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2.
Neuro-Oncology ; 24:i166, 2022.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-1956580

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Central nervous system (CNS) tumors account for 20 - 30% of all childhood cancers. The Philippines is a lower-middle income country, wherein brain centers are located mostly in urban areas. We aimed to identify challenges that pediatric patients with CNS tumors encountered during the COVID-19 pandemic, which aggravated delays in their diagnosis and treatment. METHODS: This is a retrospective review of all pediatric patients who underwent neurosurgery for CNS tumors at the Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center, a tertiary referral center, from January 2020 until December 2021. We summarized patients' demographic data, clinical course, and perioperative outcomes. RESULTS: A total of 38 pediatric patients underwent neuro-oncologic surgery in our center during the study period. There were 18 males and 20 females, with a mean age of 7.5 ± 4.9 years. Tumor was biopsied and/or resected in 35 cases (92%). The most common histologic diagnoses were medulloblastoma (n=8, 21%) and high-grade glioma/glioblastoma (n=5, 13%). Median preoperative length of stay and total length of stay were 10 (IQR: 17) and 28 (IQR 33.75), respectively. There was a high perioperative mortality rate in 2020 (71%), but this decreased to 20% in 2021. Six patients (16%) developed COVID-19 infection during the perioperative period. There were nine patients (24%) who had documented tumor progression because of delays in adjuvant therapy. DISCUSSION: Aside from geographic barriers and catastrophic health expenditure, the major challenges that disrupted the care of pediatric patients with CNS tumors in our center during the COVID-19 pandemic were delays in neuroimaging for diagnosis, unavailability of operating room slots, deficiency in critical care beds, and workforce shortage due to COVID-19 infection among health workers. Health care systems must adapt to the changes brought about by the pandemic, so that children with CNS tumors are not neglected.

3.
Neuro-Oncology ; 24:i74-i75, 2022.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-1956572

ABSTRACT

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.

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