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Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Management of Spinal Disorders – Results of a National SurveyArticle in several languages: English | deutsch
Introduction Far-reaching political steps to contain the COVID-19 pandemic have been undertaken in recent weeks. These also impact on surgical specialties not directly involved in the management of patients infected with the coronavirus. The Spine Section, the interdisciplinary professional political arm of the German Spine Society (DWG), the Professional Association for Orthopedic and Trauma Surgery (BVOU), and the Federal Association of German Neurosurgeons (BDNC) conducted a survey on the collateral effects of the pandemic on spine surgery in Germany.
Method This cross-sectional study included outpatient, day-patient and inpatient facilities caring for patients with spinal disorders during the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey was designed to analyse the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the management of inpatients and outpatients with spinal disorders and to assess the economic ramifications in the various settings.
Results All members of the Spine Section (n = 134) were invited to participate in the questionnaire consented by BVOU and BDNC. The questions were answered anonymously, and the personal data entered did not permit any de-anonymisation. All in all, 68% (n = 91) of the respondents completed the survey in full. Based on the type of employment (practice 30%, practice/staff: 45% and staff: 25%) and range of activities (conservative: 5%, conservative/operative: 75%, operative: 20%) the survey by the Spine Section can be regarded as representative. 95% of the practices/outpatient clinics reported a decline in their number of patients. In addition, the number of operations performed fell by 36% (SD 17%). The percentage of elective procedures declined from approximately 78% to 6%. As a result, more than half of the physicians anticipated moderate (20 – 40%) economic challenges and 25% major (> 50%) financial problems.
Conclusion In order to cushion collateral damage in the wake of future pandemic management, any implications in the interdisciplinary management of patients with spinal disorders should be based on these results.
07 October 2020 (online)
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