Turkish Archives of Pediatrics
Original Article

The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Most Common Diagnoses in Pediatric Surgery: Abdominal Pain, Acute Scrotum, Upper and Lower Extremity Injuries—Tertiary Center Experience


Department of Pediatric Surgery, Children’s Hospital Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia

Turk Arch Pediatr 2022; 57: 38-45
DOI: 10.5152/TurkArchPediatr.2022.21230
Read: 285 Downloads: 126 Published: 01 January 2022

Objective: The coronavirus disease-19 pandemic has brought new patterns of behavior among patients and their parents. The reorganization of the health care system has reduced the number of elective surgical procedures in Croatia. In our study, we were interested in whether the pandemic has caused a statistically significant decrease in the number of examinations of children in the emergency department according to the most common diagnoses in pediatric surgery and whether there was a decrease in the number of emergency surgeries.

Materials and Methods: We retrospectively analyzed data from the Hospital Information System. The analysis included 15 months of the pre-coronavirus disease-19 period and 15 months of the coronavirus disease-19 period. The primary outcome of the study was to determine the cumulative number of all examinations and then to determine the number of examinations according to the most common diagnoses and, consequently, to determine whether there was a statistically significant decrease. The secondary outcome was to determine the cumulative number of all operations and then to determine the number of the most common emergency operations and, consequently, to see if there was a statistically significant decrease.

Results: In the 15 months of the pre- coronavirus disease-19 period, a total of 33 646 children were examined in the emergency department, while in the coronavirus disease-19 period, 26 831 were examined (P = .010). Although a decrease was recorded in all categories, a statistically significant decrease was recorded for diagnoses of abdominal pain (P = .007) and lower extremity injuries (P = .014). The total number of operations, due to strict measures and reduction of the elective program, decreased statistically significantly in the coronavirus disease-19 period (P < .0001). The number of most common emergency operations did not decrease statistically significantly.

Conclusion: This study represents the first longer, 15-month experience of a pandemic in the only and largest children's hospital in Croatia. There is no doubt that coronavirus disease-19 had the effect of reducing the number of examinations in the emergency department for all the most common diagnoses, but the number of operations did not change significantly.

Cite this article as: Bašković M, Čizmić A, Bastić M, Župančić B. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the most common diagnoses in pediatric surgery: Abdominal pain, acute scrotum, upper and lower extremity injuries—tertiary center experience. Turk Arch Pediatr. 2022;57(1):38-45.

EISSN 2757-6256