St, Hobart, Tasmania 7000, Australia
3
Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre, University of Tasmania, 20 Castray Esplanade, Hobart, Tasmania 7000, Australia
4
School of Natural Sciences, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia
5
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Strathclyde, James Weir Building, 75 Montrose Street, Glasgow G1 1XJ, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(19), 3715; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16193715
Received: 23 August 2019 / Revised: 30 September 2019 / Accepted: 30 September 2019 / Published: 2 October 2019
Heatwaves have been identified as a threat to human health, with this impact projected to rise in a warming climate. Gaps in local knowledge can potentially undermine appropriate policy and preparedness actions. Using a case-crossover methodology, we examined the impact of heatwave events on hospital emergency department (ED) presentations in the two most populous regions of Tasmania, Australia, from 2008–2016. Using conditional logistic regression, we analyzed the relationship between ED presentations and severe/extreme heatwaves for the whole population, specific demographics including age, gender and socio-economic advantage, and diagnostic conditions that are known to be impacted in high temperatures. ED presentations increased by 5% (OR 1.05, 95% CI 1.01–1.09) across the whole population, by 13% (OR 1.13, 95% CI 1.03–1.24) for children 15 years and under, and by 19% (OR 1.19, 95% CI 1.04–1.36) for children 5 years and under. A less precise association in the same direction was found for those over 65 years. For diagnostic subgroups, non-significant increases in ED presentations were observed for asthma, diabetes, hypertension, and atrial fibrillation. These findings may assist ED surge capacity planning and public health preparedness and response activities for heatwave events in Tasmania, highlighting the importance of using local research to inform local practice. View Full-Text
Keywords: heatwave; extreme heat; morbidity; health effects; emergency presentation; case-crossover heatwave; extreme heat; morbidity; health effects; emergency presentation; case-crossover
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Campbell, S.L.; Remenyi, T.A.; Williamson, G.J.; White, C.J.; Johnston, F.H. The Value of Local Heatwave Impact Assessment: A Case-Crossover Analysis of Hospital Emergency Department Presentations in Tasmania, Australia. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 3715.

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