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Neuro-Oncology ; 24:i74-i75, 2022.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-1956572


INTRODUCTION: High-grade gliomas account for <5% of all pediatric brain tumors with a 20% 5-year overall survival even with maximal safe resection followed by concurrent radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Patients in low-and middle-income countries already face delays and barriers to the treatment they require. The current COVID pandemic has added unique challenges to the delivery of complex, multidisciplinary health services to these patients. METHODOLOGY AND RESULTS: We retrospectively reviewed the records of four patients, ages 2-18 years old, with histologically confirmed high-grade glioma managed in a tertiary government institution from 2020-2021. Three of the patients had a supratentorial tumor and one patient had multiple tumors located in both supra-and infratentorial compartments. Neurosurgical procedures performed were: gross total excision (1), subtotal excision (2), and biopsy (1). The tissue diagnoses obtained were glioblastoma (3) and high-grade astrocytoma (1). Two patients survived and are currently undergoing adjuvant radiotherapy and chemotherapy. The remaining two patients expired: one from hospital-acquired pneumonia and the other from COVID-19 infection. DISCUSSION: Decreased mobility due to lockdowns, the burden of requiring negative COVID-19 results before admission for surgery, reduced hospital capacity to comply with physical distancing measures, the postponement of elective surgery to minimize COVID-19 transmission, physician and nursing shortages due to infection or mandatory isolation of staff, cancellation of face-to-face outpatient clinics, and hesitation among patients and their families to go to the hospital for fear of exposure were found to be common causes of delays in treatment. Also, the redirection of health resources and other government and hospital policies to handle the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in an overall delay in the delivery of health services. In particular, the management of pediatric patients with cancers, especially high-grade gliomas, was significantly disrupted.