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Rigshospitalet - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
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The impact and prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in patients with head and neck cancer and acute upper airway infection in a tertiary otorhinolaryngology referral center in Denmark

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PURPOSE: To determine the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 at a Danish tertiary referral otorhinolaryngology clinic during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic among patients with suspected acute upper airway infection (UAI) and patients operated for head and neck cancer (HNC), respectively. To monitor changes in the number of patient encounters for acute UAI and the number of referrals for the workup of HNC.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT-04356560 (Clinicaltrials.gov).

METHODS: Prospective enrolled case series of all patients with suspected acute UAI (n = 88) and of patients undergoing surgery for HNC (n = 96), respectively, from March 23rd to May 5th, 2020, at a public tertiary referral otorhinolaryngology clinic in Denmark. SARS-CoV-2 was diagnosed with nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swabbing. Patients with suspected acute UAI had symptoms and definitive diagnoses registered in a database. Trends in the number of referrals and patient encounters were retrieved from an electronic patient journal system and analyzed retrospectively.

RESULTS: Eighty-eight patients with acute UAI were enrolled including 55 men and 34 women, median age of 31 years (range: 10 months to 82 years). One patient (1.1%) tested positive. Among 96 patients operated for HNC, zero tested positive. The number of referrals for HNC workup, and patient encounters for peritonsillar abscesses, decreased markedly in the first 3 weeks.

CONCLUSION: The prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 during the first 6 weeks of the first wave was minimal among patients with acute UAI and zero among patients operated for HNC. The decrease in referrals for the workup of HNC may increase time to treatment initiation and patient morbidity.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean archives of oto-rhino-laryngology : official journal of the European Federation of Oto-Rhino-Laryngological Societies (EUFOS) : affiliated with the German Society for Oto-Rhino-Laryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Volume278
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)3409-3415
Number of pages7
ISSN0003-9195
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.

Copyright:
Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

    Research areas

  • COVID-19, Head and neck neoplasms, Otolaryngology, Respiratory tract infections, Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, Tertiary care centers

ID: 61785590