loading page

The effect of COVID-19 First Lockdown on ENT emergencies: what happened and what can we learn?
  • Virangna Taneja,
  • Gerald McGarry
Virangna Taneja
St George's University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Department of Ear Nose and Throat Surgery
Author Profile
Gerald McGarry
Glasgow Royal Infirmary
Author Profile

Abstract

ENT emergencies are heterogeneous and include infections, inflammatory and traumatic conditions. We observed what appeared to be a dramatic alteration in emergency presentations to our unit during the early phase of 1st COVID-19 Lockdown in 2020. Objective- This study compares pre COVID-19 presentations with 1st Lockdown presentations and examines the overall numbers; conditions encountered and draw conclusions which may influence future planning for ENT services. Setting-Records for emergency ENT presentations to a regional centre were examined for two comparable 61-day time periods. Design and Participants-Presentations for April and May 2019 (pre COVID-19) were compared to April and May 2020 (1st Lockdown). Records were compared with regards to overall numbers, demography, diagnosis and treatment. Admissions for COVID-19 related airway interventions and admissions/attendances for elective complications were excluded. Results and conclusion-In the pre COVID-19 group, 649 emergency presentations were recorded: 401 infection related cases, 90 epistaxis, and 158 non-infectious/traumatic cases. In the 1st Lockdown group, 254 emergency presentations were recorded: 121 infection related cases, 56 epistaxis and 77 non-infectious/ traumatic cases. Overall, there was a 61% reduction in emergency presentations during the 1st Lockdown. Infectious cases reduced by 70%, epistaxis reduced by 38% and non-infectious cases fell by 51%. All of these differences were statistically significant (p value <0.05). The infectious category showed the greatest reduction in presentations and within this category the greatest change was observed in Laryngeal infections (95%), facial cellulitis (84%) and Tonsil infections (73%).