2 - International Conference in Emergency Medicine and Public Health-Qatar Proceedings
  • ISSN: 1999-7086
  • EISSN: 1999-7094


The State of Qatar experienced a sandstorm on 1 April 2015, lasting approximately 12 hours, with winds blowing at more than 100 km/hr and average particulate matter of approximately 10 μm in diameter. The Emergency Department of the main tertiary hospital in Qatar managed 62% of the total emergency calls. The peak load of patients during the event manifested approximately 6 hours after the onset.

A retrospective review of patient mix and case load was performed for patients presenting to Emergency Department during and after the sandstorm.

A total of 254 cases with respiratory illness presented to the Emergency Department within 12 hours of sandstorm onset. Of these cases, 42 had respiratory failure, of which 19 required intubation and 23 were managed conservatively. Of the remaining 212 cases, 28 with severe respiratory exacerbation of asthma, 15 with COPD exacerbation and 169 with minor asthma exacerbation were managed conservatively. In addition, a total of 26 patients presented with ophthalmological complaints. Of these, 12 had foreign body removed from the eye under slit lamp and took topical medication and antibiotics. The remaining 14 patients with anterior eye chamber emergencies were managed conservatively.

Patients presented mainly with exacerbations of asthma and respiratory distress, ophthalmic emergencies and vehicular trauma. Surprisingly, incidence of pedestrian injuries did not vary. With the outline of adaptations and specific areas for improvement identified in this review, we hope that future sandstorm emergencies will be better positioned to respond with optimum efficiency and effectiveness.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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