Turkish Archives of Pediatrics
Original Article

The Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Patient Admissions to the Developmental Pediatrics Unit: An Outpatient Clinic in Eastern Turkey


Department of Developmental Pediatrics, İnonu University, Medical Faculty, Malatya, Turkey

Turk Arch Pediatr 2023; 58: 62-67
DOI: 10.5152/TurkArchPediatr.2022.22200
Read: 802 Downloads: 388 Published: 01 January 2023

Objective: The aim of this study was to analyze the impact of coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic on the number and diagnosis of patients admitted to the Developmental Pediatrics Unit.

Materilas and Methods: We compared the number and the diagnosis of patients admitted to the Developmental Pediatrics Unit by using International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems 10th revision (ICD-10) codes of our institution’s electronic health data before and after 18 months from March 16 2020, when coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic was declared in Turkey. Statistical analyses were performed by using International Business Machines Statistical Package for Social Sciences for windows version 22.0 (Armonk, NY) program.

Results: We found that the number of patients admitted to the Developmental Pediatrics Unit decreased during the pandemic period (pre-coronavirus disease 2019 n = 1107, during coronavirus disease 2019 n = 761). There was no significant difference between the ratio of the most common diagnosis (prematurity) before and during the pandemic period (32% and 30.6% respectively). It was observed that the ratio of children with speech delay (17.4%-23%, P = .003) increased during the pandemic, while there was a significant decrease in the ratio of admissions with Down syndrome (11.6%-6.6%, P < .001).

Conclusion: We found that the number of admissions to the Developmental Pediatrics Unit with developmental difficulties decreased significantly during the pandemic. The ratio of admissions of speech delay increased during the same period, while admissions with Down syndrome decreased. This increase may be due to lockdown, increase in electronic screen exposure, and lack of stimuli and the decrease may be due to the risk of severe illness from coronavirus disease 2019. The decrease in admissions of patients who require developmental follow-up reveals the need for additional efforts such as implementing tele-health to our daily practice.

Cite this article as: Ahat TK, Gençer TY, Baysal ŞG, et al. The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on patient admissions to the developmental pediatrics unit: An outpatient clinic in Eastern Turkey. Turk Arch Pediatr. 2023;58(1):62-67.

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