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Hand (N Y) ; : 15589447211028918, 2021 Jul 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1325295


BACKGROUND: The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has had a dramatic impact on individual and societal behaviors, as well as on health care systems. It confers a unique opportunity to examine the relationship among disease, policies, and patterns of activity, as well as their impacts on surgical unit functionality. This study aims to compare the distribution and patterns of injury at a tertiary hand surgery trauma center before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: A retrospective analysis of all patients presenting to the Royal North Shore Hospital hand surgery service in the 5-week period from March 16 to April 21 in 2019 and 2020 was undertaken, forming 2 cohorts for comparison. Demographic, injury, and operative data were collected and compared descriptively using comparative statistics. RESULTS: There were 114 primary operative presentations during the 5-week period in 2020, representing a 27.4% decrease from the 157 presentations during the equivalent period in 2019. There was an increase in the proportion of emergency presentations from 73.9% in 2019 to 85.1% in 2020 (P = .03), with a corresponding decrease in elective presentations during 2020. The incidence of sporting injuries and motor vehicle accidents decreased in 2020, whereas falls and accidents involving knives and tools remained relatively constant. Operating times decreased in 2020, whereas the length of hospital stay remained constant. CONCLUSIONS: The COVID-19 pandemic and consequent restrictions of activity have had substantial impacts on the patterns of hand trauma and its management. These insights have implications for staff and resource management during times of social disruption in the future.