Background Little is currently known about the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on neurointerventional (NI) procedural volumes or its toll on physician wellness.
Methods A 37-question online survey was designed and distributed to physician members of three NI physician organizations.
Results A total of 151 individual survey responses were obtained. Reduced mechanical thrombectomy procedures compared with pre-pandemic were observed with 32% reporting a greater than 50% reduction in thrombectomy volumes. In concert with most (76%) reporting at least a 25% reduction in non-mechanical thrombectomy urgent NI procedures and a nearly unanimous (96%) cessation of non-urgent elective cases, 68% of physicians reported dramatic reductions (>50%) in overall NI procedural volume compared with pre-pandemic. Increased door-to-puncture times were reported by 79%. COVID-19-positive infections occurred in 1% of physician respondents: an additional 8% quarantined for suspected infection. Sixty-six percent of respondents reported increased career stress, 56% increased personal life/family stress, and 35% increased career burnout. Stress was significantly increased in physicians with COVID-positive family members (P<0.05).
Conclusions This is the first study designed to understand the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on NI physician practices, case volumes, compensation, personal/family stresses, and work-related burnout. Future studies examining these factors following the resumption of elective cases and relaxing of social distancing measures will be necessary to better understand these phenomena.
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Correction notice This article has been corrected since it was published Online First. Affiliation 8 was corrected to 'Department of Neurology, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley,
Treasure Hills, Harlingen, Texas, USA'
Contributors Concept design: KF, JH. Survey design: KF, JH, MM, AS, GD, TL, PB. Survey distribution: all authors. Manuscript composition: KF, JH, TL, PB, MM, AS, RK. Final approval for article: all authors.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial,or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Ethics approval IRB approval obtained at Wake Forest, #IRB00065891.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data availability statement All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information. All data relevant to the study are included in the article.