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Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21266927


IntroductionAs COVID-19 roared through the world, governments worldwide enforced containment measures that affected various treatment pathways, including those for hip fracture (HF). This study aimed to measure process and outcome indicators related to the quality of care provided to non-COVID-19 elderly patients affected by HF in Emilia-Romagna, a region of Italy severely hit by the pandemic. MethodsWe collected the hospital discharge records of all patients admitted to the hospitals of Emilia-Romagna with a diagnosis of HF from January to May in the years 2019/2020. We analyzed surgery rate, surgery timeliness, length of hospital stay, timely rehabilitation, and 30-day mortality for each HF patient. We evaluated monthly data (2020 vs. 2019) with the chi-square and t-test, where appropriate. Logistic regression was used to investigate the differences in 30-day mortality. ResultsOur study included 5379 patients with HF. In April and May 2020, there was a significant increase in the proportion of HF patients that did not undergo timely surgery. In March 2020, we found a significant increase in mortality (OR = 2.22). Female sex (OR = 0.52), age [≥]90 years (OR = 4.33), surgery after 48 hours (OR = 3.08) and not receiving surgery (OR = 6.19) were significantly associated with increased mortality. After adjusting for the aforementioned factors, patients hospitalized in March 2020 still suffered higher mortality (OR = 2.21). ConclusionsOur results show a reduction in the overall quality of care provided to non-COVID-19 elderly patients affected by HF. The mortality rate of patients with HF increased significantly in March 2020. Patients characteristics and variations in processes of care partially explained this increase. Our analysis reveals the importance of including process and outcomes indicators, for both acute and post-acute care management issues, in emergency preparedness plans, to monitor healthcare systems capacities and capabilities.

Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20229237


ObjectiveThe aim of this was to assess the short-term impact of the pandemic on non-COVID-19 patients living in a one-million inhabitants area in Northern Italy (Bologna Metropolitan Area-BMA), analyzing time trends of Emergency Department (ED) visits, hospitalizations and mortality. MethodsWe conducted a retrospective observational study using data extracted from BMA healthcare informative systems. Weekly trends of ED visits, hospitalizations, in- and out-of-hospital, all-cause and cause-specific mortality between December 1st, 2019 to May 31st, 2020, were compared with those of the same period of the previous year, using Joinpoint regression models and incidence rate ratios. ResultsNon-COVID-19 ED visits and hospitalizations showed a stable trend until the first Italian case of COVID-19 has been recorded, on February 19th, 2020, when they dropped simultaneously. The reduction of ED visits was observed in all age groups and across all severity and diagnosis groups. In the lockdown period a significant increase was found in overall out-of-hospital mortality (43.2%) and cause-specific out-of-hospital mortality related to neoplasms (76.7%), endocrine, nutritional and metabolic (79.5%) as well as cardiovascular (32.7%) diseases. ConclusionsThe pandemic caused a sudden drop of ED visits and hospitalizations of non-COVID-19 patients during the lockdown period, and a concurrent increase in out-of-hospital mortality mainly driven by deaths for neoplasms, cardiovascular and endocrine diseases. The findings of this study might be useful to understand both the population reaction and the healthcare system response at the early phases of the pandemic in terms of reduced demand of care and systems capability in intercepting it.