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Neuroepidemiology ; 55(5): 354-360, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1301755


INTRODUCTION: The COVID-19 pandemic overwhelmed health-care systems worldwide, and medical care for other acute diseases was negatively impacted. We aimed to investigate the effect of the COVID-19 outbreak on admission rates and in-hospital care for acute stroke and transient ischemic attack (TIA) in Israel, shortly after the start of the pandemic. METHODS: We conducted a retrospective observational study, based on data reported to the Israeli National Stroke Registry from 7 tertiary hospitals. All hospital admissions for acute stroke or TIA that occurred between January 1 and April 30, 2020 were included. Data were stratified into 2 periods according to the timing of COVID-19 restrictions as follows: (1) "pre-pandemic" - January 1 to March 7, 2020 and (2) "pandemic" - March 8 to April 30, 2020. We compared the weekly counts of hospitalizations between the 2 periods. We further investigated changes in demographic characteristics and in some key parameters of stroke care, including the percentage of reperfusion therapies performed, time from hospital arrival to brain imaging and to thrombolysis, length of hospital stay, and in-hospital mortality. RESULTS: 2,260 cases were included: 1,469 in the pre-COVID-19 period and 791 in the COVID-19 period. Hospital admissions significantly declined between the 2 periods, by 48% for TIA (rate ratio [RR] = 0.52; 95% CI 0.43-0.64) and by 29% for stroke (RR = 0.71; 95% CI 0.64-0.78). No significant changes were detected in demographic characteristics and in most parameters of stroke management. While the percentage of reperfusion therapies performed remained unchanged, the absolute number of patients treated with reperfusion therapies seemed to decrease. Higher in-hospital mortality was observed only for hemorrhagic stroke. CONCLUSION: The marked decrease in admissions for acute stroke and TIA, occurring at a time of a relatively low burden of COVID-19, is of great concern. Public awareness campaigns are needed as patients reluctant to seek urgent stroke care are deprived of lifesaving procedures and secondary prevention treatments.

COVID-19 , Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data , Stroke/therapy , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Registries , Retrospective Studies
Intern Emerg Med ; 16(8): 2261-2268, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1111348


The emergence of Covid-19 has caused a pandemic and is a major public health concern. Covid-19 has fundamentally challenged the global health care system in all aspects. However, there is a growing concern for the subsequent detrimental effects of continuing delays or adjustments on time-dependent treatments for Covid-19 negative patients. Patients arriving to the ED with STEMIs and acute CVA are currently presumed to have delays due to Covid-19 related concerns. The objective of this paper is to evaluate the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic on non-Covid19 patients in emergency care settings. We conducted a retrospective study from February 2020 to April 2020 and compared this to a parallel period in 2019 to assess the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on three distinct non-Covid-19 ED diagnosis that require immediate intervention. Our primary outcome measures were time to primary PCI in acute STEMI, time to fibrinolysis in acute CVA, and time to femoral hip fracture correction surgery. Our secondary outcome measure included a composite outcome of length of stay in hospital and mortality. From 1 February 2020 to 30 April 2020, the total referrals to ED diagnosed with STEMI, Hip fracture and CVA of which required intervention were 197 within Covid-19 group 2020 compared to 250 in the control group 2019. Mean duration to intervention (PCI, surgery and tPA, respectively) did not differ between COVID-19 group and 2019 group. Among femoral hip fracture patients', the referral numbers to ED were significantly lower in Covid-19 era (p = 0.040) and the hospitalization stay was significantly shorter (p = 0.003). Among CVA patients', we found statistical differences among the number of referrals and the patients' age. Coping with the Covid-19 pandemic presents a challenge for the general healthcare system. Our results suggest that with proper management, despite the obstacles of isolation policies and social distancing, any negative impact on the quality of health care for the non-Covid-19 patients can be minimized in the emergency department setting.

COVID-19/epidemiology , Emergency Medical Services/trends , Emergency Service, Hospital/trends , Health Services Accessibility/trends , Time-to-Treatment/trends , Delayed Diagnosis/trends , Humans , Retrospective Studies
The Israel Medical Association journal : IMAJ ; 8(22):455-456, 2020.
Article in English | WHO COVID | ID: covidwho-723021