Violent trauma as an indirect impact of the COVID-19 pandemic: A systematic review of hospital reported trauma

Am J Surg. 2021 Nov;222(5):922-932. doi: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2021.05.004. Epub 2021 May 18.


Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated many social conditions associated with violence. The objective of this systematic review was to examine trends in hospital reported violent trauma associated with the pandemic.

Methods: Databases were searched in using terms "trauma" or "violence" and "COVID-19," yielding 4,473 records (2,194 de-duplicated). Exclusion criteria included non-hospital based studies and studies not reporting on violent trauma. 44 studies were included in the final review.

Results: Most studies reported no change in violent trauma incidence. Studies predominately assessed trends with violent trauma as a proportion of all trauma. All studies demonstrating an increase in violent trauma were located in the United States.

Conclusions: A disproportionate rise in violence has been reported within the US. However, most studies examined violent trauma as a proportion of all trauma; results may reflect relative changes from lockdowns. Future studies should examine rates of violent trauma to provide additional context.

Keywords: COVID-19; Systematic review; Trauma; Violence.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Global Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*