Impact of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic on trauma care: a nationwide observational study

Mitchell L.S. Driessen*, Jan C. van Ditshuizen, Job F. Waalwijk, Gerrita van den Bunt, Frank F.A. IJpma, Inge H.F. Reininga, Audrey A. Fiddelers, Karin Habets, Paulien C.M. Homma, Marleen H. van den Berg, Frank W. Bloemers, Inger B. Schipper, Luke P.H. Leenen, Mariska A.C. de Jongh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic severely disrupted society and the health care system. In addition to epidemiological changes, little is known about the pandemic’s effects on the trauma care chain. Therefore, in addition to epidemiology and aetiology, this study aims to describe the impact of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic on prehospital times, resource use and outcome. Methods: A multicentre observational cohort study based on the Dutch Nationwide Trauma Registry was performed. Characteristics, resource usage, and outcomes of trauma patients treated at all trauma-receiving hospitals during the first (W1, March 12 through May 11) and second waves (W2, May 12 through September 23), as well as the interbellum period in between (INT, September 23 through December 31), were compared with those treated from the same periods in 2018 and 2019. Results: The trauma caseload was reduced by 20% during the W1 period and 11% during the W2 period. The median length of stay was significantly shortened for hip fracture and major trauma patients (ISS ≥ 16). A 33% and 66% increase in the prevalence of minor self-harm-related injuries was recorded during the W1 and W2 periods, respectively, and a 36% increase in violence-related injuries was recorded during the INT. Mortality was significantly higher in the W1 (2.9% vs. 2.2%) and W2 (3.2% vs. 2.7%) periods. Conclusion: The imposed restrictions in response to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic led to diminished numbers of acute trauma admissions in the Netherlands. The long-lasting pressing demand for resources, including ICU services, has negatively affected trauma care. Further caution is warranted regarding the increased incidence of injuries related to violence and self-harm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2999-3009
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Trauma and Emergency Surgery
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022

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© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany.


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