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Neuro-Oncology ; 24:i166, 2022.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-1956581


INTRODUCTION: Unplanned reoperations and mortality within 30 days are important indicators when evaluating the quality of care provided by surgical systems. We reviewed these outcomes among children with primary central nervous system (CNS) tumors treated during the COVID- 19 pandemic. METHODS: This is a retrospective study of all pediatric patients who underwent neurosurgery for primary CNS tumors at the Philippine General Hospital, the national university hospital, from January 1, 2020 until December 31, 2021. Their clinical presentation, perioperative course, and outcomes were analyzed. During this time, our hospital concurrently served as a COVID-19 referral center, thus, the workforce was restructured, and resources were reallocated to care for COVID-19 patients. RESULTS: A total of 92 pediatric patients with CNS tumors underwent 140 neurosurgical operations during the study period. Two-thirds of the patients were males, and mean age was 9.3 ± 5.0 years (range: 3 months to 18 years). Average preoperative length of stay was 3.9 ± 2.6 days. Tumor resection was performed in 73 patients (79%). Most common histologic diagnoses were medulloblastoma (20%) and low-grade glioma including pilocytic astrocytoma (20%). Overall, the 30-day mortality and unplanned reoperation rates were 12% and 22%, respectively. Eight patients died from brain herniation and/or tumor progression. Reasons for unplanned reoperations were postoperative hydrocephalus (20%), infection (9%), hematoma (7%), and tumor residual (3%). DISCUSSION: Worldwide, the COVID-19 pandemic has altered hospital protocols and shifted resources considerably. The observed high rates of death and reoperation are likely due to delays in seeking care leading to worse neurologic status at presentation, delays in performing essential surgery within the hospital, and shortage of health workers providing specialist care. It is important to periodically assess perioperative outcomes to improve the quality of surgical care given to children with CNS tumors, who remain a vulnerable population during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Neuro-Oncology ; 24:i165, 2022.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-1956579


INTRODUCTION: A multidisciplinary team (MDT) approach is essential for quality cancer care. Since 2019, we have conducted regular MDT meetings to discuss pediatric patients with central nervous system (CNS) tumors at the Philippine General Hospital. Because of COVID-19, an abrupt transition from in-person to virtual meetings became necessary. METHODS: We reviewed the proceedings of MDT meetings for pediatric CNS tumors from March 2020-December 2021. We identified the strategies and adaptations of our pediatric neuro-oncology group, and outlined recommendations for other institutions in low- and middle-income countries. RESULTS: Our pediatric neuro-oncology group conducted 18 virtual MDT meetings during the study period. Meetings were scheduled every last Tuesday of the month, with pediatric oncologists, neurologists, neurosurgeons, radiation oncologists, radiologists, and neuropathologists regularly attending. We invited other specialists as needed. In total, we had 135 case discussions for 79 unique patients, or about 8 patients per meeting. These included both inpatients (74%) and outpatients (26%). Ten patients received prior treatment elsewhere. At the time of the meeting, 86% were postoperative, 8% were preoperative, and 6% did not require surgery. Most (60%) had malignant CNS tumors and 15% had disseminated/leptomeningeal disease. Histopathologic diagnosis was obtained for 62 patients (79%). Concerns addressed were: formulating a treatment plan (88%), surveillance strategy (10%), and diagnostic workup (5%). DISCUSSION: Several factors contributed to the ease of online transition: (1) motivated care providers including a patient navigator, (2) fixed schedule, (3) institutional Zoom account for securing data privacy, and (4) availability of picture archiving and communication system (PACS) for neuroimaging. Challenges included: (1) delays due to internet connectivity, (2) Zoom fatigue and online distractions, and (3) risk for miscommunication or misunderstanding. Commitment of the entire neuro-oncology team is essential to ensure the delivery of best possible care for pediatric patients with CNS tumors.

Neuro-Oncology ; 24:i145, 2022.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-1956576


INTRODUCTION: Surgery in patients diagnosed with COVID-19 is associated with increased risk of morbidity and mortality, especially within 6 weeks of SARSCoV- 2 infection. Furthermore, most studies have focused on adults, and little is known about perioperative outcomes in children with COVID-19. METHODS: We reviewed the operative census of the Division of Neurosurgery of Philippine General Hospital from March 2020 until December 2021. We identified all pediatric patients with brain tumors and confirmed COVID-19 infection within two weeks of their neuro-oncologic surgery. Their clinical course and outcomes are described herein. RESULTS: Four patients were included in this case series: three had tumors in the cerebellum, one in the pineal region. All of them were boys, with ages ranging from 4 months to 13 years. All tumors were malignant, and two were confirmed to be medulloblastoma after tumor resection. COVID-19 infection was diagnosed by the presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA through a nasopharyngeal swab. Three patients acquired the virus post-operatively, likely from nosocomial transmission. In the remaining patient, it was community-acquired. All the patients had chest radiographs consistent with pneumonia but none had marked elevation of serum inflammatory markers. No patient received remdesivir or tocilizumab. At the time of their presentation, either the COVID-19 vaccine was not yet available in the country, or the patient was not yet eligible for vaccination. One patient died because of brain herniation from tumor progression, two were discharged and eventually underwent adjuvant therapy, and one remained in-hospital as of this writing. DISCUSSION: COVID-19 infection resulted in delays in the management of patients with pediatric CNS tumors. Given the high risk of these patients for potential complications, consensus guidelines must be established to achieve good outcomes and prolong survival.

Acta Medica Philippina ; 55(2):242-246, 2021.
Article in English | Scopus | ID: covidwho-1248622


Objectives. The ongoing Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has disrupted healthcare systems worldwide. This study aimed to document the effect of COVID-19 on osteosarcoma treatment pathways in the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) and determine if there were any delays. Method. A retrospective review of osteosarcoma patients treated at the PGH from January 1, 2019 – January 1, 2020 (pre-COVID-19) was compared to those treated during the COVID-19 pandemic from March 1, 2020 – September 1, 2020. Rates of diagnosed osteosarcoma, admission for chemotherapy, admission for surgery, treatment abandonment, metastatic disease on presentation, 1-year mortality, and amputation were calculated and compared between the two groups. Results. From March to September 2020, 11 newly diagnosed osteosarcoma patients sought consult at the PGH. Only one patient sought consult during the initial 3-4 months of the study, suggesting that patients delayed seeking healthcare during the period of enhanced community quarantine. Patients seen during the pandemic had a higher rate of metastatic disease on presentation, reflecting the delay in diagnosis. Due to COVID-19 restrictions early in the pandemic, osteosarcoma patients were coordinated and referred to outside hospitals for intravenous chemotherapy and surgery. Normalization of services (hospital admissions, limb salvage surgeries) were seen at the later stages of the study, corresponding to the loosening of the quarantine. Conclusions. Osteosarcoma patients experienced delays in seeking consult, diagnosis, and treatment at the PGH due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Early indicators suggest worse outcomes for these patients due to the delays. Strategies employed during the pandemic, such as networking of care and telemedicine, may help in future outbreaks. © 2021 University of the Philippines Manila. All rights reserved.