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Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Neurosurgical Practice at an Academic Tertiary Referral Center: A Comparative Study

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Battle Plan, Caseload, Case variety, COVID-19, Neurosurgical practice, Pandemic



Background: Neurosurgical services have been affected by the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, and several departments have reported their experiences and responses to the COVID-19 crisis in an attempt to provide insights from which other impacted departments can benefit. The goals of this study were to report the load and variety of emergent/urgent neurosurgical cases after implementing the “Battle Plan” at an academic tertiary referral center during the COVID-19 pandemic and to compare these variables with previous practice at the same institution.

Methods: The clinical data of all patients who underwent a neurosurgical intervention between March 23, 2020, and April 20, 2020, were obtained from a prospectively maintained database. Data of the control group were retrospectively collected from the medical records to compare the types of surgeries/interventions performed by the same neurosurgical service before the COVID-19 pandemic started.

Results: Over a 4-week period during the COVID-19 pandemic, 91 patients underwent emergent, urgent, and essential neurosurgical interventions. Patient screening at teleclinics identified 11 urgent surgical cases. The implementation of the Battle Plan led to a significant decrease in the caseload, and the variation of cases by subspecialty was evident when compared with a control group comprising 214 patients.

Conclusions: Delivery of optimal care and safe practice and education at an academic neurosurgical department can be well maintained with proper execution of crisis protocols. Teleclinics proved to be efficient in screening patients for urgent neurosurgical conditions, but in-person clinic visits may still be necessary for some cases in the immediate postoperative period.


Article available for free at PubMed Central:

Citation / Publisher Attribution

World Neurosurgery, v. 139, p. e872-e876