Background: Emerging evidence suggests that the reallocation of health care resources during the COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacts health care system. This study describes the epidemiology and the outcome of major trauma patients admitted to centers in France during the first wave of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Methods: This retrospective observational study included all consecutive trauma patients aged 15 years and older admitted into 15 centers contributing to the TraumaBase® registry during the first wave of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in France. This COVID-19 trauma cohort was compared to historical cohorts (2017-2019).
Results: Over a 4 years-study period, 5762 patients were admitted between the first week of February and mid-June. This cohort was split between patients admitted during the first 2020 pandemic wave in France (pandemic period, 1314 patients) and those admitted during the corresponding period in the three previous years (2017-2019, 4448 patients). Trauma patient demographics changed substantially during the pandemic especially during the lockdown period, with an observed reduction in both the absolute numbers and proportion exposed to road traffic accidents and subsequently admitted to traumacenters (348 annually 2017-2019 [55.4% of trauma admissions] vs 143 [36.8%] in 2020 p < 0.005). The in-hospital observed mortality and predicted mortality during the pandemic period were not different compared to the non-pandemic years.
Conclusions: During this first wave of COVID-19 in France, and more specifically during lockdown there was a significant reduction of patients admitted to designated trauma centers. Despite the reallocation and reorganization of medical resources this reduction prevented the saturation of the trauma rescue chain and has allowed maintaining a high quality of care for trauma patients.
Keywords: COVID-19; France; Trauma; Traumacenter.