NMM/OMTOriginal Article

Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment Use in the Emergency Department: A Retrospective Medical Record Review

Brian Ault, MS, DO, and David Levy, DO
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: July 17, 2014

Accepted: November 14, 2014

Published: March 1, 2015

J Osteopath Med; 115(3): 132-137

Context: Although the use of osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) appears to be declining, data on the use of OMT in the emergency department (ED) are not available.

Objectives: To determine the quantity and characteristics of OMT performed in a single, community academic ED that houses an osteopathic emergency medicine residency.

Methods: Medical record data from patients treated in the ED at a single large community academic center with an osteopathic emergency medicine residency from July 14, 2005, to March 4, 2013 and who received OMT (n=2076) were analyzed to determine patient demographics; treatment characteristics including number of procedures and patients per physician, OMT techniques used, night vs day procedure variation, and financial implication of future billing for OMT; chief complaints; primary discharge diagnoses; and length of stay in the ED.

Results: Patients were aged 0 to 95 years (mean, 39 years) and were predominately female (1260 [60.69%]) and white (1300 [62.62%]). A mean of 0.74 patients received OMT per day, and a mean of 29.65 procedures were performed per physician. When data for residents were looked at separately, the mean was higher at 40.32 procedures per physician. The top 3 discharge diagnoses were low back pain (189 patients [9.10%]), muscle spasm (106 patients [5.11%]), and spasm: muscle, back (93 patients [4.48%]). Eleven different OMT techniques were recorded, with myofascial release being used most frequently (1150 of 2868 procedures [40.09%]), followed by muscle energy (672 [23.43%]). The average length of stay in the ED was 206 minutes. A total of 1663 OMT procedures (80%) were performed during the day, whereas 413 (20%) were performed at night. Potential procedural billing for all OMT performed during the study period was $33.09 per day.

Conclusions: In contrast to perceptions that OMT use is declining, the authors found that OMT is being performed on a near daily basis in the ED. Additional research is needed to fully understand the impact of OMT in the ED.

Read Full Article