Aim: To assess the impact of COVID-19 on emergency general surgical admissions in a busy trauma centre during the first peak in the United Kingdom (UK).
Methods: Data was collected prospectively between March and April 2020 to compare with retrospectively collected data during an equivocal period in 2019. The main focus was the number of diagnostic computerized tomography (CT) scans and emergency surgeries performed during the COVID peak (Group A) as compared to a non-COVID period (Group B). We attempted to contact all the patients who were admitted under the emergency general surgical team during the study period to record their satisfaction.
Results: The total number of patients admitted in Group A and Group B was 191 and 272, respectively. In Group A, 41% patients had a COVID-19 swab on admission and only 8% of them were positive. In Group A, a diagnostic CT abdomenpelvis (AP) was performed for 74% of the patients compared to 47% in Group B (p=<0.05), however 48% of patients in Group A had a CT chest as well compared to 2% in Group B (p=<0.05). There was no significant difference in the total number of emergency surgeries performed in Group A and B (p=0.12). In Group A, 15% patients had de-functioning stoma for bowel obstruction as the main indication for surgery and only one patient with a positive COVID-19 swab died after surgery. Overall, 92% patients who responded to our survey were either satisfied or very satisfied with their outcome.
Conclusion: During the COVID-19 peak, a significantly higher number of patients had diagnostic CT CAP scans; however, there was no difference in emergency surgical intervention rate.