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Frontiers in public health ; 10, 2022.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1728406


Background The COVID-19 pandemic has likely affected the most vulnerable groups of patients and those requiring time-critical access to healthcare services, such as patients with cancer. The aim of this study was to use time trend data to assess the impact of COVID-19 on timely diagnosis and treatment of head and neck cancer (HNC) in the Italian Piedmont region. Methods This study was based on two different data sources. First, regional hospital discharge register data were used to identify incident HNC in patients ≥18 years old during the period from January 1, 2015, to December 31, 2020. Interrupted time-series analysis was used to model the long-time trends in monthly incident HNC before COVID-19 while accounting for holiday-related seasonal fluctuations in the HNC admissions. Second, in a population of incident HNC patients eligible for recruitment in an ongoing clinical cohort study (HEADSpAcE) that started before the COVID-19 pandemic, we compared the distribution of early-stage and late-stage diagnoses between the pre-COVID-19 and the COVID-19 period. Results There were 4,811 incident HNC admissions in the 5-year period before the COVID-19 outbreak and 832 admissions in 2020, of which 689 occurred after the COVID-19 outbreak in Italy. An initial reduction of 28% in admissions during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic (RR 0.72, 95% CI 0.62–0.84) was largely addressed by the end of 2020 (RR 0.96, 95% CI 0.89–1.03) when considering the whole population, although there were some heterogeneities. The gap between observed and expected admissions was particularly evident and had not completely recovered by the end of the year in older (≥75 years) patients (RR: 0.88, 0.76–1.01), patients with a Romano-Charlson comorbidity index below 2 (RR 0.91, 95% CI: 0.84–1.00), and primary surgically treated patients (RR 0.88, 95% CI 0.80–0.97). In the subgroup of patients eligible for the ongoing active recruitment, we observed no evidence of a shift toward a more advanced stage at diagnosis in the periods following the first pandemic wave. Conclusions The COVID-19 pandemic has affected differentially the management of certain groups of incident HNC patients, with more pronounced impact on older patients, those treated primarily surgically, and those with less comorbidities. The missed and delayed diagnoses may translate into worser oncological outcomes in these patients.

Epidemiol Prev ; 44(5-6 Suppl 2): 216-225, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1068142


OBJECTIVES: to explore clinical and epidemiological characteristics associated with an imaging feature of COVID-19 pneumonia at disease onset, in order to identify factors that may be evaluable by general practitioners at patient's home, and which may lead to identify a more severe disease, needing hospitalization. DESIGN: this is a retrospective/prospective observational hospital cohort. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: the study population includes all patients consecutively admitted to the emergency department of Città della salute e della scienza University Hospital from 01.03 to 31.05.2020 with a confirmed diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: patients were classified in two groups according to the findings of X-ray imaging, lung ultrasound and chest computer tomography, as pneumonia or not pneumonia patients. RESULTS: in multivariable analysis, factors most strongly associated with emergency department admission with pneumonia were age, oxygen saturation <90% (adj OR 4.16 ;95%CI 1.44-12.07), respiratory rate >24 breaths/min (adj OR 6.50; 95%CI 2.36-17.87), fever ≥38° (adj OR 3.05; 95%CI 1.53-6.08) and the presence of gastroenteric symptoms (vomiting and diarrhea). A delay (> 7 days) between the appearance of the initial lung symptoms (cough and dyspnea) and the admission to the emergency department was also related to a higher probability of receiving a positive imaging report (OR 4.99; 95%CI 2,02-12,34). CONCLUSIONS: in order to reorganize the management of COVID-19 patients in Italy, in view of the risk of a second wave of epidemic or of local outbreaks, it would be desirable to relocate the triage, and possibly the patient's care, from hospital to home. In this scenario it is important to identify all symptoms and signs associated with COVID-19 pneumonia that would facilitate the decision-making process of GPs leading to patients hospitalization.

COVID-19/epidemiology , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/blood , Comorbidity , Diarrhea/epidemiology , Diarrhea/etiology , Dyspnea/epidemiology , Dyspnea/etiology , Emergency Service, Hospital/statistics & numerical data , Female , Hospitals, University/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , Leukocyte Count , Male , Middle Aged , Nervous System Diseases/epidemiology , Nervous System Diseases/etiology , Oxygen/blood , Pneumonia, Viral/blood , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnostic imaging , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Prospective Studies , Respiratory Rate , Retrospective Studies , Symptom Assessment , Time Factors , Vomiting/epidemiology , Vomiting/etiology