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Urologic emergencies before and after COVID-19: a retrospective chart review
Division of Urology, Department of Surgery, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Apr  2021 (Vol.  28, Issue  2, Pages( 10614 - 10619)
PMID: 33872560


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  • INTRODUCTION During the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, decreased presentations for various emergent conditions have been observed. Our objective was to compare the volume of patients with urologic emergencies presenting to emergency departments (EDs) within a single health system before and after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.


    A retrospective chart review was performed for 3 EDs within a single health system in the United States to identify all ED consults to urology from January 1, 2019 to May 31, 2020. For emergent consults, covariates were extracted, including demographic information, insurance status, Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI) score, travel distance from home to the ED, and whether the patient had seen a provider in the hospital system before. Data were compared between COVID-19 months (March-May 2020) and corresponding months in 2019.


    The study period encompassed 1,179 consults and 373 urologic emergencies. We observed not only a 22% decrease in urologic presentations to the ED compared to corresponding months in 2019, but also a 54% decrease in the proportion of urologic presentations that were truly emergent. For patients with emergent diagnoses, April 2020 saw an increase in Medicare/Medicaid coverage and a decrease in private insurance, May 2020 saw a decreased travel distance from home to the ED, and March and May 2020 saw an increase in patients who had previously seen a health system provider outside of the ED. No changes were seen in demographic characteristics or CCI.


    During the early COVID-19 pandemic, urologic emergencies within a single health system decreased by 54% compared to the corresponding months pre-pandemic. Those who do present for care may be influenced by both locality and provider familiarity.