Follow-up Program for Emergency Department Patients with Gonorrhea or Chlamydia


Department of Emergency Medicine, Albert Einstein Medical Center, 5501 Old York Road, Philadelphia, PA 19141. Fax: 215-456-8502; e-mail:


Abstract. Objectives: To study the performance of a centralized regional follow-up program organized by a municipal department of health (DH) for female patients presenting to the emergency department (ED) with Neisseria gonorrhoeae and/or Chlamydia trachomatis, who are not diagnosed or treated at the time of presentation. Methods: This was a retrospective observational study of female patients seen in the ED with positive cervical specimens, and their subsequent treatment and follow-up by the DH. Medical records were reviewed to determine the female patients seen in the ED who had positive specimens for N. gonorrhoeae or C. trachomatis. The DH followed up those not treated in the ED. Analysis of how long it took for these patients to be treated and the proportion lost to follow-up was performed. Results: Of 2,121 specimens, 342 were positive for N. gonorrhoeae or C. trachomatis. Of the 342, 154 (45%) were recognized and appropriately treated in the ED. One hundred fifty-nine of the 342 (46.5%) patients were discharged from the ED without treatment but were contacted by the DH and appropriate treatment was provided. The DH could not locate 23 (6.7%) patients, and four (1.2%) refused treatment. One died before treatment. Only 21 of the 159 were treated within nine days. Median time to treatment was 36 days. Conclusions: Centralized laboratory analysis and follow-up by the DH for N. gonorrhoeae and C. trachomatis identified many female patients undiagnosed and untreated in the ED. The DH follow-up program provided appropriate treatment to most female patients.