A Chilean Experience of Telestroke in a COVID-19 Pandemic Year
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Background and purpose: Telemedicine for stroke patients' care (telestroke [TS]) has grown notably in recent decades and may offer advantages during health crisis. Hospital admissions related to stroke have decreased globally during the COVID-19 pandemic, but scarce information is available regarding the effect of COVID-19 in TS. Using a population-based TS registry, we investigated the impact of the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic throughout our TS network in Santiago, Chile. Methods: Stroke codes evaluated after the onset of COVID-19 restrictions in Chile (defined as March 15, 2020) were compared with those evaluated in 2019. We analyzed differences between number of stroke codes, thrombolysis rate, stroke severity, and time from the stroke onset to hospital admission. Results: We observed that the number of stroke codes and the number of patients undergoing reperfusion therapy did not change significantly (p = 0.669 and 0.415, respectively). No differences were found with respect to the median time from the stroke onset to admission (p = 0.581) or in National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) scores (p = 0.055). The decision-making-to-needle time was significantly shorter in the COVID-19 period (median 5 min [IQR 3-8], p < 0.016), but no significant changes were found at the other times. Conclusions: This study demonstrates the potential of adapting TS to extreme situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the importance of establishing networks that facilitate patient access to quality treatments.
COVID-19 , Pandemic disease , Stroke , Telemedicine , Telestroke , Thrombolysis
Delfino C, Mazzon E, Cavada G, Muñoz Venturelli P, Brunser AM, Jurado Díaz F, Cisternas LL, Rocha Jiménez D, Arévalo Valdivia M, Rojas Torres D, Mansilla E. A Chilean Experience of Telestroke in a COVID-19 Pandemic Year. Cerebrovasc Dis. 2022 Apr 7:1-5. doi: 10.1159/000523920