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BMJ Open ; 11(6): e045975, 2021 06 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1282097


OBJECTIVES: The threat of a pandemic, over and above the disease itself, may have significant and broad effects on a healthcare system. We aimed to describe the impact of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic (during a relatively low transmission period) and associated societal restrictions on presentations, admissions and outpatient visits. DESIGN: We compared hospital activity in 2020 with the preceding 5 years, 2015-2019, using a retrospective cohort study design. SETTING: Quaternary hospital in Melbourne, Australia. PARTICIPANTS: Emergency department presentations, hospital admissions and outpatient visits from 1 January 2015 to 30 June 2020, n=896 934 episodes of care. INTERVENTION: In Australia, the initial peak COVID-19 phase was March-April. PRIMARY AND SECONDARY OUTCOME MEASURES: Separate linear regression models were fitted to estimate the impact of the pandemic on the number, type and severity of emergency presentations, hospital admissions and outpatient visits. RESULTS: During the peak COVID-19 phase (March and April 2020), there were marked reductions in emergency presentations (10 389 observed vs 14 678 expected; 29% reduction; p<0.05) and hospital admissions (5972 observed vs 8368 expected; 28% reduction; p<0.05). Stroke (114 observed vs 177 expected; 35% reduction; p<0.05) and trauma (1336 observed vs 1764 expected; 24% reduction; p<0.05) presentations decreased; acute myocardial infarctions were unchanged. There was an increase in the proportion of hospital admissions requiring intensive care (7.0% observed vs 6.0% expected; p<0.05) or resulting in death (2.2% observed vs 1.5% expected; p<0.05). Outpatient attendances remained similar (30 267 observed vs 31 980 expected; 5% reduction; not significant) but telephone/telehealth consultations increased from 2.5% to 45% (p<0.05) of total consultations. CONCLUSIONS: Although case numbers of COVID-19 were relatively low in Australia during the first 6 months of 2020, the impact on hospital activity was profound.

COVID-19 , Emergency Service, Hospital/statistics & numerical data , Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data , Telemedicine , Australia/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cohort Studies , Humans , Outpatient Clinics, Hospital/statistics & numerical data , Retrospective Studies , Telemedicine/statistics & numerical data
J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis ; 29(9): 104938, 2020 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-210006


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: The novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-Cov-2), now named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), may change the risk of stroke through an enhanced systemic inflammatory response, hypercoagulable state, and endothelial damage in the cerebrovascular system. Moreover, due to the current pandemic, some countries have prioritized health resources towards COVID-19 management, making it more challenging to appropriately care for other potentially disabling and fatal diseases such as stroke. The aim of this study is to identify and describe changes in stroke epidemiological trends before, during, and after the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: This is an international, multicenter, hospital-based study on stroke incidence and outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic. We will describe patterns in stroke management, stroke hospitalization rate, and stroke severity, subtype (ischemic/hemorrhagic), and outcomes (including in-hospital mortality) in 2020 during COVID-19 pandemic, comparing them with the corresponding data from 2018 and 2019, and subsequently 2021. We will also use an interrupted time series (ITS) analysis to assess the change in stroke hospitalization rates before, during, and after COVID-19, in each participating center. CONCLUSION: The proposed study will potentially enable us to better understand the changes in stroke care protocols, differential hospitalization rate, and severity of stroke, as it pertains to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ultimately, this will help guide clinical-based policies surrounding COVID-19 and other similar global pandemics to ensure that management of cerebrovascular comorbidity is appropriately prioritized during the global crisis. It will also guide public health guidelines for at-risk populations to reduce risks of complications from such comorbidities.

Betacoronavirus/pathogenicity , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Hospitalization/trends , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Practice Patterns, Physicians'/trends , Stroke/epidemiology , Stroke/therapy , COVID-19 , Comorbidity , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Coronavirus Infections/mortality , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Healthcare Disparities/trends , Hospital Mortality/trends , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , Incidence , Interrupted Time Series Analysis , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/mortality , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Prospective Studies , Registries , Retrospective Studies , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2 , Stroke/diagnosis , Stroke/mortality , Time Factors , Treatment Outcome