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The Penn Medicine Emergency Department Observation Unit (EDOU) provides round-the-clock care for patients who require short stays in the hospital after a visit to the emergency department.

The EDOU’s mission is to improve and expedite care for patients with conditions that require continued emergency management but whose care can often be completed in fewer than 24 hours.

The EDOU consists of a 17-bed unit next to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania Emergency Department (ED), and a 10-bed unit on the second floor of the hospital’s Ravdin Building.

Common Conditions Treated in EDOU

Common medical diagnoses of patients admitted to the EDOU include but are not limited to:

  • acute chest pain
  • asthma
  • congestive heart failure
  • faints and falls
  • mild traumatic injuries
  • skin infections
  • urinary tract infections

More than one-third of the patients admitted to the EDOU report acute chest pain and are considered low risk for acute coronary syndrome (ACS). They are routinely placed under observation in the EDOU in order to rule out myocardial infarction.

In keeping with the American College of Emergency Physicians Practice Guidelines for suspected ACS, every patient's evaluation includes either serial blood tests, an exercise stress test, and/or a computerized tomography coronary angiogram.

Team of Experts in Observation Medicine

In addition, the EDOU Observation Unit is tailored to meet the specific needs of the HUP ED. The EDOU is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year and is staffed around-the-clock by registered nurses; advanced care practitioners, such as nurse practitioners and/or physician assistants; and board certified physicians who specialize in Observation Medicine.

Emergency Medicine attending physicians cover the unit on a daily basis, rounding on the patients each morning, helping direct the clinical management of the patients, and evaluating new admissions. In addition, attending physician consultation is available from the ED staff around the clock.

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