Background Unprecedented workflow shifts during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic have contributed to delays in acute care delivery, but whether it adversely affected endovascular thrombectomy metrics in acute large vessel occlusion (LVO) is unknown.
Methods We performed a retrospective review of observational data from 14 comprehensive stroke centers in nine US states with acute LVO. EVT metrics were compared between March to July 2019 against March to July 2020 (primary analysis), and between state-specific pre-peak and peak COVID-19 months (secondary analysis), with multivariable adjustment.
Results Of the 1364 patients included in the primary analysis (51% female, median NIHSS 14 [IQR 7–21], and 74% of whom underwent EVT), there was no difference in the primary outcome of door-to-puncture (DTP) time between the 2019 control period and the COVID-19 period (median 71 vs 67 min, P=0.10). After adjustment for variables associated with faster DTP, and clustering by site, there remained a trend toward shorter DTP during the pandemic (βadj=-73.2, 95% CI −153.8–7.4, Pp=0.07). There was no difference in DTP times according to local COVID-19 peaks vs pre-peak months in unadjusted or adjusted multivariable regression (βadj=-3.85, 95% CI −36.9–29.2, P=0.80). In this final multivariable model (secondary analysis), faster DTP times were significantly associated with transfer from an outside institution (βadj=-46.44, 95% CI −62.8 to – -30.0, P<0.01) and higher NIHSS (βadj=-2.15, 95% CI −4.2to – -0.1, P=0.05).
Conclusions In this multi-center study, there was no delay in EVT among patients treated for intracranial occlusion during the COVID-19 era compared with the pre-COVID era.
Data availability statement
Data are available upon reasonable request. The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request, after clearance by the local ethics committee.
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ALC and JES contributed equally.
Contributors AC and JS were responsible for the drafting and critical review of this manuscript. JS performed the statistical analyses. All authors were responsible for data collection at their respective sites. All authors have reviewed the manuscript, provided editorial feedback, and approve of its submission.
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.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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