Cross-sectional case-control studies (Blue)
In this article the authors describe the reorganisation carried out during the COVID-19 outbreak at one of the stroke centres in Italy and report on the clinical features and procedural variables of stroke patients in need of endovascular treatment. From 1 March to 10 May 2020, the authors retrospectively analysed data from stroke patients in need of urgent neurointerventional treatment. Clinical presentation, demographics, and clinical history were collected along with procedural variables (door-to-needle time, needle-to-mTiCi time). Each patient underwent a nasal swab (polymerase chain reaction test), clinical screening, and chest CT scan to assess the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Technical success, procedural safety (including staff SARS-CoV-2 infection), and clinical outcome at discharge were retrieved. A comparison was made with the same patient population treated between 1 March and 10 May 2019 to highlight possible differences in the characteristics or outcomes of the patients. One hundred and thirty-six ischaemic stroke patients were admitted to the facility from 1 March to 10 May 2020. Of these, 12 patients (9%) were classified as “high risk” for SARS-CoV-2 infection. Radiological suspicion of COVID-19 was confirmed in all cases by pharyngeal swab. Five SARS-CoV-2 patients (42%) needed endovascular therapy. None of the staff members tested positive for IgG against SARS-CoV-2. Compared to the same period in 2019, an increase in the mean interval from the first symptoms to hospital arrival was observed (p < 0.05). The authors concluded that endovascular treatment of stroke presented several challenges during the COVID-19 outbreak. Within the hospital, special pathways can be used to maintain both procedural safety and procedural times.