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Long-term outcomes of patients evacuated from hospitals near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant after the Great East Japan Earthquake.

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Long-term outcomes of patients evacuated from hospitals near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant after the Great East Japan Earthquake.

PLoS One. 2018;13(4):e0195684

Authors: Igarashi Y, Tagami T, Hagiwara J, Kanaya T, Kido N, Omura M, Tosa R, Yokota H

Abstract
INTRODUCTION: After the accident of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant due to the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011, the Japanese government issued a mandatory evacuation order for people living within a 20 km radius of the nuclear power plant. The aim of the current study was to investigate long-term outcomes of these patients and identify factors related to mortality.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Patients who were evacuated from hospitals near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to the Aizu Chuo Hospital from 15 to 26 March, 2011 were included in this study. The following data were collected from medical records: age, sex, activities of daily life, hospital they were admitted in at the time of earthquake, distance between the facility and the nuclear power plant, reasons of evacuation and number of transfers. The patient outcomes were collected from medical records and/or investigated on the telephone in January 2012.
RESULTS: A total of 97 patients (28 men and 69 women) were transferred from 10 hospitals via ambulances or buses. No patients died or experienced exacerbation during transfer. Median age of the patients was 86 years. Of the total, 36 patients were not able to obey commands, 44 were bed-ridden and 61 were unable to sustain themselves via oral intake of food. Among 86 patients who were followed-up, 41 (48%) died at the end of 2011. Multiple-regression analysis showed that non-oral intake [Hazard Ratio (HR): 6.07, 95% Confidence interval (CI): 1.94-19.0] and male sex [HR: 8.35, 95% CI: 2.14-32.5] had significant impact on mortality.
CONCLUSION: This study found that 48% of the evacuated patients died 9 months after the earthquake and they had significantly higher mortality rate than the nursing home residents. Non-oral intake and male sex had significant impact on mortality. These patients should be considered as especially vulnerable in case of hospital evacuation.

PMID: 29664960 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

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