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Parkinsonism & related disorders


BACKGROUND: The initial COVID-19 pandemic shutdown led to the canceling of elective surgeries throughout most of the USA and Canada.

OBJECTIVE: This survey was carried out on behalf of the Parkinson Study Group (PSG) to understand the impact of the shutdown on deep brain stimulation (DBS) practices in North America.

METHODS: A survey was distributed through RedCap® to the members of the PSG Functional Neurosurgical Working Group. Only one member from each site was asked to respond to the survey. Responses were collected from May 15 to June 6, 2020.

RESULTS: Twenty-three sites participated; 19 (83%) sites were from the USA and 4 (17%) from Canada. Twenty-one sites were academic medical centers. COVID-19 associated DBS restrictions were in place from 4 to 16 weeks. One-third of sites halted preoperative evaluations, while two-thirds of the sites offered limited preoperative evaluations. Institutional policy was the main contributor for the reported practice changes, with 87% of the sites additionally reporting patient-driven surgical delays secondary to pandemic concerns. Pre-post DBS associated management changes affected preoperative assessments 96%; electrode placement 87%; new implantable pulse generator (IPG) placement 83%; IPG replacement 65%; immediate postoperative DBS programming 74%; and routine DBS programming 91%.

CONCLUSION: The COVID-19 pandemic related shutdown resulted in DBS practice changes in almost all North American sites who responded to this large survey. Information learned could inform development of future contingency plans to reduce patient delays in care under similar circumstances.

Medical Subject Headings

Academic Medical Centers; COVID-19; Canada; Deep Brain Stimulation; Health Care Surveys; Humans; Implantable Neurostimulators; Movement Disorders; Neurologists; Neurosurgeons; Parkinson Disease; Postoperative Care; Preoperative Care; Quarantine; Telemedicine; United States

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