Real world evidence in involuntary psychiatric hospitalizations: 64,685 cases

Christina Fornazari, Martha Canfield, Ronaldo Laranjeira

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1 Citation (Scopus)
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Objective: We explored hospitalization patterns and the clinical and individual characteristics of a large cohort of patients who underwent involuntary psychiatric hospitalization in Brazil (n=64,685). Methods: Data were collected from the District Attorney’s Office of the State of São Paulo (Ministério Público do Estado de São Paulo) on all involuntary psychiatric hospitalizations in the city of São Paulo between January 2003 and February 2020. The annual involuntary psychiatric hospitalization rate was calculated and descriptive statistics of the characteristics were produced. Results: Involuntary psychiatric hospitalizations increased from 5.8 to 25.5 per 100,000 population, with an eight-folder increase in the first 10-year period (2003-2013). The majority of admissions were to public institutions (86.6%), involved a psychotic disorder in the primary diagnosis (26.1%), involved more than one diagnosis (83.7%), and lasted less than 7 days (52.4%). The majority of the patients were aged 18 to 39 years and were single, and readmission was relatively common (13%). Although the reason for admission was missing in many reports (44%), the risk of harm to self or others was the most common (68.5%). Conclusion: This is one of the largest cohorts of involuntary psychiatric hospitalization records ever explored. These findings build upon existing international evidence about involuntary psychiatric hospitalizations and show recent trends in admission rates in the largest city in Brazil.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)308-311
Number of pages4
JournalBrazilian Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Involuntary hospitalization
  • admission
  • characteristics
  • electronic health records

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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