Cross-sectional case-control studies (Blue)
Introduction: The Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has uprooted healthcare systems worldwide, disrupting care and increasing dependence on alternative forms of health care delivery. It is yet to be determined how the pandemic affected neuro-oncology patient outcomes, given that the majority of even “elective” neurosurgical oncology procedures are time-sensitive. This study quantifies changes in neuro-oncological care during the height of the pandemic and investigates patient outcomes in 2020 compared to a historical control. The authors performed a retrospective review of patients with malignant brain tumor diagnoses who were seen at their institution between March 13 and May 1 of 2020 and 2019. Alterations in care, including shift from in-person to telehealth, delays in evaluation and intervention, and treatment modifications were evaluated. These variables were analyzed with respect to brain tumor control and mortality. 112 patients from 2020 to 166 patients from 2019 were included. There was no significant difference in outcomes between the cohorts, despite significantly more treatment delays (p = 0.0160) and use of telehealth (p < 0.0001) in 2020. Patients in 2020 who utilized telehealth visits had significantly more stable tumor control than those who had office visits (p = 0.0124), consistent with appropriate use of in-person visits for patients with progression. The authors concluded that their study showed that use of telehealth and selective alterations in neuro-oncological care during the COVID-19 pandemic did not lead to adverse patient outcomes. This suggests that adaptive physician-led changes were successful and may inform management during the ongoing pandemic, especially with the emergence of the Delta variant.
Norman S, Ramos A, Giantini Larsen AM, Bander E, Goldberg J, Parker W, Juthani RG. Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on neuro-oncology outcomes. J Neurooncol. 2021 Sep 12:1–7. doi: 10.1007/s11060-021-03838-z.