COVID-19-related Physical Interventions Linked to Reduced Hospitalisations for ENT Infections

Pavankumar Kamat


December 03, 2021


  • A study showed a substantial reduction in adult admissions for ear, nose, and throat (ENT) infections following the introduction of COVID-19-related physical interventions (PIs; hand washing, mask wearing, and social distancing).

Why this matters

  • Preventing severe ENT infections through simple PIs may improve quality of life and offer economical benefit to healthcare systems.

Study design

  • A retrospective cohort study used data from 3 large National Health Service hospitals, UK.

  • 1864 patients with acute ENT infections admitted to hospital over a 12-month period (2019-2020) before the COVID-19 pandemic were compared with 791 patients with acute ENT infections admitted to hospital over a 12-month period (2020-2021) when the first national lockdown was implemented.

  • Funding: None.

Key results

  • Hospital admission for ENT infections were significantly lower in the 2020-2021 period compared with in the 2019-2020 period (57.56% reduction; relative risk [RR], 2.36; 95% CI, 2.17-2.56; P<.001).

  • There was a significant reduction in hospital admissions for (RR; 95% CI):

    • tonsillitis (64.4% reduction; 2.81; 2.49-3.18; P<.001);

    • peritonsillar abscess (60.68% reduction; 2.54; 2.16-3.0; P<.001);

    • epiglottitis (66.67% reduction; 3.0; 1.60-5.62; P<.001);

    • glandular fever (38.79% reduction; 1.63; 1.22-2.20; P=.001);

    • acute otitis media (26.85% reduction; 1.37; 1.07-1.75; P=.01); and

    • retropharyngeal and/or parapharyngeal abscesses (45.45% reduction; 1.8; 1.03-3.26; P=.04).

  • There was a reduction in hospital admissions for peri‑orbital cellulitis (34.04% reduction; RR, 1.52; 95% CI, 0.96-2.39; P<.07) and acute mastoiditis (14.29% reduction; RR, 1.17; 95% CI, 0.39-3.47; P=.78) but was not statistically significant.


  • Retrospective design.

Quraishi N, Ray M, Srivastava R, Ray J, Quraishi MS. A multicentre retrospective cohort study on COVID-19-related physical interventions and adult hospital admissions for ENT infections. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2021 Nov 22:1–8 [Epub ahead of print] .doi: 10.1007/s00405-021-07180-y. PMID: 34807284 View abstract.



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