The Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Penetrating Neurotrauma at a Level 1 Trauma Center

in affiliation with the Council of State Neurosurgical Societies (CSNS)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background/Objective: The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the global delivery of health care. Recent data suggest a possible impact of the pandemic on patterns of neurotrauma. The aim was to assess the impact of the pandemic on the incidence of neurotrauma, with a focus on cranial gunshot wounds (cGSWs) at a large Midwestern level 1 trauma center. Methods: We conducted a retrospective review of our trauma registry from March through September 2020 and compared it to the same months in 2019. Odds ratios were utilized to assess for differences in patient demographics, injury characteristics, rates of neurotrauma, and rates of cGSWs. Results: A total of 1188 patients presented with neurotrauma, 558 in 2019 and 630 in 2020. The majority of patients were male (71.33% in 2019; 68.57% in 2020) and Caucasian (78.67% in 2019; 75.4% in 2020). Patients presented with cGSWs more frequently in 2020 (n = 49, 7.78%) than in 2019 (n = 25, 4.48%). The odds of suffering a cGSW in 2020 was 73.6% higher than those in 2019 (95% confidence interval = [1.0871, 2.7722]; P = 0.0209). The etiology of such injury was most commonly assault (n = 16, 21.62% in 2019; n = 34, 45.95% in 2020), followed by self-inflicted injury (n = 4, 5.41% in 2019; 12, 16.22% in 2020). Conclusions: Despite the government-mandated shutdown, we observed an increase in the number of neurotrauma cases in 2020. There was a significant increase in the incidence cGSWs in 2020, with an increase in assaults and self-inflicted injuries. Further investigation into socioeconomic factors for the observed increase in cGSWs is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e530-e539
JournalWorld neurosurgery
StatePublished - Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Conflict of interest statement: The authors declare that the article content was composed in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Inc.


  • COVID-19
  • Cranial gunshot wounds
  • Neurotrauma
  • Pandemic

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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