Nguyen TN, Haussen DC, Qureshi MM, Chebl A, et al. Decline in subarachnoid haemorrhage volumes associated with the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Stroke Vasc Neurol 2021.
Stroke Vasc Neurol
BACKGROUND: During the COVID-19 pandemic, decreased volumes of stroke admissions and mechanical thrombectomy were reported. The study's objective was to examine whether subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH) hospitalisations and ruptured aneurysm coiling interventions demonstrated similar declines.
METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional, retrospective, observational study across 6 continents, 37 countries and 140 comprehensive stroke centres. Patients with the diagnosis of SAH, aneurysmal SAH, ruptured aneurysm coiling interventions and COVID-19 were identified by prospective aneurysm databases or by International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision, codes. The 3-month cumulative volume, monthly volumes for SAH hospitalisations and ruptured aneurysm coiling procedures were compared for the period before (1 year and immediately before) and during the pandemic, defined as 1 March-31 May 2020. The prior 1-year control period (1 March-31 May 2019) was obtained to account for seasonal variation.
FINDINGS: There was a significant decline in SAH hospitalisations, with 2044 admissions in the 3 months immediately before and 1585 admissions during the pandemic, representing a relative decline of 22.5% (95% CI -24.3% to -20.7%, p<0.0001). Embolisation of ruptured aneurysms declined with 1170-1035 procedures, respectively, representing an 11.5% (95%CI -13.5% to -9.8%, p=0.002) relative drop. Subgroup analysis was noted for aneurysmal SAH hospitalisation decline from 834 to 626 hospitalisations, a 24.9% relative decline (95% CI -28.0% to -22.1%, p<0.0001). A relative increase in ruptured aneurysm coiling was noted in low coiling volume hospitals of 41.1% (95% CI 32.3% to 50.6%, p=0.008) despite a decrease in SAH admissions in this tertile.
INTERPRETATION: There was a relative decrease in the volume of SAH hospitalisations, aneurysmal SAH hospitalisations and ruptured aneurysm embolisations during the COVID-19 pandemic. These findings in SAH are consistent with a decrease in other emergencies, such as stroke and myocardial infarction.
ePub ahead of print