The proximal femur fracture epidemic continued during the COVID-19 pandemic: results of an observational study.

  • Prost Solène
  • Carissimi Mathieu
  • Mccausland Andrés Muñoz
  • Tropiano Patrick
  • Argenson Jean-Noël
  • Blondel Benjamin

  • COVID-19
  • Geriatric population
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Orthopedic surgery
  • Traumatology


INTRODUCTION: The aim of this study was to compare the volume and characteristics of emergency trauma surgery procedures done at our hospital between March 20 and April 20, 2020 (the first month of the national lockdown in France) and to compare these data to the same period in 2019. We hypothesized that a portion of fractures are unavoidable, thus specific preventative measures will be needed to reduce their incidence. METHODS: This was a continuous, observational, single center study. All patients who required urgent surgery for a fracture between March 20 and April 20, 2020, were included. Data for the same period in 2019 was retrieved. All the procedures were done at our hospital, which is a regional level II trauma center. RESULTS: During the first month of the lockdown, 70 patients underwent emergency surgery because of a fracture, versus 109 patients in the same period in 2019, thus an overall 36% drop. The mean age of the patients was higher in 2020 (68.4 years SD = 22) than in 2019 (60.3 years SD = 24, p = 0.0210). There were fewer recreational and motor vehicle accidents in 2020 (34 vs. 10) and fewer work-related accidents (7 vs. 2) although the number of accidents at home were similar (65 vs. 55). CONCLUSION: During a public health emergency, it is vital to continue doing trauma surgery procedures, even though it requires a specific care pathway. The lockdown and associated behavioral changes have altered the spectrum of trauma surgery. A major decrease in motor vehicle, recreation and work-related accidents is the avoidable portion of this surgical activity, justifying specific preventative measures during a public health crisis. Conversely, the incidence of geriatric fractures - particularly of the proximal femur - did not change much overall, thus there is need for additional preventative measures in these patients. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: V, observational study.