Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, its related social restriction measures and vaccination campaign on emergency department attendances for epileptic seizures: An interrupted time-series analysis.

Publication date: Mar 29, 2024

To investigate the impact of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, its related social restriction measure (national lockdown) and vaccination campaign on emergency department (ED) accesses for epileptic seizures. Retrospective observational analysis conducted on a consecutive cohort of patients who sought medical care at the ED of the General Hospital of Merano, Italy, from January 1, 2015, to December 31, 2021. We investigated the monthly ED attendances for epileptic seizures between the periods before and after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the national lockdown (March 2020) using an interrupted time-series analysis with data standardized for 1000 accesses/month. As a further temporal cutoff, we used the start of the national vaccination campaign. Between January 1, 2015, and December 31, 2021, a total of 415,005 ED attendances were recorded; 1,254 (0. 3 %) were due to epileptic seizures. No significant difference was found in the rate of standardized ED accesses for epileptic seizures in March 2020 (time point of interest) to the pre-pandemic trend (0. 33/1000; 95 %CI: -1. 05 to 1. 71; p = 0. 637). Similarly, there was no difference between the pre- and post-pandemic trends (-0. 02/1000; 95 %CI: -0. 11 to 0. 06; p = 0. 600). When adopting January 2021 as time point of interest, we found no difference to the pre-vaccination trend (0. 83/1000; 95 %CI: -0. 48 to 2. 15), and no difference in the pre- and post-vaccination trends (-0. 12/1000; 95 %CI: -0. 27 to 0. 04). The COVID-19 pandemic and its related social restrictions (lockdown), as well as the COVID-19 national vaccination campaign, had little impact on ED accesses for epileptic seizures.

Concepts Keywords
Italy COVID-19 pandemic
Monthly Emergency department
Pandemic Epidemiology
Vaccination Epileptic seizures


Type Source Name
disease MESH COVID-19 pandemic
disease VO vaccination
disease MESH emergency
disease MESH epileptic seizures
disease VO time
disease VO monthly

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