Introduction: Studies investigating the Covid-19 Pandemic’s orthopedic aspects are accumulating, including reports on a 10-33% decrease in hip fracture incidence alongside shorter times to surgery. Osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures (VCF) have not yet been discussed. This study evaluated the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic’s first wave on VCF in the elderly. Method: A retrospective cohort of elderly patients diagnosed with VCF between 2018-19 (Pre-Covid-19 pandemic) to 2020. Results: The cohort included 172 patients above 65 years with VCF during 2018-2020. Patients’ age and gender were similar between the two study groups. We found a higher proportion of high-energy VCF during 2020 (10.5% vs 6.7%). Incidence of recurrent fractures was 7.5 times higher during 2020 (5.3% vs.7%, P =.06), and significantly higher rates of Ankylosing Spondylitis or Diffuse Idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostosis in 2020 (7.9% vs 1.5%, P=.04). VCF ED admission rates were similar, with 60% treated conservatively. Admitted patients underwent more surgeries in 2020 (66.7% vs 60%, P =.71) and a tendency towards Precoutaneus Balloon Kyphoplasty (BKP) + fixation compared with BKP alone (15.8% in 2020 vs 7.5% in 2018-19, P =.29). RR for BKP + fixation vs BKP alone was 1.95, suggesting higher odds for a more complex surgery during the Covid-19 pandemic. The complication rate was significantly higher during 2020 (18.4% vs 3.7%, P <.001). Admission length was slightly longer during 2020 (12.2 days vs 9.9 days, P =.27), and time to surgery was marginally longer, 6.25 vs 5.3 days (P =.55). Many patients chose home over institutional rehabilitation during the Covid-19 pandemic (72.2% vs 58.8%). Conclusion: The Covid-19 pandemic did not alter VCF incidence, but patients’ characteristics changed, affecting admissions, institutional rehabilitation, and a tendency towards complex surgery rather than BKP alone. It is still unclear if Covid-19 will remain an issue in the upcoming years, but its impact and lessons are still worthwhile.
- osteoporotic fractures
- vertebral compression fractures