083. Incidence of pediatric trauma and neuroaxis trauma during COVID-19 pandemic compared to year prior

Authors: Lacey Carter, MD

The COVID-19 pandemic led to major activity changes throughout the world. There has not been a review of the incidence of pediatric trauma, especially of pediatric neurotrauma, during the pandemic compared to a non-pandemic year. We hypothesized there would be more pediatric trauma, and therefore more neuroaxis trauma, during the pandemic. We predicted more non-accidental trauma (NAT) and fewer due to motor vehicle collisions (MVC) and sports.Methods: We retrospectively queried our institution’s prospectively collected trauma database for the incidences, severity, mechanisms, and injuries from March 1 to December 31, 2020. We compared this to the same period of time in 2019 as a non-pandemic year. Any blunt or penetrating trauma in a patient less than 18 years of age was included. We compared the mechanism of injuries, presence of neurological injury, injury severity scores (ISS), and number of assaults, suicides, NAT, and sports-related traumas.
The total number of pediatric trauma cases were increased during the pandemic (1407 vs 1241). Trauma due to MVC, dirt bikes, all-terrain vehicles, dog bites, and activities with wheels (ie skateboarding, etc.) were higher compared to pre-pandemic. During the pandemic, there were fewer autopedestrian accidents and “strike” trauma (ie, punches, tackles, hit by object), suicides (3 vs 7), and sports-related injuries (73 vs 81). There were slightly more assaults during the pandemic (49 vs 41), but near equal NAT (39 vs 34). The ISS was significantly lower during the pandemic (5.05 vs 5.77, p < 0.05). and there were fewer neuroaxis traumas (246 vs 301), especially spinal trauma (47 vs 79).
During the pandemic, we saw more pediatric trauma, but less severe trauma and fewer with neuroaxis trauma. While our hypothesis of less sports-related trauma was correct, there were actually more MVCs and slightly increased, but similar number of NAT.