Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak and its impact on spinal daily practice: preliminary report from a single (regional) University Hospital in Republic of Korea

Chang Hwa Ham, Hong Joo Moon, Joo Han Kim, Youn Kwan Park, Tae Hoon Lee, Woo Keun Kwon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Since the first discovery of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19), rapid and wide spread of the disease has been reported and the World Health Organization announced that a ‘pandemic’ has started. Up to date there is little known regarding the impact of this outbreak on spinal specialists’ daily clinical practice. We intended to evaluate how COVID-19 has affected the number of spinal disease patients we meet and operate in daily practice. Methods: The de-identified data regarding number of patients visiting the spine clinic at a tertiary referral hospital and a secondary level hospital from January, February and March of 2017 to 2020 were retrospectively reviewed. The number of out-patient department (OPD) visits, number of emergency room (ER) visits as well as number of surgeries performed during the reviewed period were collected and analyzed, comparing 2020 to the previous 3 years. Results: The number of daily OPD visits showed a steady decrease starting from January, and presented a statistically significant decrease by early March 2020, compared to the previous 3 years. During the same period, decrease in number of daily ER visits was statistically significant as well. The number of elective surgeries or number of surgeries for patients admitted via ER during COVID-19 outbreak remained similar to that of 2017–2019 suggesting, despite the decrease of patients visiting the hospital for spinal diseases, those whom required surgery still visited the hospital. The results were consistant among other hospital level. Conclusion: The outbreak of COVID-19 affected our daily practice as OPD and ER visits reduced but did not affect the number of surgeries. We believe that this report will be informative to spinal specialists worldwide fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407-414
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Korean Neurosurgical Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus
  • Spinal practice
  • Spine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology


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