The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on pediatric rheumatology practice: an international, cross-sectional survey study


BATU AKAL E. D., DEMİRKAN F. G., Sag E., Lamot L., Faleye A., Marrani E., ...More

Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism, vol.63, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 63
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.semarthrit.2023.152289
  • Journal Name: Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, CINAHL
  • Keywords: Covid-19, MIS-C, Pandemic, Pediatric rheumatology, Survey
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes

Abstract

Objective: The COVID-19 pandemic has affected patient care in general. We aimed to analyze the impact of the pandemic on pediatric rheumatology practice. Methods: An online survey including 22 questions was created by the representatives of the Emerging RheumatoloGists and rEsearchers (EMERGE) group of the Pediatric Rheumatology European Society (PReS) on SurveyMonkey. The descriptive analysis of the responses was performed on SurveyMonkey. Results: Overall, 469 pediatric rheumatologists (F/M: 2.9) from 70 countries completed the survey. The practice of drug prescription is not affected by the pandemic, according to 65.3 % of the respondents, while 24.3 % and 16.5 % are prescribing biologic drugs and corticosteroids less often, respectively. Over 40 % of the respondents have seen an increased number of patients with vasculitis or chilblains during the pandemic. One-third of the respondents stated no adjustments in their clinical practice after 2.5 years of COVID-19 pandemic. The rest indicated implementing various changes, with an emphasis on incorporating telemedicine. Telemedicine constitutes ≥10 % of the clinical practice for one-third of the participants. Nonetheless, 35.5 % agree that there are still delays in patient care due to the pandemic. However, most (∼90 %) think our practice is returning to the pre-pandemic routine. Conclusion: The findings of our study indicate a significant alteration in pediatric rheumatology practice due to the pandemic. This includes increased caution when prescribing anti-rheumatic drugs, a transition towards telemedicine utilization, delays in routine care, and a rise in COVID-19-related inflammatory conditions. It is imperative to address these aspects in order to improve patient care in pediatric rheumatology.