Acute general hospital admissions in people with serious mental illness

Nishamali Jayatilleke, Richard D. Hayes, Chin Kuo Chang*, Robert Stewart

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Serious mental illness (SMI, including schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, and bipolar disorder) is associated with worse general health. However, admissions to general hospitals have received little investigation. We sought to delineate frequencies of and causes for non-psychiatric hospital admissions in SMI and compare with the general population in the same area. Methods: Records of 18 380 individuals with SMI aged ⩾20 years in southeast London were linked to hospitalisation data. Age- and gender-standardised admission ratios (SARs) were calculated by primary discharge diagnoses in the 10th edition of the World Health Organization International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) codes, referencing geographic catchment data. Results: Commonest discharge diagnosis categories in the SMI cohort were urinary conditions, digestive conditions, unclassified symptoms, neoplasms, and respiratory conditions. SARs were raised for most major categories, except neoplasms for a significantly lower risk. Hospitalisation risks were specifically higher for poisoning and external causes, injury, endocrine/metabolic conditions, haematological, neurological, dermatological, infectious and non-specific (‘Z-code’) causes. The five commonest specific ICD-10 diagnoses at discharge were ‘chronic renal failure’ (N18), a non-specific code (Z04), ‘dental caries’ (K02), ‘other disorders of the urinary system’ (N39), and ‘pain in throat and chest’ (R07), all of which were higher than expected (SARs ranging 1.57–6.66). Conclusion: A range of reasons for non-psychiatric hospitalisation in SMI is apparent, with self-harm, self-neglect and/or reduced healthcare access, and medically unexplained symptoms as potential underlying explanations.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalPsychological Medicine
Early online date28 Feb 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Feb 2018


  • Bipolar disorder
  • health service
  • physical illness
  • schizoaffective disorder
  • schizophrenia


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