Background: During the recent outbreak of COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019), Lombardy was the most affected region in Italy, with 87,000 patients and 15,876 deaths up to May 26, 2020. Since February 22, 2020, well before the Government declared a state of emergency, there was a huge reduction in the number of emergency surgeries performed at hospitals in Lombardy. A general decrease in attendance at emergency departments (EDs) was also observed. The aim of our study is to report the experience of the ED of a third-level hospital in downtown Milan, Lombardy, and provide possible explanations for the observed phenomena. Methods: This retrospective, observational study assessed the volume of emergency surgeries and attendance at an ED during the course of the pandemic, i.e. immediately before, during and after a progressive community lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These data were compared with data from the same time periods in 2019. The results are presented as means, standard error (SE), and 95% studentized confidence intervals (CI). The Wilcoxon rank signed test at a 0.05 significance level was used to assess differences in per-day ED access distributions. Results: Compared to 2019, a significant overall drop in emergency surgeries (60%, p < 0.002) and in ED admittance (66%, p ≅ 0) was observed in 2020. In particular, there were significant decreases in medical (40%), surgical (74%), specialist (ophthalmology, otolaryngology, traumatology, and urology) (92%), and psychiatric (60%) cases. ED admittance due to domestic violence (59%) and individuals who left the ED without being seen (76%) also decreased. Conversely, the number of deaths increased by 196%. Conclusions: During the COVID-19 outbreak the volume of urgent surgeries and patients accessing our ED dropped. Currently, it is not known if mortality of people who did not seek care increased during the pandemic. Further studies are needed to understand if such reductions during the COVID-19 pandemic will result in a rebound of patients left untreated or in unwanted consequences for population health.

Variations in volume of emergency surgeries and emergency department access at a third level hospital in Milan, Lombardy, during the COVID-19 outbreak / L. Castoldi, M. Solbiati, G. Costantino, E. Casiraghi. - In: BMC EMERGENCY MEDICINE. - ISSN 1471-227X. - 21:1(2021), pp. 59.1-59.9. [10.1186/s12873-021-00445-z]

Variations in volume of emergency surgeries and emergency department access at a third level hospital in Milan, Lombardy, during the COVID-19 outbreak

M. Solbiati;G. Costantino;E. Casiraghi
2021

Abstract

Background: During the recent outbreak of COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019), Lombardy was the most affected region in Italy, with 87,000 patients and 15,876 deaths up to May 26, 2020. Since February 22, 2020, well before the Government declared a state of emergency, there was a huge reduction in the number of emergency surgeries performed at hospitals in Lombardy. A general decrease in attendance at emergency departments (EDs) was also observed. The aim of our study is to report the experience of the ED of a third-level hospital in downtown Milan, Lombardy, and provide possible explanations for the observed phenomena. Methods: This retrospective, observational study assessed the volume of emergency surgeries and attendance at an ED during the course of the pandemic, i.e. immediately before, during and after a progressive community lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These data were compared with data from the same time periods in 2019. The results are presented as means, standard error (SE), and 95% studentized confidence intervals (CI). The Wilcoxon rank signed test at a 0.05 significance level was used to assess differences in per-day ED access distributions. Results: Compared to 2019, a significant overall drop in emergency surgeries (60%, p < 0.002) and in ED admittance (66%, p ≅ 0) was observed in 2020. In particular, there were significant decreases in medical (40%), surgical (74%), specialist (ophthalmology, otolaryngology, traumatology, and urology) (92%), and psychiatric (60%) cases. ED admittance due to domestic violence (59%) and individuals who left the ED without being seen (76%) also decreased. Conversely, the number of deaths increased by 196%. Conclusions: During the COVID-19 outbreak the volume of urgent surgeries and patients accessing our ED dropped. Currently, it is not known if mortality of people who did not seek care increased during the pandemic. Further studies are needed to understand if such reductions during the COVID-19 pandemic will result in a rebound of patients left untreated or in unwanted consequences for population health.
Coronavirus; COVID-19; Emergency department attendance; Emergency department overcrowding; Emergency surgery; COVID-19; Emergency Service, Hospital; Female; Humans; Italy; Male; Pandemics; Pneumonia, Viral; SARS-CoV-2; Tertiary Care Centers; Emergencies; Health Services Accessibility; Surgical Procedures, Operative
Settore MED/09 - Medicina Interna
Settore MED/18 - Chirurgia Generale
Settore INF/01 - Informatica
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/861794
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