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Cureus ; 12(12): e12200, 2020 Dec 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1041135


Introduction COVID-19 has been a gravitating topic in the past months, yet much information about this new virus is to be unraveled. The uncertainties about the virus and its effects have affected a lot of daily life activities. One of these affected activities is emergency department (ED) visits and how this disease might have changed people's perspective on when to go to an emergency. This study aims to assess the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on emergency department visits for neurological conditions. Methods A retrospective record review study was conducted at King Abdul-Aziz University Hospital (KAUH) during the month of July 2020. The study included visits of patients with common neurological conditions (headache, seizures, and weakness), during December 2019 - May 2020 at KAUH. Information obtained from the medical records included demographic data, date of visit, the reason for the visit, history of a similar episode, number of ED visits during the past year, priority given at the ED, length of hospitalization, diagnosis of COVID-19 at KAUH, known chronic diseases, and whether brain imaging was performed with which kind of imaging. Descriptive analysis was conducted to assess the impact of the pandemic on ED visits and statistical analysis (chi-square test) was performed on ED visit data to assess for significance. Results There was a 24% reduction in the number of visits for common neurological symptoms (during the pandemic) time period in comparison to (pre-pandemic). However, some other variables have also shown an increase (during the pandemic) time period. Most notably, brain CT scans, which underwent an 11.3% increase during the pandemic time period (p=0.005). Some variables have shown no significant change, for example, the relationship between the time period and the reason for the visit (p=0.305). Conclusion Multiple factors most likely contributed to the decrease in emergency department visits recorded in this study. One of the main reasons is the fear of catching COVID-19 infection by just vising the hospitals. Considering these findings, it is predominant to raise awareness when patients do need to go to the emergency department due to an acute neurological condition regardless of any pandemic.