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Neuro-Oncology ; 24:i149, 2022.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-1956577


Primary central nervous system (CNS) tumors are a leading cause of death and disability amongst pediatric cancer patients. The early identification of symptom onset is critical in preventing diagnostic delays. In 2018, Akron Children's Hospital published data on our response time to brain tumor diagnosis and launched educational programs in an effort to decrease diagnostic delays. The goal was to reduce the total diagnostic interval (TDI) in our patient population and reduce tumor- and treatment-related morbidities for these patients. Our post intervention group (2018-2021) was drastically affected by the numerous hospital changes secondary to the COVID-19 pandemic. We sought to examine the impact of COVID-19 related changes on TDI and attempted to identify groups at potential increased risk for diagnostic delays due to the unique pandemic constraints. A retrospective chart review was performed on patients at Akron Children's Hospital to evaluate both for pre- (diagnosed Jan 1, 2018-February 29, 2020) and post- COVID-19 (diagnosed Mar 1, 2020-June 8, 2021) groups. Both subsets were evaluated statistically and were similar in all respects including demographics, symptomatology, tumor location, tumor type, and survival. The pre-COVID-19 group demonstrated a median TDI of 43.5 days, while the post-COVID-19 group demonstrated a 30-day median. The TDI for low-grade lesions increased from 32 to 59 days and for high-grade lesions decreased from 60 to 27.5 days in the post-pandemic cohort. Overall, this demonstrates a maintained average time to diagnosis for patients despite the pandemic restrictions in place. In addition, the differences in low vs. high-grade lesions suggest that tumors with a more subtle onset of symptoms were disproportionately affected, and highlight a population for intervention during the continued pandemic.