Background The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is still spreading across the world. Although the pandemic has an all-round impact on medical work, the degree of its impact on endovascular thrombectomy (EVT) for patients with acute ischemic stroke (AIS) is unclear.
Methods We continuously included AIS patients with large artery occlusion who underwent EVT in a comprehensive stroke center before and during the Wuhan shutdown. The protected code stroke (PCS) for screening and treating AIS patients was established during the pandemic. The efficacy and safety outcomes including the rate of successful reperfusion (defined as modified Thrombolysis In Cerebral Infarction (mTICI) graded 2b or 3) and time intervals for reperfusion were compared between two groups: pre-pandemic and pandemic.
Results A total of 55 AIS patients who received EVT were included. The baseline characteristics were comparable between the two groups. The time from hospital arrival to puncture (174 vs 125.5 min; p=0.002) and time from hospital arrival to reperfusion (213 vs 172 min; p=0.047) were significantly prolonged in the pandemic group compared with the pre-pandemic group. The rate of successful reperfusion was not significantly different between the two groups (85.7% (n=18) vs 88.2% (n=30); OR 0.971, 95% CI 0.785 to 1.203; p=1.000).
Conclusion The results of this study suggest a proper PCS algorithm which combines the COVID-19 screening and protection measures could decrease the impact of the disease on the clinical outcomes of EVT for AIS patients to the lowest extent possible during the pandemic.
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