The impact of the 2023 Kahramanmaras (Turkey) earthquake on clubfoot management: A retrospective, observational study
Impact of the Kahramanmaras earthquake on clubfoot management
Keywords:Clubfoot, earthquake, casting, Ponseti method
Background/Aim: Clubfoot is the most common congenital foot deformity. Although the etiology and pathoanatomy of clubfoot are not fully understood, dysplasia is present in all musculoskeletal structures below the knee at varying rates. The aim of any treatment regimen is to obtain a pain-free, properly positioned foot that has functional use. The objective of this investigation was to evaluate difficulties in the follow-up and treatment of patients with clubfoot treated in our clinic after the 2023 Kahramanmaras earthquake.
Methods: Data from patients with clubfoot treated with the Ponseti method at the Orthopedics and Traumatology Outpatient Clinic of Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality Inayet Topcuoglu Hospital in Turkey between December 2022 and July 2023 were obtained from the hospital's electronic registry system. Patient demographics, the number of plaster casts made before the earthquake, the total number of plaster casts made, time delays in treatment due to the earthquake, and costs were all analyzed. The Dimeglio score was used for the morphological classification of clubfoot. We analyzed patient data from three time periods: the time of the initial treatment, the period before the earthquake, and the period after the earthquake.
Results: The study included 31 feet (16 left and 15 right) of 20 patients (11 males, 9 females). The mean age of the cohort was 3.5 months (standard deviation: 1.6 months). The median and minimum/maximum Dimeglio scores were 11 (9, 13), 6 (4, 8), and 9 (7, 11) at first admission, before the earthquake, and after the earthquake, respectively (P<0.001). The number of casts before the earthquake was 4.32 (0.32), and the total number of casts was 9.39 (1.38). The average time delay until retreatment after the earthquake was 12 weeks (range: 8–15 weeks). There was a significant positive correlation between the duration of the delay and the Dimeglio score measured after the earthquake (r=0.392, P=0.029). The additional cost per patient due to the delay was calculated to be 8290.8 ± 5033.761 TRY (308.78 ± 187.43 USD).
Conclusion: The 2023 Kahramanmaras earthquake had a significant impact on the management of clubfoot and other elective procedures. Dealing with the consequences of an unprecedented natural disaster is certainly challenging. However, by adopting carefully designed protocols and therapeutic approaches that are based on the unique characteristics of an illness, we can successfully alleviate the repercussions of such events.
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