Pediatric Orthopaedic Trauma Volume Changes Associated with the Covid-19 Pandemic in Ohio

Author(s): Trinity A Kronk B.S, Lorena V Floccari M.D, Richard P Steiner Ph.D, Todd F Ritzman M.D

During the Covid-19 pandemic, our institution perceived a decrease in pediatric orthopaedic trauma volumes. We hypothesized this decrease was similarly the case for other institutions in Ohio. This study evaluates pediatric orthopaedic trauma volumes throughout the Covid-19 pandemic in Ohio. The 270-hospital Ohio Hospital Association (OHA) database was queried for ICD-codes of orthopedic surgical encounters for patients ages 0-18 between 2017-2021, utilizing March 2020 as the transition from preto post-Covid. Overall cases decreased only -3% during 2020 and increased +2% during 2021. However, the monthly patterns differed considerably. In 2020, the number of cases in April and May were -29% and -22% lower, which coincided with state stay-at-home order. Warm weather peaks were delayed to June and September. November and December saw increased volumes of +16% and +10%. In 2021, following cessation of stay-athome order, volumes in March and April increased by +27% and +17%, but did not reach peak monthly summer volumes. 2021 saw increases in November (+6%) and December (+16%). Outpatient volumes decreased -0.3% in 2020 and increased +5.4% in 2021 with decreased volumes during lockdown and increased volumes in November and December. Inpatient volumes decreased -15% in 2020 and -14% in 2021, with decreased volumes most of the year. This is the first evaluation of the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on pediatric orthopaedic trauma volumes throughout the state of Ohio. Annual trauma volume changes were not significant, despite large seasonal changes – relevant information for utilization in hospital budgeting, workforce planning, and resource allocation.

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