Role and Management of a Head and Neck Department during the COVID-19 Outbreak in Lombardy

Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2020 Jun;162(6):795-796. doi: 10.1177/0194599820917914. Epub 2020 Apr 7.


The recent Italian outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 led to an unprecedented burden on our health care system. Despite head and neck-otolaryngology not being a front-line specialty in dealing with this disease, our department had to face several specific issues. Despite a massive reallocation of resources in the hospital, we managed to keep the service active, improving safety measures for our personnel, specifically during common otolaryngologic maneuvers known to produce aerosols. Furthermore, we strived to maintain our teaching role, giving residents an inclusive role in managing the response to the emergency state, and we progressively integrated our inactive specialists into other service rotations to relieve front-line colleagues' burden. Specific issues and management decisions are discussed in detail in the article.

Keywords: head and neck; health care workers’ safety; new coronavirus disease 19; otolaryngology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Coronavirus Infections / pathology
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Disease Outbreaks / economics*
  • Disease Outbreaks / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Head / physiopathology
  • Head / surgery
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / surgery
  • Health Expenditures*
  • Health Resources / economics
  • Hospital Departments / economics
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Male
  • Neck / physiopathology
  • Neck / surgery
  • Otolaryngology / economics*
  • Otolaryngology / statistics & numerical data
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / pathology
  • Risk Assessment
  • Role
  • SARS-CoV-2