Telemedicine follow-ups for COVID-19: Experience in a tertiary hospital

Introduction:

Telemedicine is an attractive option for the follow-up of paediatric patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection. The aim of this article is to describe the experience with telephone consultations in a tertiary hospital.

Patients and methods:

Retrospective descriptive study of children with confirmed or probable diagnosis of COVID-19 attended by telephone consultations in Hospital La Paz (Madrid) between March and June 2020. Patients were referred from the Emergency Department after being discharged from the hospital. Telephone consultations were made every 48 h until symptoms resolved, then weekly until completing 14 days without symptoms.

Results:

A total of 72 children were included, with median age of 83.5 months [IQR = 16.3-157.5]. Of those 46 (63.9%) were male, and 14 (19.4%) had comorbidities. There were 32 (44.4%) hospital admissions. COVID-19 diagnosis was confirmed in 33 children by RT-PCR, and in 7 by serology tests. The seroconversion rate was 67.7% in those patients with a positive RT-PCR. Other infections were found in 7 patients (5 Mycoplasma pneumoniae, 1 parvovirus, and 1 CMV). Median symptom duration was 25.5 days [IQR = 13.8-37], while median follow-up duration was 28 days [IQR = 21-39]. The median number of telephone consultations per patient was 6 [IQR = 4-8]. Clinical worsening was reported in 19 (26.4%) during follow-up, and 14 (19.4%) were re-evaluated in the Emergency Department. One patient required hospital admission, but he had a favourable outcome.

Conclusions:

Children with suspected SARS-CoV-2 infection should be followed-up due to prolonged duration of symptoms, and the risk of clinical deterioration. Telephone consultations are a useful and safe alternative for the follow-up of patients with mild symptoms, and for children discharged from the hospital.

Keywords:

Coronavirus infections; Coronavirus infection; Paediatrics; Pediatrics; Serological tests; Telemedicine; Telemedicine; Serological test.

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