Newborn in the pediatric emergency department: a reality during the COVID-19 pandemic

Bárbara Aguiar*, Hugo Cavaco, Paulo Oom, Mariana Poppe, Miguel Labrusco, Sofia Costa Lima

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: We aimed to characterize newborns admitted to the pediatric emergency department in the first months of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Methods: We conducted a retrospective observational study regarding newborns who presented to the pediatric emergency department during the pandemic period in comparison with the same period of the previous year. Data gathered concerning the neonatal characteristics included the length of postpartum stay in the nursery, age at presentation to the pediatric emergency department, source of referral to the pediatric emergency department, presenting complaint, need for complementary exams, diagnosis, final destination, and hospital readmission. Results: The number of births was 591 in the pandemic period and 709 in the homologous period. We analyzed 72 pediatric emergency department admissions in the pandemic period and 123 pediatric emergency department admissions in the homologous period. During the pandemic period, there was a decreased rate of neonatal admissions to the pediatric emergency department, but not as pronounced as for the total number of children. We found an increased rate of patients visiting the pediatric emergency department and without disease during the first 2 weeks of life. There were higher referral rates to the pediatric emergency department and to an ambulatory pediatrics appointment. No differences were found concerning the presenting complaints, need for complementary exams, diagnoses, and admission rates. Discussion: Although there was a decreased rate of neonatal admissions during the pandemic period, it was not as pronounced as for the total number of children, denotating a greater need to attend to the pediatric emergency department compared to the other age categories. The reduced access to primary care during the pandemic period and the decreased time of parental education in the nursery might have contributed to these findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-399
Number of pages7
JournalPortuguese Journal of Pediatrics
Volume53
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes

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