Perforated Appendicitis during a Pandemic: The Downstream Effect of COVID-19 in Children

Academic Article

Abstract

  • Introduction: Coronavirus Disease-19 (COVID-19) was declared a pandemic in March 2020. States issued stay-at-home orders and hospitals cancelled non-emergent surgeries. During this time, we anecdotally noticed more admissions for perforated appendicitis. Therefore, we hypothesized that during the months following the COVID-19 pandemic declaration, more children were presenting with perforated appendicitis. Materials and Methods: This is a retrospective cohort study reviewing pediatric patients admitted at a single institution with acute and/or perforated appendicitis between October 2019 to May 2020. Interval appendectomies were excluded. COVID-19 months were designated as March, April, and May 2020. Additional analysis of March, April, and May 2019 was performed for comparison purposes. Analyzed data included demographics, symptoms, white blood cell count, imaging findings, procedures performed, and perforation status. Statistical analysis was performed. Results: During the study period, 285 patients were admitted with the diagnosis of acute appendicitis with 95 patients being perforated. We identified a significant increase in perforated appendicitis cases in the three COVID-19 months compared with the preceding five months (45.6% vs 26.4%; P <0.001). In addition, a similar significant increase was identified when comparing to the same months a year prior (P = 0.003). No significant difference in duration of pain was identified (P=0.926). Conclusion: The COVID-19 pandemic and its associated stay-at-home orders have had downstream effects on healthcare. Our review has demonstrated a significant increase in the number of children presenting with perforated appendicitis following these stay-at-home ordinances. These results demonstrate that further investigations into the issues surrounding access to healthcare, especially during this pandemic, are warranted.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Esparaz JR; Chen MK; Beierle EA; Anderson SA; Martin CA; Mortellaro VE; Rogers DA; Mathis MS; Russell RT
  • Start Page

  • 263
  • End Page

  • 266
  • Volume

  • 268