Decline in Stroke Presentations During COVID-19 Surge

Ken Uchino, Murali K. Kolikonda, Dena Brown, Shivakrishna Kovi, Dana Collins, Zeshaun Khawaja, A. Blake Buletko, Andrew N. Russman, M. Shazam Hussain
2020 Stroke  
We aimed to investigate the acute stroke presentations during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The data were obtained from a health system with 19 emergency departments in northeast Ohio in the United States. Baseline period from January 1 to March 8, 2020, was compared with the COVID period from March 9, to April 2, 2020. The variables included were total daily stroke alerts across the hospital emergency departments, thrombolysis, time to presentation, stroke severity, time
more » ... m door-to-imaging, time from door-to-needle in thrombolysis, and time from door-to-puncture in thrombectomy. The 2 time periods were compared using nonparametric statistics and Poisson regression. Nine hundred two stroke alerts during the period across the emergency departments were analyzed. Total daily stroke alerts decreased from median, 10 (interquartile range, 8-13) during baseline period to median, 8 (interquartile range, 4-10, P=0.001) during COVID period. Time to presentation, stroke severity, and time to treatment were unchanged. COVID period was associated with decrease in stroke alerts with rate ratio of 0.70 (95% CI, 0.60-0.28). Thrombolysis also decreased with rate ratio, 0.52 (95% CI, 0.28-0.97) but thrombectomy remained unchanged rate ratio, 0.93 (95% CI, 0.52-1.62) Conclusions: We observed a significant decrease in acute stroke presentations by ≈30% across emergency departments at the time of surge of COVID-19 cases. This observation could be attributed to true decline in stroke incidence or patients not seeking medical attention for emergencies during the pandemic.
doi:10.1161/strokeaha.120.030331 pmid:32716818 fatcat:njgcuqh6mnegli4sz3fw3yo77m