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Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on trauma-related emergency medical service calls: a retrospective cohort study.
BMC Emerg Med. 2021 09 09; 21(1):102.BE

Abstract

BACKGROUND

The COVID-19 pandemic has had profound effects on the utilization of health care services, including Emergency Medical Services (EMS). Social distancing measures taken to prevent the spread of the disease have greatly affected the functioning of societies and reduced or halted many activities with a risk of injury. The aim of this study was to report the effects of lockdown measures on trauma-related EMS calls in the Finnish capital area.

METHODS

We conducted a retrospective cohort study of all EMS calls in the Helsinki University Hospital (HUH) catchment area between 1 January and 31 July 2020. Calls were identified from the HUH EMS database. Calls were grouped into pre-lockdown, lockdown, and post-lockdown periods according to the restrictions set by the Finnish government and compared to the mean number of calls for the corresponding periods in 2018 and 2019. Statistical comparisons were performed using Mann-Whitney U-test for weekly numbers and percentages.

RESULTS

During the study period there was a total of 70,705 EMS calls, of which 14,998 (21.2%) were related to trauma; 67,973 patients (median age 61.6 years; IQR 35.3-78.6) were met by EMS. There was no significant change in the weekly number of total or trauma-related EMS calls during the pre-lockdown period. During the lockdown period, the number of weekly total EMS calls was reduced by 12.2% (p = 0.001) and the number of trauma-related calls was reduced by 23.3% (p = 0.004). The weekly number of injured patients met by EMS while intoxicated with alcohol was reduced by 41.8% (p = 0.002). During the post-lockdown period, the number of total and trauma-related calls and the number of injured patients intoxicated by alcohol returned to previous years' levels.

CONCLUSIONS

The COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing measures reduced the number of trauma-related EMS calls. Lockdown measures had an especially significant effect on the number of injured patients intoxicated by alcohol met by the EMS.

TRIAL REGISTRATION

Not applicable.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Prehospital Emergency Care Services, Lapland Central Hospital, P.O. Box 8041, FI-96101, Rovaniemi, Finland. michael.azbel@lshp.fi. Department of Emergency Medicine and Services, Helsinki University and Helsinki University Hospital, P.O. Box 340, FI-00029 HUS, Helsinki, Finland. michael.azbel@lshp.fi.Trauma Unit and Helsinki Trauma Registry, Helsinki University Hospital, P.O. Box 266, FI-00029 HUS, Helsinki, Finland. Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland.Department of Emergency Medicine and Services, Helsinki University and Helsinki University Hospital, P.O. Box 340, FI-00029 HUS, Helsinki, Finland.Department of Emergency Medicine and Services, Helsinki University and Helsinki University Hospital, P.O. Box 340, FI-00029 HUS, Helsinki, Finland.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Language

eng

PubMed ID

34503453

Citation

Azbel, Michael, et al. "Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic On Trauma-related Emergency Medical Service Calls: a Retrospective Cohort Study." BMC Emergency Medicine, vol. 21, no. 1, 2021, p. 102.
Azbel M, Heinänen M, Lääperi M, et al. Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on trauma-related emergency medical service calls: a retrospective cohort study. BMC Emerg Med. 2021;21(1):102.
Azbel, M., Heinänen, M., Lääperi, M., & Kuisma, M. (2021). Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on trauma-related emergency medical service calls: a retrospective cohort study. BMC Emergency Medicine, 21(1), 102. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12873-021-00495-3
Azbel M, et al. Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic On Trauma-related Emergency Medical Service Calls: a Retrospective Cohort Study. BMC Emerg Med. 2021 09 9;21(1):102. PubMed PMID: 34503453.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on trauma-related emergency medical service calls: a retrospective cohort study. AU - Azbel,Michael, AU - Heinänen,Mikko, AU - Lääperi,Mitja, AU - Kuisma,Markku, Y1 - 2021/09/09/ PY - 2021/02/21/received PY - 2021/08/18/accepted PY - 2021/9/10/entrez PY - 2021/9/11/pubmed PY - 2021/10/9/medline KW - Alcohol KW - COVID-19 KW - Emergency medical service KW - Prehospital trauma SP - 102 EP - 102 JF - BMC emergency medicine JO - BMC Emerg Med VL - 21 IS - 1 N2 - BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has had profound effects on the utilization of health care services, including Emergency Medical Services (EMS). Social distancing measures taken to prevent the spread of the disease have greatly affected the functioning of societies and reduced or halted many activities with a risk of injury. The aim of this study was to report the effects of lockdown measures on trauma-related EMS calls in the Finnish capital area. METHODS: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of all EMS calls in the Helsinki University Hospital (HUH) catchment area between 1 January and 31 July 2020. Calls were identified from the HUH EMS database. Calls were grouped into pre-lockdown, lockdown, and post-lockdown periods according to the restrictions set by the Finnish government and compared to the mean number of calls for the corresponding periods in 2018 and 2019. Statistical comparisons were performed using Mann-Whitney U-test for weekly numbers and percentages. RESULTS: During the study period there was a total of 70,705 EMS calls, of which 14,998 (21.2%) were related to trauma; 67,973 patients (median age 61.6 years; IQR 35.3-78.6) were met by EMS. There was no significant change in the weekly number of total or trauma-related EMS calls during the pre-lockdown period. During the lockdown period, the number of weekly total EMS calls was reduced by 12.2% (p = 0.001) and the number of trauma-related calls was reduced by 23.3% (p = 0.004). The weekly number of injured patients met by EMS while intoxicated with alcohol was reduced by 41.8% (p = 0.002). During the post-lockdown period, the number of total and trauma-related calls and the number of injured patients intoxicated by alcohol returned to previous years' levels. CONCLUSIONS: The COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing measures reduced the number of trauma-related EMS calls. Lockdown measures had an especially significant effect on the number of injured patients intoxicated by alcohol met by the EMS. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Not applicable. SN - 1471-227X UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/34503453/Effects_of_the_COVID_19_pandemic_on_trauma_related_emergency_medical_service_calls:_a_retrospective_cohort_study_ L2 - https://bmcemergmed.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12873-021-00495-3 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -