Health Care Implications of the COVID-19 Pandemic for Patients with Severe Traumatic Brain Injury-A Nationwide, Observational Cohort Study
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionWorld Neurosurgery, 2022. 10.1016/j.wneu.2022.06.066
Background Containment measures during the coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic have resulted in a substantial reduction in treatment of injury. The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the epidemiology and mortality of severe traumatic brain injury on a national, population-based level is unknown. Methods Data on all patients with severe traumatic brain injury between 2017 and 2020 were retrieved from the National Trauma Registry of Norway. The study cohort was derived from the pandemic period (March 12 to December 31, 2020) and the control cohort from the prepandemic years 2017 to 2019. The outcome measures were 30-day mortality, in-hospital mortality, and discharge destination. Results This study included 522 trauma patients with severe traumatic brain injury, 387 (74.1%) in the prepandemic and 135 (25.9%) in the pandemic period. Length of stay increased significantly during the pandemic period (4 vs. 3 days; P = 0.014). The 30-day mortality rate was 39% (n = 149) in the prepandemic versus 38% (n = 52) pandemic period (P = 0.998). In-hospital mortality was 33% (n = 128) in the prepandemic versus 33% (n = 44) in the pandemic period (P = 0.920). There were no statistically significant differences in discharge destination besides the number of patients discharged to home in the pandemic period (P = 0.003). When adjusted for clinical relevant factors such as age, gender, and head injury severity, the mortality outcomes did not change during the pandemic period. Conclusions The containment and lockdown measures during the COVID-19 pandemic in Norway did not affect the number of patients or mortality of patients with severe traumatic brain injury.