Study design: Retrospective analysis of new patient visits.
Explore This IssueJanuary 2013
Setting: Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Emory Voice Center, Emory University School of Medicine; ENT Associates of Georgia, Atlanta.
Synopsis: For the period of 2004 through 2010, the authors reviewed 131,070 consecutive new patient visits at a large private practice otolaryngology group. The pediatric population comprised 14.3 percent of visits, patients aged 18 to 45 years comprised 29.9 percent, those aged 45 to 65 comprised 40.9 percent, and those aged 66 and older comprised 14.9 percent. As patient age increased, otologic diagnoses became more common, while rhinologic and head and neck diagnoses decreased. The No. 1 diagnosis for patients aged 45 to 65, as well as for those 66 and older, was hearing loss. Geriatric patients showed a statistically significant increase, from 14.3 percent in 2004 to 17.9 percent in 2010. Extrapolating these six-year trends out to the year 2030 results in an estimate of 29.8 percent of ENT patients older than age 65 at that time.
The authors noted that the increased proportion of geriatric patients has implications for the type and frequency of disease that general otolaryngologists see in their practice. This should be taken into account in shaping both resident training and otolaryngology board licensing and recertification exams.
Bottom line: The changing population is causing the frequency and type of disease seen by general otolaryngologists to change.
Reference: Creighton FX II, Poliashenko SM, Statham MM, Abramson P, Johns MM III. The growing geriatric otolaryngology patient population: a study of 131,700 new patient encounters. Laryngoscope. 2013;123:97-102.
—Reviewed by Sue Pondrom