Assessing timeline delays associated with utilization of ultrasound diagnostics in paediatric acute scrotum, pre and per COVID-19 pandemic

Stine M. D. Madsen*, Yazan F. Rawashdeh

*Corresponding author af dette arbejde

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskrift/Konferencebidrag i tidsskrift /Bidrag til avisTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

Abstract

Introduction: Acute scrotum is a common presentation in the pediatric population and can indicate serious conditions such as testicular torsion, in which quick diagnosis and treatment is crucial for increasing the chances of a favorable outcome. During the COVID-19 pandemic, even patients with serious conditions, had delayed presentations and in-hospital management, resulting in worse outcomes. Objective: The aim of the study was to evaluate the safety of ultrasound in diagnosing pediatric acute scrotum and to identify delays from onset of symptoms until surgical exploration. Additionally, we wanted to gauge the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on delay and outcome. Methods: Medical records of patients aged 1–16 years seen with acute scrotum at the authors’ University Hospital from 2017 to 2020 were reviewed, and 438 patients in 467 individual visits were included. Information on demographics, symptoms, ultrasound results, outcome, and time courses were retrieved and analyzed with regards to outcome and the presence COVID-19. Results: We did not find the use of ultrasound to increase the risk of orchiectomy (OR 2.259 (0.387–13.195)), however patients undergoing ultrasound had a significantly longer pre-hospital ischemia time, and therefore an increased orchiectomy rate. Delay between referral and presentation was the greatest predictor of orchiectomy in testicular torsion (OR 1.031 (1.003–1.060)), while in-hospital delay did not increase the risk of orchiectomy (OR 0.998 (0.992–1.004)). Time courses and outcome did not significantly differ before- and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Discussion: The primary contributor to ischemic time in testicular torsion was pre-hospital delay, and neither in-hospital delay nor the delay incurred by use of ultrasound affected the outcome. This might be explained by timely in-hospital management and ultrasound only being used selectively in patients with a lower clinical suspicion of testicular torsion and in those with prolonged symptom duration. During the COVID-19 pandemic, pre- and in-hospital delay as well as outcome did not differ significantly from pre-pandemic measures, which indicates that parents felt safe approaching the healthcare system, and resources were sufficient to handle this patient group in spite of an ongoing pandemic. The current study is limited by its retrospective design, and relatively small group of testicular torsion patients. Conclusion: We found ultrasound to be safe in diagnosing pediatric acute scrotum. Furthermore, it can be inferred that measures aimed at reducing pre-hospital delay could potentially increase the salvage rate in testicular torsion. We did not find COVID-19 to affect either outcome or time to treatment in testicular torsion.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftJournal of Pediatric Urology
Vol/bind19
Nummer5
Sider (fra-til)653.e1-653.e7
Antal sider7
ISSN1477-5131
DOI
StatusUdgivet - okt. 2023

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