Abstract

Objective. The aim of this study was to provide an accurate picture of the changes which have occurred and contributions given by Italian Otolaryngology Units during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Methods. A 28-item questionnaire was completed and returned by 154 Otorhinolaryngology Units across the country. This investigated their geographic distribution involvement, the main changes which occurred in workload management and in clinical and surgical activities, and the screening procedures for COVID-19 in healthcare personnel and patients.  


Results. Nearly half of the Otolaryngology Units who responded to the questionnaire were merged with other units, while 22% were converted into COVID-19 units or temporarily closed. A reduction of 8.55% in the number of team members was reported, and about 50% of the departments applied uniform work shifts for all staff. All elective activities were uniformly stopped or delayed, passing from 30,295 (pre-COVID data) to 5,684 (COVID data) weekly procedures, with a mean decrease of 81.24% (p<0.001).


Conclusions. Italian Otolaryngology surgeons have demonstrated a high availability to collaborate with non-surgery colleagues, and most of their elective activities, apart from oncology and emergency medical and surgical procedures, have been suspended.