Patient referrals from Greenland to Rigshospitalet in Denmark

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

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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
ISSN2245-1919
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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