Pediatric urology surgical practice in the time of COVID-19: Results from tertiary Saudi Arabia hospitals
Ali Abdel Raheem1, Omaya Banihani2, Abdelazim Abasher2, Abdulhakim Alotay3, Fahad A Alyami4, Tamer A Alsaad5, Naif Alqarni6, Ossamah Alsowayan7, Yasser A Jamalalali8, Mohammad Alhuwaiti9, Maha Al-Madi7, Subbhy Abo Rubeea10, Hossam Aljallad11, Ahmed Elhelaly3, Abdullah Alroumaih4, Faisal Almutairi12, Abdulwahab E Alhams8, Abdullrhman Alayad9, Ahmad Alshammari6
1 Department of Urology, King Saud Medical City, City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Department of Urology, Faculty of Medicine, Tanta University, Tanta, Egypt
2 Department of Urology, King Saud Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
3 Department of Urology, Prince Sultan Military Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
4 Department of Surgery, Urology Division, King Saud University, College of Medicine, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
5 Department of Urology, Security Forces Hospital, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia
6 Department of Urology, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
7 Department of Urology, King Fahd Hospital, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, Dammam, Saudi Arabia
8 Department of Urology, Ministry of National Guard - Health Affairs, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
9 Department of Urology, Maternity and Children Hospital, Madinah, Saudi Arabia
10 Department of Urology, King Fahad Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
11 Department of Urology, King Abdulaziz Hospital, Al Ahsa, Saudi Arabia
12 Department of Urology, Security Forces Hospital, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Dr. Ali Abdel Raheem
MD, PhD, Department of Urology, King Saud Medical City, Riyadh; Department of Urology, Faculty of Medicine, Tanta University, Tanta
Purpose: Our study aimed to evaluate the effect of COVID-19 on pediatric urology practice in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).
Methods: Data of 10 tertiary hospitals in KSA were retrospectively analyzed. Data of outpatient department (OPD) visits and pediatric urology surgical procedures from January 1, 2019, to April 30, 2019, and from January 1, 2020, to April 30, 2020, were extracted. The primary outcome was to compare OPD visits and pediatric urology workload in the first third of 2020 versus 2019, where there was no curfew. The secondary outcome was to compare the same variables during the full curfew time, i.e., April 2020 versus April 2019.
Results: The number of OPD visits was lower in the first third of 2020 (7390 vs. 10,379 in 2019 P < 0.001). OPD visits in April 2020 were 78.6% lower than in April 2019, and teleclinics represented 850 (94.3%). Elective procedures in the first third of 2020 were 688, with a reduction rate of 34.3% compared to the same period of 2019 (P < 0.001). In April 2020, there were 18 elective surgeries, with a 91.4% decrease than in April 2019. Ureteric reimplantation, hypospadias, cryptorchidism, and circumcision stopped, while pyeloplasty (n = 14) and urolithiasis (n = 4) procedures had declined by 50% and 76.5%, respectively. Most of the procedures (71.8%) were day surgery. Emergency procedures were similar in the first third of 2020 (65 vs. 64 in 2019, P = 0.994) and declined in April 2020 by 6.7% versus April 2019. During the full curfew, the most common emergency intervention were cases with obstructive uropathy (42.8%), followed by torsion testis (28.6%), posterior urethral valve (14.3%), and urological trauma (14.3%).
Conclusions: In KSA, the number of elective pediatric surgical procedures were reduced by >90%, while the number of emergency pediatric surgical procdures were similar during COVID-19 pandemic compared with non-COVID-19 time. Ureteric reimplantation, hypospadias repair, cryptorchidism, and circumcision procedures were postponed. Pyeloplasty and urolithiasis-related procedures were performed to prevent irreversible disease progression or organ damage. There was an increase in rate of teleclinic and day surgery to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection.