The study of alterations in the epidemiological pattern of traumatic injuries during the COVID-19 crisis can provide estimates in the planning of healthcare resources. In a prospective epidemiological study during the first 45 days of lockdown legislation in Iran and by comparing the results with previously published large population-based studies in Iran, we sought changes in the epidemiology of traumas.
Data were obtained prospectively from the orthopedic emergency departments of two tertiary orthopedic trauma centers in Iran form Feb 20 to Apr 3 2020 for 45 days. Both centers were active in giving care for COVID-19 patients, and they were major referral orthopedic trauma centers.
A total of 628 patients with a mean age of 38.9 ± 19.9 (range 1 to 96) years consisting of 640 limb injuries were recruited. There were 387 (60.5%) fractures, 176 (27.5%) lacerations, and only 13 (2%) ligamentous injuries due to sports activities. Low-energy trauma was the most common mechanism of injury (38.3%), and its rate was specifically high as the mechanism of injury among women (69 %). In men, sharp injuries had the highest frequency (33%). Sharp injuries and blunt trauma during labor were 6.6 times and 19.5 times more prevalent in men, respectively. Most injuries were seen in 21 - 40-year-old patients. Distal radius/ulna fracture was the most common site of fracture. There were 233 (36.4%) patients with self-discharge.
There were important epidemiological changes during the COVID-19 crisis in trauma patients. The cessation of sports activities resulted in a reduction in ligamentous injuries of sports origin. Women better implemented the stay-at-home strategies shown by a sudden increase in the men to women ratio of risk-taking traumatic injuries. The decreased number of patients with soft-tissue injuries and a high rate of self-discharge must inform the authorities of the fear of in-hospital contamination.
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