Patient referrals from Greenland to Rigshospitalet in Denmark

Johan Skov Bundgaard*, Uka W Geisler, Marit E Jørgensen, Gert Mulvad, Amalie Simone Pedersen, Julie Danneberg Voss, Anders Koch, Michael Lynge Petersen, Henning Bundgaard

*Corresponding author for this work

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Patients from Greenland are transferred overseas for highly specialised treatment, mainly to the National University Hospital, Rigshospitalet, Denmark. We aimed to investigate the pattern of transfers from Greenland to Denmark, focusing on cardiology.

METHODS: This descriptive quality assurance study included all Greenlandic citizens receiving healthcare services at Rigshospitalet from 2017-2021. Unique patients and disease courses were accounted for and patients were stratified across specialties.

RESULTS: A total of 3,201 unique patients (56% males, mean age 51.0 years, 325 were 18 years or younger) from Greenland received healthcare services at Rigshospitalet. As some patients were seen two or more times, this corresponds to almost 900 patients (approximately 1,500 disease courses) or 1.2% of the entire Greenlandic population being referred annually. The referrals increased by 52% during the period. The Centre of Head and Orthopaedics received most referrals, followed by the Heart Centre. A modest increase in referrals due to heart diseases was observed with ischaemic heart disease being the more prevalent diagnosis. Coronary artery revascularisation rates in Greenlandic citizens aged 55-74 years were at least as high as in the same age-group for all Danes.

CONCLUSION: During the past five years, a 52% increase has been observed in the referral rate from Greenland to Rigshospitalet for diagnostics and treatment. In cardiology, ischaemic heart disease represented the largest share with a high revascularisation rate being observed in older Greenlandic citizens.

FUNDING: None.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: Not relevant.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA10220585
JournalDanish Medical Journal
Volume70
Issue number9
ISSN1603-9629
Publication statusPublished - 9 Aug 2023

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