Published online by Cambridge University Press: 22 February 2021
Coronavirus disease 2019 imposed dramatic changes on ENT service delivery. Pre-pandemic, such changes would have been considered potentially unsafe. This study outlines the impact of lockdown on the incidence and management of ENT emergencies at a large UK centre.
After modification of pre-pandemic guidelines, ENT emergency referrals data during the UK lockdown were prospectively captured. A comparative analysis was performed with retrospective data from a corresponding period in 2019.
An overall reduction (p < 0.001) in emergency referrals (n = 119) and admissions (n = 18) occurred during the lockdown period compared to the 2019 period (432 referrals and 290 admissions). Specifically, there were reduced admission rates for epistaxis (p < 0.0001) and tonsillar infection (p < 0.005) in the lockdown period. During lockdown, 90 per cent of patients requiring non-dissolvable nasal packing were managed as out-patients.
Coronavirus disease 2019 compelled modifications to pre-pandemic ENT guidelines. The enforced changes to emergency care appear to be safe and successfully adopted. Arguably, the measures have both economic and patient-related implications post-coronavirus disease 2019 and during future similar pandemics and lockdowns.
Mr J Stansfield takes responsibility for the integrity of the content of the paper