The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on paediatric emergency service

Int J Clin Pract. 2021 Sep;75(9):e14398. doi: 10.1111/ijcp.14398. Epub 2021 Jun 5.


Aims: The aims of this research were to review patients visiting the paediatric emergency department over a 6-month period 1 year before and during the pandemic, to review paediatric emergency department referral ratios and to determine whether there were any significant decreases in mortality and morbidity.

Methods: All patients from the ages of 0 to 18 years visiting the University of Health Sciences, Ankara Research and Training Hospital, paediatric emergency service from April-October 2019 to April-October 2020 with no missing information in their records were involved in this retrospective cross-sectional study.

Results: The total number of paediatric emergency service consultations was 74 739; the number of emergency visits from April to October 2019 was 55 678, whereas it was 19 061 from April to October 2020 in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic period. There was a 67.7% decrease in consultations during the pandemic period. The mean age of participants from April to October 2019 was 8.11 ± 5.31 years, and 52.4% of cases were male. The mean age from April to October 2020 was 8.58 ± 5.93 years, and 51% of cases were male. COVID-19-related symptoms were higher during the pandemic period (P < .05), with fever and gastroenteritis being the most frequently received diagnosis in both periods. During the pandemic period, the newborn consultation ratio was higher (P > .05), there was a decrease in consultation ratios related to suicide attempts (P < .05), and a threefold increase in death rates was observed (P < .05).

Conclusion: In Turkey, where emergency consultation rates are quite high, these decreases look fearsome for secondary injuries that can develop in children. For this reason, families should be made aware of the importance of bringing their children to the hospital during emergencies, and that all necessary health precautions are being taken to decrease the spread of infection in hospitals.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • COVID-19*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Emergencies
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Pandemics*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • SARS-CoV-2