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Minerva Surgery 2021 October;76(5):397-406

DOI: 10.23736/S2724-5691.21.08517-8


language: English

Trend of emergency general surgery procedures during COVID-19 pandemic

Gabriele BELLIO 1 , Paola GERMANI 1, Alan BILOSLAVO 1, Giulio DEL ZOTTO 1, Chiara LIRUSSO 2, Sara CRESTALE 2, Roberto SILVESTRO 2, Stefania CRESPI 3, Matteo FAION 3, Paolo UBIALI 3, Nicolò DE MANZINI 1

1 Department of General Surgery, Cattinara University Hospital, Trieste, Italy; 2 Division of General Surgery, Department of Surgery, Santa Maria della Misericordia (ASU FC) University Hospital, Udine, Italy; 3 Department of General Surgery, Santa Maria degli Angeli Hospital, Pordenone, Italy

BACKGROUND: In early 2020, the novel coronavirus infection (COVID-19) spread rapidly throughout the whole world, causing a massive response in terms of health resource disposal. Moreover, lockdowns were imposed in entire countries. This study aims to assess whether there was a downward trend in emergency general surgery (EGS) procedures accomplished throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and to determine patients’ and diseases’ characteristics.
METHODS: This is a multicentric retrospective observational cohort analysis conducted on patients who underwent EGS procedures during the lockdown and the same period of the previous year in the three Third Level Hospitals of Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy.
RESULTS: During the study period, 138 patients underwent EGS procedures versus the 197 patients operated on in 2019, meaning a 30.0% decrease in the number of surgeries performed. The incidence rate for EGS procedures was 2.5 surgeries per day during the COVID-19 pandemic compared to 3.5 surgeries per day in 2019 (P<0.001). The characteristics of patients operated on in 2020 were comparable to those of patients who underwent EGS in 2019, except for the higher prevalence of male patients during the COVID-19 pandemic (76.8 vs. 55.8; P<0.001). No difference was recorded in disease severity between the two study periods.
CONCLUSIONS: During the COVID-19 pandemic, a significant reduction in EGS procedures carried out was recorded. However, no clear explanation can be given to elucidate this fact.

KEY WORDS: COVID-19; General surgery; Hospital emergency service; SARS-CoV-2

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