Outcomes improvement despite continuous visits of severely injured patients during the COVID-19 outbreak: experience at a regional trauma centre in South Korea

Sooyeon Kang, Ji Eun Park, Ji Wool Ko, Myoung Jun Kim, Young Un Choi, Hongjin Shim, Keum Seok Bae, Kwangmin Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Understanding the changes in characteristics of patients who visited trauma centres during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is important to facilitate aneffective response. This retrospective study was conducted to analyse differences in the characteristics and outcomes of patients who visited our trauma centre between pre-COVID-19 and COVID-19 eras. Methods: Medical data of trauma patients enrolled in the Korean trauma database from 1 January 2018 to 31 August 2021 were collected. The number of trauma centre visits, patient characteristics, factors associated with in-hospital intervention, and outcomes werecompared between patients in the two time periods. Propensity score matching was performed to analyse the outcomes in patients with similar characteristics and severitybetween patients in the two time periods. Results: The number of emergency department (ED) trauma service visits reduced in the COVID-19 era. Based on the mean age, the patients were older in the COVID-19 era. Abbreviated injury scale (AIS) 1, AIS3, AIS5, and injury severity score (ISS) were higher in the COVID-19 era. The proportion of motor vehicle collisions decreased, whereas falls increased during the COVID-19 era. Ambulance transportation, admission to the general ward, and time from injury to ED visit significantly increased. Patient outcomes, such as hospital length of stay (LOS), intensive care unit (ICU) LOS, and duration of mechanical ventilation improved, while injury severity worsened during the COVID-19 era. After adjusting for patient characteristics and severity, similar findings were observed. Conclusion: The small reduction in the number of trauma patients and visits by patients who hadhigher ISS during the COVID-19 pandemic highlights the importance of maintaining trauma service capacity and capability during the pandemic. A nationwide or nationalmulticentre study will be more meaningful to examine the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the changes in trauma patterns, volume, and patient outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number167
JournalBMC Emergency Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Dec

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank all the trauma surgeons and nurses for their dedication and commitment to the Korean trauma system.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Emergency Medicine


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