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Impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on the routine emergency services in a tertiary hospital, China: a retrospective cohort study

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 September 2021

Lianjing Liang
Affiliation:
Sichuan University West China Hospital, Emergency Department
Zhuo Zhang
Affiliation:
Sichuan University West China Hospital, Emergency Department
Ping Li
Affiliation:
Sichuan University West China Hospital, Emergency Department
Shanshan Weng
Affiliation:
Sichuan University West China Hospital, Emergency Department
Hu Nie*
Affiliation:
Sichuan University West China Hospital, Emergency Department
*Corresponding
* Correspondence: Dr. Hu Nie, E-mail: 456nh@163.com
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Abstract

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Background:

The sudden outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic has caused tremendous challenges to the medical system. The government and hospitals have taken robust measures to curb the spread of the deadly virus. Its impact on routine medical services is gradually being taken seriously.

Objective:

To identify the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic on emergency department (ED) patient flow and the performance of the routine ED service.

Methods:

This retrospective cohort study was undertaken in a tertiary public teaching hospital ED in Chengdu, China. ED data of patients were routinely collected to compare demographic, clinical characteristics, and outcomes during an 8-week period from January 1st to February 25th in 2019 and 2020. Data were analyzed with the Chi-square statistical test.

Results:

Over the study periods, there were 31,855 and 25,244 patients presented to the ED in 2019 and 2020 respectively. During the pandemic period in 2020, the daily number of average ED visits was lower than that in 2019 (430±134.9v.s. 572±38.6, p=0.00), with fewer triage 1&2 cases (145±33.3 v.s.178±15.0, p=0.00). Nevertheless, the mortality increased remarkably during the pandemic period in 2020 (0.2% vs. 0.1%, p=0.009), with higher APACHE II scores (28 vs.19, p= 0.022) and shorter ED elapsed time (0.2 vs. 1.4 days, p=0.016) among these death cases.

Conclusions:

The COVID-19 pandemic had an evident impact on the patient’s behavioral patterns and routine emergency services, which caused higher ED mortality.

Type
Original Research
Copyright
© 2021 Society for Disaster Medicine and Public Health, Inc.
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