AAP: Pediatric Fracture Volume Dropped During Pandemic

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Incidence of fractures presenting significantly decreased; presenting age for all fractures decreased

TUESDAY, Oct. 6, 2020 (HealthDay News) — During the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a decrease in pediatric fracture volume, according to a study published in the September issue of the Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics and presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics, held virtually from Oct. 2 to 5.

Joshua T. Bram, of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and colleagues examined the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on pediatric fracture incidence and characteristics. Acute fractures presenting at a single level I pediatric trauma hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic (March 15 to April 15, 2020) were compared to those presenting during the same period in 2018 and 2019. Data were included for 1,745 patients presenting with acute fractures.

The researchers found that during the pandemic, there was a significant decrease in the incidence of fractures presenting to the practice (from 22.5 ± 9.1 to 9.6 ± 5.1 per day). There was also a decrease in the presenting age for all fractures (9.4 ± 4.4 to 7.5 ± 4.3 years) due to reduced fracture burden among adolescents. The number of fractures requiring surgery also decreased (2.2 ± 1.8 to 0.8 ± 0.8 per day). An increase in the proportion of injuries occurring at home (32.5 versus 57.8 percent) or on bicycles (8.2 versus 18.3 percent) was observed, while there was a decrease noted in those related to sports (26.0 versus 7.2 percent) or playgrounds (9.0 versus 5.2 percent). No increase was seen in time to presentation.

“Pediatric fracture volume has decreased 2.5-fold during the COVID-19 pandemic, partially due to cessation of organized sports and decreased playground use,” the authors write. “In endemic regions, lower trauma volume may allow redeployment of orthopedic surgeons and staff to other clinical arenas.”

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