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Croat Med J. 2021 Dec 31;62(6):580-589.

Pediatric tertiary emergency care departments in Zagreb, Rijeka, and Split before and during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic: a Croatian national multicenter study.

Croatian medical journal

Ante Šokota, Laura Prtorić, Iva Hojsak, Ivana Trivić, Filip Jurić, Kristina Lah Tomulić, Jelena Roganović, Harry Nikolić, Ana Bosak Veršić, Joško Markić, Marijan Batinić, Goran Tešović


  1. Ante Šokota, Dr. Fran Mihaljevi? University Hospital for Infectious Diseases, Mirogojska cesta 8, 10 000 Zagreb, Croatia, [email protected].

PMID: 34981690


AIM: To assess the number of visits to pediatric emergency departments in Croatia and reasons for visiting before and during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

METHODS: We reviewed the medical records of pediatric patients visiting emergency departments of four tertiary medical centers between February 25 and April 25, 2018 and 2019, and between February 25 and April 24, 2020. Antimicrobial prescription was analyzed as well.

RESULTS: There were altogether 46 544 visits - 18218 in 2018, 19699 in 2019, and 8634 in 2020. The overall number of visits in 2020 significantly decreased compared with 2018 and 2019 (52% and 56% reduction, respectively), mostly due to a decreased number of visits due to certain infectious diseases: acute gastroenteritis (89.2%), sepsis/bacteremia (81.2%), urinary tract infections (55.3%), and lower respiratory tract infections (58%). Most visits were self-referrals regardless of the analyzed period, and the majority of patients did not require hospitalization. There were no significant differences in the number of visits requiring urgent medical care, such as those due to seizures and urgent surgery. The most frequently prescribed antibiotic in all periods was amoxicillin, followed by amoxicillin/clavulanate and oral cephalosporins.

CONCLUSION: A significant reduction in the number of pediatric emergency department visits and hospital admissions is indirectly related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of the reduction was due to a decreased number of infectious disease cases. However, the number of visits requiring urgent medical intervention did not change.

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