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Impact of the COVID-19 Outbreak on Trends in Emergency Department Utilization in Children: a Multicenter Retrospective Observational Study in Seoul Metropolitan Area, Korea

Journal of Korean Medical Science 2021년 36권 5호 p.44 ~ 44
Choi Dong-Hyun, 정재윤, 서동범, 최재연, 이세욱, 최유진, 곽영호, 김도균,
소속 상세정보
 ( Choi Dong-Hyun ) - Seoul National University Hospital Department of Emergency Medicine
정재윤 ( Jung Jae-Yun ) - Seoul National University Hospital Department of Emergency Medicine
서동범 ( Suh Dong-Bum ) - Seoul National University Bundang Hospital Department of Emergency Medicine
최재연 ( Choi Jea-Yeon ) - Gachon University College of Medicine Gachon University Gil Medical Center Department of Emergency Medicine
이세욱 ( Lee Se-Uk ) - Samsung Medical Center Department of Emergency Medicine
최유진 ( Choi Yoo-Jin ) - Ajou University School of Medicine Department of Emergency Medicine
곽영호 ( Kwak Young-Ho ) - Seoul National University Hospital Department of Emergency Medicine
김도균 ( Kim Do-Kyun ) - Seoul National University Hospital Department of Emergency Medicine

Abstract


Background: Understanding the changes in emergency department (ED) visit patterns during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak is important for effectively operating EDs during the pandemic. We aimed to analyze the changes in pediatric ED visits during the COVID-19 pandemic and examine the relationship between the number of ED visits and the stringency of government social distancing measures.

Methods: This multicenter retrospective study used data of pediatric (age < 18 years) ED visits in Seoul metropolitan area from June 1, 2018, to May 31, 2020. Patient demographics, ED results, and diagnoses were compared during the COVID-19 period and the previous year. To evaluate the effect of the stringency of social distancing measures on the number of ED visits, a Poisson regression model was developed with month, year, and the average monthly Government Response Stringency Index (GRSI) as fixed effects.

Results: In total, 190,732 patients were included. The number of pediatric ED visits during the COVID-19 period was 58.1% lower than in the previous year. There were disproportionate decreases in the numbers of ED visits for children in early childhood (66.5%), low-acuity children (55.2-63.8%), those who did not use an ambulance (59.0%), and those visiting the ED for noninjury complaints (64.9%). The proportion of admissions increased from 11.9% to 16.6%. For every 10-point increase in the GRSI, there was a 15.1% decrease in monthly ED visits.

Conclusion: A striking decrease in pediatric ED visits was observed during the COVID-19 outbreak, the scale which was associated with the stringency of government policies. Changes in the number and characteristics of children visiting the ED should be considered to facilitate the effective operation of EDs during the pandemic.

키워드

COVID-19; Emergency Department; Pediatrics; Korea

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