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Neuro-Oncology ; 24:i166, 2022.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-1956581


INTRODUCTION: Unplanned reoperations and mortality within 30 days are important indicators when evaluating the quality of care provided by surgical systems. We reviewed these outcomes among children with primary central nervous system (CNS) tumors treated during the COVID- 19 pandemic. METHODS: This is a retrospective study of all pediatric patients who underwent neurosurgery for primary CNS tumors at the Philippine General Hospital, the national university hospital, from January 1, 2020 until December 31, 2021. Their clinical presentation, perioperative course, and outcomes were analyzed. During this time, our hospital concurrently served as a COVID-19 referral center, thus, the workforce was restructured, and resources were reallocated to care for COVID-19 patients. RESULTS: A total of 92 pediatric patients with CNS tumors underwent 140 neurosurgical operations during the study period. Two-thirds of the patients were males, and mean age was 9.3 ± 5.0 years (range: 3 months to 18 years). Average preoperative length of stay was 3.9 ± 2.6 days. Tumor resection was performed in 73 patients (79%). Most common histologic diagnoses were medulloblastoma (20%) and low-grade glioma including pilocytic astrocytoma (20%). Overall, the 30-day mortality and unplanned reoperation rates were 12% and 22%, respectively. Eight patients died from brain herniation and/or tumor progression. Reasons for unplanned reoperations were postoperative hydrocephalus (20%), infection (9%), hematoma (7%), and tumor residual (3%). DISCUSSION: Worldwide, the COVID-19 pandemic has altered hospital protocols and shifted resources considerably. The observed high rates of death and reoperation are likely due to delays in seeking care leading to worse neurologic status at presentation, delays in performing essential surgery within the hospital, and shortage of health workers providing specialist care. It is important to periodically assess perioperative outcomes to improve the quality of surgical care given to children with CNS tumors, who remain a vulnerable population during the COVID-19 pandemic.