Surgical emergencies during SARS-CoV-2 pandemic lockdown: What happened?

F. Rosa, M. Covino, L. Sabia, G. Quero, C. Fiorillo, V. Cozza, G. Sganga, A. Gasbarrini, F. Franceschi, S. Alfieri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: The pandemic from SARS-CoV-2 is having a profound impact on daily life of a large part of world population. Italy was the first Western country to impose a general lockdown to its citizens. Implications of these measures on several aspects of public health remain unknown. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of the lockdown on surgical emergencies volumes and care in a large, tertiary referral center. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Electronic medical records of all patients visited in our Emergency Department (ED) and admitted in a surgical ward from February 21st 2020 to May 3rd 2020 were collected, analyzed and compared with the same periods of 2019 and 2018 and a cross-sectional study was performed. RESULTS: Number of surgical admissions dropped significantly in 2020 with respect to the same periods of 2019 and 2018, by almost 50%. The percentage distribution of admissions in different surgical wards did not change over the three years. Time from triage to operating room significantly reduced in 2020 respect to 2019 and 2018 (p<0.001). CONCLUSIONS: The lockdown in Italy due to SARS-CoV-2 pandemic arguably represents the largest social experiment in modern times. Data provided by our study provide useful information to health authorities and policymakers about the effects of activity restriction on surgical accesses and changing epidemiology due to an exceptional external event.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11919-11925
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Emergency surgery
  • Lockdown
  • Pandemic
  • SARS- CoV-2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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