Published on Sat Aug 07 2021

Trends in accident-related admissions to pediatric intensive care units during the first COVID-19 lockdown in Germany

Bruns, N., Willemsen, L. Y., Holtkamp, K., Kamp, O., Dudda, M., Kowall, B., Stang, A., Hey, F., Blankenburg, J., Sabir, H., Eifinger, F., Fuchs, H., Haase, R., Andree, C., Heldmann, M., Potratz, J., Kurz, D., Schumann, A., Mueller-Knapp, M., Mand, N., Doerfel, C., Dahlem, P., Rothoeft, T., Ohlert, M., Silkenbaeumer, K., Dohle, F., Indraswari, F., Niemann, F., Jahn, P., Merker, M., Braun, N., Brevis Nunez, F., Engler, M., Heimann, K., Wolf, G., Wulf, D., Holborn, C., Freymann, H., Allgaier, N., Knirsch, F., Dercks, M., Reinhard, J., Hoppenz, M., Felderhoff-Mueser, U., Dohna-Schwake, C.

1444 children and adolescents < 18 years admitted to German PICUs due to trauma or injuries during the first German lockdown period (16.3.-31.5.2020) Suicide attempts increased in adolescent boys, while there was a decrease in adolescent girls. Traffic accidents, school/kindergarten accidents, and leisure accidents increased.

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Abstract

Objective: To compare the number of accident- and injury-related admissions to pediatric intensive care units (PICU) during the first German COVID-19 lockdown with previous years. To investigate if shifts in types of accidents or injuries occurred, especially regarding non-accidental injuries. Design: Retrospective observational multicenter study. Setting: 37 German PICUs. Patients: 1444 children and adolescents < 18 years admitted to German PICUs due to trauma or injuries during the first German lockdown period (16.3.-31.5.2020) and during the same periods of the years 2017-2019. Interventions: None. Measurements and main results: Standardized morbidity ratios (SMR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated for the severity of disease, admission reasons, types of accidents, injury patterns, surgeries and procedures, and outcomes. Disease severity did not differ from previous years. We found an increase in ingestions (SMR 1.41 (CI 0.88 - 2.16)) and a decrease in aspirations (0.77 (0.41 - 1.32)) and burns (0.82 (0.59 - 1.12)). The total number of admissions for trauma remained constant, but traffic accidents (0.76 (0.56 - 1.01) and school/kindergarten accidents (0.25 (0.05 - 0.74) decreased. Household (1.32 (1.05 - 1.64)) and leisure accidents (1.32 (1.05 - 1.65)) increased. Injured structures did not change, but less neurosurgeries (0.69 (0.42 - 1.07)) and more visceral surgeries (2.00 (1.14 - 3.24)) were performed. Non-accidental non-suicidal injuries declined (0.85 (0.50 - 1.37)). Suicide attempts increased in adolescent boys (1.57 (0.58 - 3.42)), while there was a decrease in adolescent girls (0.86 (0.53 - 1.31)). Conclusions: Our study showed shifts in trauma types and associated surgeries during the lockdown period that are generally in line with current literature. The decreased number of non-accidental non-suicidal injuries we observed does not suggest a fundamental increase in severe child abuse during the lockdown period. The decrease in suicide attempts among adolescent girls confirms previous findings, while the increase among boys has not been described yet and deserves further investigation.