ENT emergencies during the first wave of COVID-19 pandemic in Spain: Our experience.

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To analyze the characteristics of the visits attended to in an ENT Emergency Department (ENT-ED) during the first wave of COVID-19, comparing them with the emergencies attended to during the same period of time in 2019.Descriptive and analytical observational retrospective study of all emergency consultations between March 1, 2020, and May 21, 2020, carried out by the Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Department of a tertiary university hospital. The adequacy of consultations was assessed with the Hospital Emergency Suitability Protocol (HESP). The correlation between the emergencies and the SARS-CoV-2 confirmed cases was assessed with a generalized linear model.Although there was a decrease of almost 50% in ENT-ED visits during the first wave of COVID-19, the pattern of most cases remained similar to the pre-COVID-19 era: non-urgent consultations, not previously assessed by Primary Care (PC), being considered inadequate by the HESP. The three main reasons for consultation were otalgia, odynophagia, and epistaxis. The number of ENT-ED visits and the total number of confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 in the health area were correlated.SARS-CoV-2 pandemic was a challenge for the Spanish health system. The critical epidemiological situation experienced during March, April, and May explains the reduction in the number of visits to the ENT-ED. However, this condition did not affect the predominant pattern of visits with respect to the pre-COVID-19 era, which were mostly inadequate. A strengthening of PC and an improvement in the population’s health education is essential.

View the full article @ American Journal of Otolaryngology
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