J Korean Neurosurg Soc.  2022 Mar;65(2):269-275. 10.3340/jkns.2021.0076.

Impact of the Coronavirus Disease Pandemic on Patients with Head Injuries in South Korea

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Neurosurgery, Samsung Changwon Hospital, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Changwon, Korea
  • 2Department of Neurology, Samsung Changwon Hospital, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Changwon, Korea

Abstract


Objective
: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is affecting the characteristics of patients with head injuries. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on patients with head injuries at a regional emergency medical center in South Korea.
Methods
: From April 2019 to November 2020, 350 patients with head injuries were admitted to our hospital. The study period was divided into the pre-COVID-19 (n=169) and COVID-19 (n=181) eras (10 months each). Patients with severe head injuries requiring surgery (n=74) were categorized into those who underwent surgery (n=41) and those who refused surgery (n=33).
Results
: Head injuries in pediatric patients (<3 years) were more frequent in the COVID-19 era than in the pre-COVID-19 era (8.8% vs. 3.6%, p=0.048). More patients refused surgery in the COVID-19 era than in the pre-COVID-19 era (57.9% vs. 30.6%, p=0.021). Refusal of surgery was associated with old age (67.7±14.5 vs. 52.4±19.1, p<0.001), marital status (married, 84.8% vs. 61.0%, p=0.037), unemployment (42.4% vs. 68.3%, p=0.034), COVID-19 era (66.7% vs. 39.0%, p=0.021), and lower Glasgow coma scale scores (6.12±3.08 vs. 10.6±3.80, p<0.001). Multivariable logistic regression analysis revealed that refusal of surgery was independently associated with old age (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 1.084; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.030–1.140; p=0.002), COVID-19 era (adjusted OR, 6.869; 95% CI, 1.624–29.054; p=0.009), and lower Glasgow coma scale scores (adjusted OR, 0.694; 95% CI, 0.568–0.848; p<0.001).
Conclusion
: We observed an increased prevalence of head injuries in pediatric patients (<3 years) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, among patients with severe head injuries requiring surgery, more patients refused to undergo surgery during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keyword

Head injuries; SARS-CoV-2; Coronavirus disease 2019 virus; COVID-19 virus; Korea
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