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PLoS One ; 16(7): e0254958, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1331994


BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic forced a reconsideration of surgical patient management in the setting of scarce resources and risk of viral transmission. Herein we assess the impact of implementing a protocol of more rigorous patient education, recovery room assessment for non-ICU admission, earlier mobilization and post-discharge communication for patients undergoing brain tumor surgery. METHODS: A case-control retrospective review was undertaken at a community hospital with a dedicated neurosurgery and otolaryngology team using minimally invasive surgical techniques, total intravenous anesthesia (TIVA) and early post-operative imaging protocols. All patients undergoing craniotomy or endoscopic endonasal removal of a brain, skull base or pituitary tumor were included during two non-overlapping periods: March 2019-January 2020 (pre-pandemic epoch) versus March 2020-January 2021 (pandemic epoch with streamlined care protocol implemented). Data collection included demographics, preoperative American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) status, tumor pathology, and tumor resection and remission rates. Primary outcomes were ICU utilization and hospital length of stay (LOS). Secondary outcomes were complications, readmissions and reoperations. FINDINGS: Of 295 patients, 163 patients were treated pre-pandemic (58% women, mean age 53.2±16 years) and 132 were treated during the pandemic (52% women, mean age 52.3±17 years). From pre-pandemic to pandemic, ICU utilization decreased from 92(54%) to 43(29%) of operations (p<0.001) and hospital LOS≤1 day increased from 21(12.2%) to 60(41.4%), p<0.001, respectively. For craniotomy cohort, median LOS was 2 days for both epochs; median ICU LOS decreased from 1 to 0 days (p<0.001), ICU use decreased from 73(80%) to 29(33%),(p<0.001). For endonasal cohort, median LOS decreased from 2 to 1 days; median ICU LOS was 0 days for both epochs; (p<0.001). There were no differences pre-pandemic versus pandemic in ASA scores, resection/remission rates, readmissions or reoperations. CONCLUSION: This experience suggests the COVID-19 pandemic provided an opportunity for implementing a brain tumor care protocol to facilitate safely decreasing ICU utilization and accelerating discharge home without an increase in complications, readmission or reoperations. More rigorous patient education, recovery room assessment for non-ICU admission, earlier mobilization and post-discharge communication, layered upon a foundation of minimally invasive surgery, TIVA anesthesia and early post-operative imaging are possible contributors to these favorable trends.

Brain Neoplasms/surgery , COVID-19/prevention & control , Pandemics/prevention & control , Case-Control Studies , Craniotomy/methods , Enhanced Recovery After Surgery , Female , Hospitalization , Humans , Length of Stay , Male , Middle Aged , Minimally Invasive Surgical Procedures/methods , Patient Discharge , Patient Readmission , Postoperative Complications/prevention & control , Postoperative Period , Reoperation/methods , Retrospective Studies
Neurosurg Focus ; 49(6): E17, 2020 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-954005


OBJECTIVE: Neurosurgical education in the US has changed significantly as a consequence of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Institutional social distancing requirements have resulted in many neurosurgical programs utilizing video conferencing for educational activities. However, it is unclear how or if these practices should continue after the pandemic. The objective of this study was to characterize virtual education in neurosurgery and understand how it should be utilized after COVID-19. METHODS: A 24-question, 3-part online survey was administered anonymously to all 117 US neurosurgical residency programs from May 15, 2020, to June 15, 2020. Questions pertained to the current use of virtual conferencing, preferences over traditional conferences, and future inclinations. The Likert scale (1 = strongly disagree, 3 = neutral, 5 = strongly agree) was used. Comparisons were calculated using the Mann-Whitney U-test. Statistical significance was set at 0.05. RESULTS: One-hundred eight responses were recorded. Overall, 38 respondents (35.2%) were attendings and 70 (64.8%) were trainees. Forty-one respondents (38.0%) indicated attending 5-6 conferences per week and 70 (64.8%) attend national virtual conferences. When considering different conference types, there was no overall preference (scores < 3) for virtual conferences over traditional conferences. In regard to future use, respondents strongly agreed that they would continue the practice at some capacity after the pandemic (median score 5). Overall, respondents agreed that virtual conferences would partially replace traditional conferences (median score 4), whereas they strongly disagreed with the complete replacement of traditional conferences (median score 1). The most common choices for the partial replacement of tradition conferences were case conferences (59/108, 55%) and board preparation (64/108, 59%). Lastly, there was a significant difference in scores for continued use of virtual conferencing in those who attend nationally sponsored conferences (median score 5, n = 70) and those who do not (median score 4, n = 38; U = 1762.50, z = 2.97, r = 0.29, p = 0.003). CONCLUSIONS: Virtual conferences will likely remain an integral part of neurosurgical education after the COVID-19 pandemic has abated. Across the country, residents and faculty report a preference for continued use of virtual conferencing, especially virtual case conferences and board preparation. Some traditional conferences may even be replaced with virtual conferences, in particular those that are more didactic. Furthermore, nationally sponsored virtual conferences have a positive effect on the preferences for continued use of virtual conferences.

COVID-19/epidemiology , Education, Distance/standards , Internship and Residency/standards , Neurosurgical Procedures/education , Surveys and Questionnaires , Telecommunications/standards , Adult , Aged , Education, Distance/methods , Female , Humans , Internship and Residency/methods , Male , Middle Aged , Neurosurgical Procedures/methods , Neurosurgical Procedures/standards