University of Oulu

Haapanen, M, Renko, M, Artama, M, et al. Tympanostomies and tonsillar surgery in children during the COVID-19 pandemic in Finland. Laryngoscope Investigative Otolaryngology. 2021; 6( 4): 878- 884.

Tympanostomies and tonsillar surgery in children during the COVID-19 pandemic in Finland

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Author: Haapanen, Marjut1; Renko, Marjo1,2,3; Artama, Miia4,5;
Organizations: 1School of Medicine, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland
2Department of Pediatrics, Kuopio University Hospital, Kuopio, Finland
3PEDEGO Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
4Faculty of Social Sciences, Tampere University, Tampere, Finland
5Finnish Institute of Health and Welfare, Tampere, Finland
6Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Mikkeli Central Hospital, Mikkeli, Finland
7Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland
8Faculty of Medicine and Health Technologies, Tampere University, Tampere, Finland
9Department of Surgery, Central Finland Hospital Nova, Jyväskylä, Finland
10Department of Pediatrics, Mikkeli Central Hospital, Mikkeli, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.9 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: John Wiley & Sons, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-10-26


Objective: To assess the impact of social restrictions due to COVID‐19 on the number of tympanostomies and tonsillar surgeries in children.

Methods: Incidences were calculated per 100 000 children for tonsillar surgery and tympanostomies in 2020 and compared to the mean incidence of referral years 2017 to 2019 by incidence rate ratios (IRR) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Median waiting times were also compared.

Results: Before the lockdown, tonsillar surgery incidence was 33.4/100000 (IRR 1.14, CI 0.76–1.71) in February 2020. After the lockdown began, the incidence of tonsillar surgery was 1.4/100000 (IRR 0.04, CI 0.01–0.15) in April. In June, tonsillar operation incidence started to increase (20.4 per 100 000). The incidence of tympanostomies was 81% lower (IRR 0.19, CI 0.09–0.39) in April 2020 and 61% lower (IRR 0.39, CI 0.22–0.69) in August 2020 than in 2017‐2019. These incidence rates remained lower all year (December 2020 IRR 0.13, CI 0.05–0.33). Median waiting time for tonsillar surgery was 3.3 months in 2020 and 1.6 months in 2017 to 2019; P <.001, and for tympanostomies 1.3 months in 2020 and 1.0 months in 2017 to 2019, P <.001. The referral rate to otorhinolaryngology during the severest restrictions was 35% lower in April and May 2020 compared with the reference years.

Conclusion: This study suggests that the restrictions against COVID‐19 reduced the incidence rates of tonsil surgery and tympanostomies in children. Also, the lockdown and cancellations of elective operations in spring 2020 led to increased waiting times. These findings may help in preparing for future pandemics.

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Series: Laryngoscope investigative otolaryngology
ISSN: 2378-8038
ISSN-E: 2378-8038
ISSN-L: 2378-8038
Volume: 6
Issue: 4
Pages: 878 - 884
DOI: 10.1002/lio2.622
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3123 Gynaecology and paediatrics
3121 General medicine, internal medicine and other clinical medicine
Copyright information: © 2021 The Authors. Laryngoscope Investigative Otolaryngology published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of The Triological Society. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.