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1.
CMAJ ; 194(12): E444-E455, 2022 03 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1765549

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Pandemics may promote hospital avoidance, and added precautions may exacerbate treatment delays for medical emergencies such as stroke. We sought to evaluate ischemic stroke presentations, management and outcomes during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: We conducted a population-based study, using linked administrative and stroke registry data from Alberta to identify all patients presenting with stroke before the pandemic (Jan. 1, 2016 to Feb. 27, 2020) and in 5 periods over the first pandemic year (Feb. 28, 2020 to Mar. 31, 2021), reflecting changes in case numbers and restrictions. We evaluated changes in hospital admissions, emergency department presentations, thrombolysis, endovascular therapy, workflow times and outcomes. RESULTS: The study included 19 531 patients in the prepandemic period and 4900 patients across the 5 pandemic periods. Presentations for ischemic stroke dropped in the first pandemic wave (weekly adjusted incidence rate ratio [IRR] 0.54, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.50 to 0.59). Population-level incidence of thrombolysis (adjusted IRR 0.50, 95% CI 0.41 to 0.62) and endovascular therapy (adjusted IRR 0.63, 95% CI 0.47 to 0.84) also decreased during the first wave, but proportions of patients presenting with stroke who received acute therapies did not decline. Rates of patients presenting with stroke did not return to prepandemic levels, even during a lull in COVID-19 cases between the first 2 waves of the pandemic, and fell further in subsequent waves. In-hospital delays in thrombolysis or endovascular therapy occurred in several pandemic periods. The likelihood of in-hospital death increased in Wave 2 (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 1.48, 95% CI 1.25 to 1.74) and Wave 3 (adjusted OR 1.46, 95% CI 1.07 to 2.00). Out-of-hospital deaths, as a proportion of stroke-related deaths, rose during 4 of 5 pandemic periods. INTERPRETATION: The first year of the COVID-19 pandemic saw persistently reduced rates of patients presenting with ischemic stroke, recurrent treatment delays and higher risk of in-hospital death in later waves. These findings support public health messaging that encourages care-seeking for medical emergencies during pandemic periods, and stroke systems should re-evaluate protocols to mitigate inefficiencies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Ischemic Stroke , Alberta/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/therapy , Hospital Mortality , Humans , Ischemic Stroke/diagnosis , Ischemic Stroke/epidemiology , Ischemic Stroke/therapy , Pandemics
2.
Neurology ; 97(18): 880-881, 2021 11 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1496304
3.
Can J Neurol Sci ; : 1-18, 2021 Jul 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1433995

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVE: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been associated with various neurological and atypical head/eyes/ears/nose/throat (HEENT) manifestations. We sought to review the evidence for these manifestations. METHODS: In this systematic review and meta-analysis, we compiled studies published until March 31, 2021 that examined non-respiratory HEENT, central, and peripheral nervous system presentations in COVID-19 patients. We included 477 studies for qualitative synthesis and 59 studies for meta-analyses. RESULTS: Anosmia, ageusia, and conjunctivitis may precede typical upper/lower respiratory symptoms. Central nervous system (CNS) manifestations include stroke and encephalopathy, potentially with brainstem or cranial nerve involvement. MRI studies support CNS para-/postinfectious etiologies, but direct neuroinvasion seems very rare, with few cases detecting Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in the CNS. Peripheral nervous system (PNS) manifestations include muscle damage, Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), and its variants. There was moderate-to-high study heterogeneity and risk of bias. In random-effects meta-analyses, anosmia/ageusia was estimated to occur in 56% of COVID-19 patients (95% CI: 0.41-0.71, I2:99.9%), more commonly than in patients without COVID-19 (OR: 14.28, 95% CI: 8.39-24.29, I2: 49.0%). Neurological symptoms were estimated to occur in 36% of hospitalized patients (95% CI: 0.31-0.42, I2: 99.8%); ischemic stroke in 3% (95% CI: 0.03-0.04, I2: 99.2%), and GBS in 0.04% (0.033%-0.047%), more commonly than in patients without COVID-19 (OR[stroke]: 2.53, 95% CI: 1.16-5.50, I2: 76.4%; OR[GBS]: 3.43,1.15-10.25, I2: 89.1%). CONCLUSIONS: Current evidence is mostly from retrospective cohorts or series, largely in hospitalized or critically ill patients, not representative of typical community-dwelling patients. There remains a paucity of systematically gathered prospective data on neurological manifestations. Nevertheless, these findings support a high index of suspicion to identify HEENT/neurological presentations in patients with known COVID-19, and to test for COVID-19 in patients with such presentations at risk of infection.

4.
Neurology ; 97(11): 555, 2021 09 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1406735
5.
Neurology ; 97(5): 251, 2021 08 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1339396
6.
CMAJ Open ; 9(2): E693-E702, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1278708

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Identification of therapies to prevent severe COVID-19 remains a priority. We sought to determine whether hydroxychloroquine treatment for outpatients with SARS-CoV-2 infection could prevent hospitalization, mechanical ventilation or death. METHODS: This randomized controlled trial was conducted in Alberta during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic without direct contact with participants. Community-dwelling individuals with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection (by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction [RT-PCR] viral ribonucleic acid test) within the previous 4 days, and symptom onset within the previous 12 days, were randomly assigned to oral hydroxychloroquine or matching placebo for 5 days. Enrolment began Apr. 15, 2020. The primary outcome was the composite of hospitalization, invasive mechanical ventilation or death within 30 days. Secondary outcomes included symptom duration and disposition at 30 days. Safety outcomes, such as serious adverse events and mortality, were also ascertained. Outcomes were determined by telephone follow-up and administrative data. RESULTS: Among 4919 individuals with a positive RT-PCR test, 148 (10.2% of a planned 1446 patients) were randomly assigned, 111 to hydroxychloroquine and 37 to placebo. Of the 148 participants, 24 (16.2%) did not start the study drug. Four participants in the hydroxychloroquine group met the primary outcome (4 hospitalizations, 0 mechanical ventilation, 4 survived to 30 days) and none in the placebo group. Hydroxychloroquine did not reduce symptom duration (hazard ratio 0.77, 95% confidence interval 0.49-1.21). Recruitment was paused on May 22, 2020, when a since-retracted publication raised concerns about the safety of hydroxychloroquine for hospitalized patients with COVID-19. Although we had not identified concerns in a safety review, enrolment was slower than expected among those eligible for the study, and cases within the community were decreasing. Recruitment goals were deemed to be unattainable and the trial was not resumed, resulting in a study underpowered to assess the effect of treatment with hydroxychloroquine and safety. INTERPRETATION: There was no evidence that hydroxychloroquine reduced symptom duration or prevented severe outcomes among outpatients with proven COVID-19, but the early termination of our study meant that it was underpowered. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov, no. NCT04329611.


Subject(s)
Ambulatory Care , COVID-19 , Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data , Hydroxychloroquine , Respiration, Artificial/statistics & numerical data , Ambulatory Care/methods , Ambulatory Care/statistics & numerical data , Antiviral Agents/administration & dosage , Antiviral Agents/adverse effects , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/mortality , Early Termination of Clinical Trials , Female , Humans , Hydroxychloroquine/administration & dosage , Hydroxychloroquine/adverse effects , Independent Living/statistics & numerical data , Male , Middle Aged , Mortality , Outcome Assessment, Health Care , Preventive Health Services/methods , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Severity of Illness Index
8.
Stroke ; 52(4): 1527-1531, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1085244

ABSTRACT

Informed consent is a key concept to ensure patient autonomy in clinical trials and routine care. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has complicated informed consent processes, due to physical distancing precautions and increased physician workload. As such, obtaining timely and adequate patient consent has become a bottleneck for many clinical trials. However, this challenging situation might also present an opportunity to rethink and reappraise our approach to consent in clinical trials. This viewpoint discusses the challenges related to informed consent during the COVID-19 pandemic, whether it could be acceptable to alter current consent processes under these circumstances, and outlines a possible framework with predefined criteria and a system of checks and balances that could allow for alterations of existing consent processes to maximize patient benefit under exceptional circumstances such as the COVID-19 pandemic without undermining patient autonomy.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Informed Consent/standards , Pandemics , Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic/standards , Stroke/diagnostic imaging , Stroke/therapy , Aged , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , Male , Stroke/epidemiology , Time Factors
11.
Neurology ; 95(7): 321, 2020 08 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-725987
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