Diagnosis (Berl). 2021 Jan 19:dx-2020-0114. doi: 10.1515/dx-2020-0114. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVES: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) blindness, that is, the excessive consideration of the disease in diagnosis, has reportedly led to delayed diagnosis of some diseases. We compared several clinical measures between patients admitted for bacteremia during the two months of the COVID-19 pandemic and those admitted during the same period in 2019. We hypothesized that the pandemic has led to delayed treatment of bacteremia.
METHODS: This retrospective observational study compared several measures undertaken for patients who visited the emergency unit in two hospitals between March 1 and May 31, 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic and whose blood cultures tested positive for bacteremia with those for corresponding patients treated during the same period in 2019. The primary measure was time from consultation to blood culture/antimicrobials.
RESULTS: We included 29 eligible patients from 2020 and 26 from 2019. In 2020, the time from consultation to antimicrobial administration was significantly longer than in 2019 (mean [range], 222 [145-309] min vs. 139 [102-179] min, p=0.002). The frequency of chest computed tomography (CT) was significantly higher in 2020 (96.6 vs. 73.1%, p=0.021). Significant differences were not observed in the time to blood culture or chest CT preceding the blood culture between the two periods.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggested that due to the COVID-19 epidemic/pandemic, focusing on the exclusion of its infection using CT scans leads to an overall delay in the diagnosis and treatment of bacteremia. Medical providers must be aware of COVID-19 blindness and evaluate patients objectively based on rational criteria and take appropriate action.