This retrospective & comparative multi-center study reveals the epidemiological characteristics of traumatic fractures amid the epidemic changes dramatically when compared with normal days. The patients' age, fracture location, osteoporosis fracture, fracture type, severity of trauma, injury mechanism, places where fracture occurred and treatment modality during the epidemic period is very different from that during the non-epidemic period.
During the epidemic of COVID-19, the most commonly involving age group was elderly patients, and low-energy injuries (such as slips, falls) were the most prevalent injury mechanism. More attempts should be focused on the prevention of low energy injuries of elderly population.
The current study confirmed the importance and effectiveness of the implemented multi-aspect measures to restrict people's movement and wear masks in the prevention of the spread of COVID-19, which could be used as a reference for the public, health care system and health authorities during the global pandemic of COVID-19.
Amid the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), effective measures have been taken in China to suggest people wearing masks and staying at home. The majority of the people stayed at home, which had an obvious impact on the occurrence of traumatic fractures. This study aimed to describe the epidemiologic characteristics of traumatic fractures during the COVID-19, and provide reference for targeted control measures for the whole world by proposing China's experiences.
This was a retrospective & comparative multi-center study with data obtained from 11 hospitals in five provinces of China. Patients were enrolled into this study, who sustained fractures from 20 January to 19 February 2020 and the same period in 2019 (based on Chinese lunar calendar). All patients were divided into two groups: epidemic group (admitted in 2020) and control group (admitted in 2019). The data of patients' demographics (age and gender), injury related data (fracture type, fractured site, osteoporosis fracture, concurrent fractures, injury mechanism, places where fracture occurred, ISS score, Gustilo-Anderson Classification for open fracture), mortality and treatment modality were compared between the two groups.
A total of 2,489 patients with 2,590 fractures were included. In the epidemic group, there were 865 patients, including 483 (55.8%) males and 382 (44.2%) females with an average age of 53.1 ± 23.1 years (range, 1 to 105). In the control group, there were 1,624 patients, including 876 (53.9%) males and 748 (46.1%) females with an average age of 51.2 ± 21.5 years (range, 1 to 98). Patients in the epidemic group was significantly older than those in the control group ( t=-2.046, P = 0.045). For epidemic group, the mostly commonly involved age group was elderly patients, whereas it was middle-aged adults for the control group ( χ 2 = 14.642, P = 0.002). For epidemic group, a total of 576 (66.6%) patients had their fracture occurring at home, while in the control group there was 183 (11.3%). The proportion rates of low energy injuries (79.1%, 684/865), osteoporotic fractures (32.5%, 294/906) and closed fractures (94.5%, 817/865) in the epidemic group were significantly higher when compared to the control group, respectively (34.4%, 559/1624; 26.9%, 453/1684; 91.9%, 1,493/1692; all P<0.05). The proportion rates of Gustilo-Anderson classification (5.5%, 16/865), concurrent fractures (2.3%, 20/865), and injury severity score (15.6 ± 6.7) in epidemic group were significantly lower than those in the control group, respectively (52.8%, 199/1624; 3.9%, 63/1624; 20.1 ± 8.7; all P<0.05). No positive case with COVID-19 was diagnosed in the epidemic group. The mortality rate in the epidemic group (0.46%) was similar with that in the control group (0.43%).
Our findings confirmed the importance of the measures to restrict people's movement and wear masks in the prevention of the spread of COVID-19. The epidemiological characteristics of traumatic fractures amid the epidemic changes dramatically, and more attempts should be focused on the prevention of low energy injuries of elderly population.