OBJECTIVE: To assess the impact of ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on epilepsy care in India .
METHODS: We conducted a three-part survey comprising neurologists, people with epilepsy (PWE), and 11 specialized epilepsy centers across India . We sent two separate online survey questionnaires to Indian neurologists and PWE to assess the epilepsy practice, seizures control, and access to care during the COVID-19 pandemic . We collected and compared the data concerning the number of PWE cared for and epilepsy procedures performed during the 6 months periods preceding and following COVID-19 lockdown from epilepsy centers .
RESULTS: The survey was completed by 453 neurologists and 325 PWE . One third of the neurologist reported> 50% decline in outdoor visits by PWE and EEG recordings . The cumulative data from 11 centers showed 65-70% decline in the number of outdoor patients, video-EEG monitoring, and epilepsy surgery . Working in a hospital admitting COVID-19 patients and use of teleconsultation correlated with this decline . Half of PWE had postponed their planned outpatient visits and EEG . Less than 10% of PWE missed their antiseizure medicines (ASM) or had seizures due to the nonavailability of ASM . Seizure control remained unchanged or improved in 92% PWE . Half of the neurologists started using teleconsultation during the pandemic . Only 4% of PWE were afflicted with COVID-19 infection .
CONCLUSIONS: Despite significant decline in the number of PWE visiting hospitals, their seizure control and access to ASMs were not affected during the COVID-19 pandemic in India . Risk of COVID-19 infection in PWE is similar to general population.