Adult asylum seekers from the middle east including syria in central europe: What are their health care problems?

Pfortmüller, Carmen; Schwetlick, Miriam; Müller, Thomas; Lehmann, Beat; Exadaktylos, Aristomenis (2016). Adult asylum seekers from the middle east including syria in central europe: What are their health care problems? PLoS ONE, 11(2), e0148196. Public Library of Science 10.1371/journal.pone.0148196

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Background Forced displacement related to persecution and violent conflict has reached a new peak in recent years. The primary aim of this study is to provide an initial overview of the acute and chronic health care problems of asylum seekers from the Middle East, with special emphasis on asylum seekers from Syria. Methods Our retrospective data analysis comprised adult patients presenting to our emergency department between 01.11.2011 and 30.06.2014 with the official resident status of an “asylum seeker” or “refugee” from the Middle East. Results In total, 880 patients were included in the study. Of these, 625 (71.0%) were male and 255 (29.0%) female. The median age was 34 (range 16–84). 222 (25.2%) of our patients were from Syria. The most common reason for presentation was surgical (381, 43.3%), followed by medical (321, 36.5%) and psychiatric (137, 15.6%). In patients with surgical presentations, trauma-related problems were most common (n = 196, 50.6%). Within the group of patients with medical presentation, acute infectious diseases were most common (n = 141, 43.9%), followed by neurological problems (n = 70, 21.8%) and gastrointestinal problems (n = 47, 14.6%). There were no differences between Syrian and non-Syrian refugees concerning surgical or medical admissions. The most common chronic disorder of unclear significance was chronic gastrointestinal problems (n = 132, 15%), followed by chronic musculoskeletal problems (n = 108, 12.3%) and chronic headaches (n = 78, 8.9%). Patients from Syria were significantly younger and more often suffered from a post-traumatic stress disorder than patients of other nationalities (p<0.0001, and p = 0.05, respectively). Conclusion Overall a remarkable number of our very young group of patients suffered from psychiatric disorders and unspecified somatic symptoms. Asylum seekers should be carefully evaluated when presenting to a medical facility and physicians should be aware of the high incidence of unspecified somatic symptoms in this patient population.In general, there is no major difference between asylum seekers from Syria when compared to other nationalities of asylum seekers from the Middle East.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

04 Faculty of Medicine > University Psychiatric Services > University Hospital of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy > Translational Research Center
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Intensive Care, Emergency Medicine and Anaesthesiology (DINA) > University Emergency Center
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of General Internal Medicine (DAIM) > Clinic of General Internal Medicine

UniBE Contributor:

Pfortmüller, Carmen; Müller, Thomas; Lehmann, Beat and Exadaktylos, Aristomenis

Subjects:

600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health

ISSN:

1932-6203

Publisher:

Public Library of Science

Language:

English

Submitter:

Thomas Müller

Date Deposited:

22 Mar 2016 10:03

Last Modified:

04 Jan 2017 10:23

Publisher DOI:

10.1371/journal.pone.0148196

PubMed ID:

26863216

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.78549

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/78549

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