Changed pattern of hospital admission in stroke during COVID-19 pandemic period in Iran: a retrospective study
BACKGROUND: Some previous reports have shown a reduced number of admission in stroke cases during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic period. The present study aimed to investigate this changing pattern and the potential causes behind it at an academic neurology and neurosurgery center in Iran. METHODS: Patients admitted to our center with the diagnosis of ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke, between March 1, 2019, Jun 1, 2019, and the similar 3-month period in 2020 (COVID-19 pandemic period), were compared in terms of clinical characteristics and outcome. Poisson regression was also conducted to assess the correlation between daily admissions and the COVID-19 pandemic period. RESULTS: A total of 210 patients with stroke (ischemic and hemorrhagic) in 2019 were compared with 106 patients in 2020. COVID-19 pandemic period was significantly associated with the decline in the number of daily admissions in ischemic stroke (IRR, 0.51 [95% CI, 0.4-0.64]). A significant reduction (P = 0.003) in time from onset to arrival at hospital from median 12 h [IQR, 5-32] in 2019 to median 6 h [IQR, 4-16] in 2020 was found in ischemic stroke cases. National Institute of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) was significantly increased (P < 0.001) from median 4 [IQR, 2-7] in 2019 to median 9 [IQR, 4-14] in 2020. Glasgow coma scale (GCS) was significantly decreased from 13.9 (SD, 2) in 2019 to 12.8 (SD, 2.9) in 2020 (P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: The present study provided new pieces of evidence regarding the changed pattern of hospital admission in stroke especially the possible reasons for its decline.