Original Article

Ear, nose, and throat service during the COVID-19 pandemic: a cross-sectional study


Department of ENT (Ear Nose Throat), University Hospital of Liege, Liege, Belgium

B-ENT 2020; 16: 182-186
DOI: 10.5152/B-ENT.2021.20183
Read: 1681 Downloads: 779 Published: 06 April 2021

Objective: This study aimed to provide objective data on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our ear, nose, and throat (ENT) practice.

Methods: A total of 572 consecutive patients presenting to the ENT clinic and ENT operating theatre, from March 16, 2020 to May 3, 2020, were prospectively included. Demographic and clinical data, admission time, paraclinic testing, management, outcome, and follow-up data were recorded. A retrospective analysis for comparison of findings with the previous year over the same period was conducted.

Results: The COVID-19 pandemic and the implementation of strict lockdown guidelines led to a drastic disruption of the ENT service. A decrease in overall practice of 91.1% was observed; compared with the 6,454 patients who had been treated in 2019 over the same period, appointments and medical procedures were restricted to 572 patients in 2020. Mortality rates increased from 0.82% to 4.55%. Certain patients with valid medical issues could not be catered to, while a few patients sought medical services without a valid reason. More than a quarter of admissions (n=157, 27.6%) did not require specific ENT treatment. Patient selection improved when patients presented with a recent ENT problem (odds ratio [OR] 2.39 [1.50–3.81], p=0.0003) or were referred by a physician (OR 5.30 [3.69–7.61], p<0.0001). 

Conclusion: Our data indicated disruption in the provision of healthcare services for all ENT patients; hence, patients without COVID-19-associated otolaryngology issues should be examined with higher preference compared to those without such issues.

Cite this article as: Peigneux N, Benchimol LJ, Bendavid G, et al. Ear, nose, and throat service during the COVID-19 pandemic: a cross-sectional study. B-ENT 2020; 16(4): 182-6.

EISSN 2684-4907