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Stroke ; 52(SUPPL 1), 2021.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-1234411

ABSTRACT

Introduction: Reductions in hospital visits for stroke have been seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, partly reflecting perceived risks of in-hospital care. We recently implemented an evidence-based protocol for outpatient rapid evaluation of transient and minor, non-disabling stroke symptoms for patients seeking care 24 hours after symptom onset. We present our early experience through the pandemic. Methods: We conducted a retrospective review of patients evaluated in the RESCUE-TIA (Rapid Evaluation of minor Stroke and CerebrovascUlar Events including TIA) clinic from December 2019- August 2020. The clinic sees patients with TIA symptoms or with fixed, non-disabling deficits seeking care > 24 hours after symptom onset. We introduced telemedicine in March 2020. Magnetic resonance brain and vascular imaging is available within 24 hours of visit. We summarized patient characteristics and quality data with standard descriptive statistics. Results: A total of 21 patients were seen in the RESCUE-TIA clinic, including 15 patients during the height of the pandemic in NY;67% were seen by telemedicine. The median age was 75 years (interquartile range [IQR], 61-82), and 71% were women. The median NIH Stroke Score for patients with minor stroke was 0 (IQR, 0-1), and the median ABCD score for TIA patients was 3 (IQR, 2-3). Median time from symptom onset to evaluation was 3 days (IQR, 2.5-17.5). Median time from evaluation to laboratory diagnostics was 8 hours (IQR, 2-21), and to completion of imaging was 1 day (IQR, 0-5). Outpatient telemetry commenced in a median of 5 days (IQR, 1-9), and echocardiography was completed in a median of 8 days (IQR, 0-10). One patient was referred to the emergency room for a carotid occlusion. Final diagnoses were TIA (n=12), ischemic stroke (n=5), transient global amnesia (n=2), migraine (n=1), and non-aneurysmal, distal subarachnoid hemorrhage (n=1). Secondary prevention was initiated or optimized in 94% of TIA and stroke patients. Recurrent TIA occurred in 1 patient after 67 days, and ischemic stroke occurred in 1 patient 55 days after TIA. Conclusion: Timely outpatient evaluation of patients with recent TIA and minor, non-disabling stroke is feasible and may be useful during the pandemic, especially during emergency room crowding.

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