Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, studies have shown a reduction in the number of stroke hospitalizations in the US and around the world. Several studies note fear of exposure as a contributing factor for this decline and concerns regarding stroke care. This study investigated the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on stroke epidemiology and care of stroke patients in the UTMB Health System.
UTMB Stroke Program data was used to evaluate the following categories: modes of transportation, time to intravenous thrombolytic therapy (tPa), duration of hospital stays, and pre/post discharge modified Rankin scores (mRS). Two-tailed Paired Sample T-tests were conducted to extrapolate trends prior/during the COVID-19 pandemic and/or the rise of the delta variant specifically.
The analysis indicated a significant increase in EMS from home/scene transports (P < 0.0001) during the COVID-19 pandemic compared to pre-pandemic, and higher pre-mRS prior to the rise of delta variant cases in Texas (P < 0.0001).
A rise in EMS transports rather than private/taxi transports may be indicative of limited means of transportation in Galveston County and/or the reluctance of individuals to travel to the hospital due to fear of exposure. Such fear may increase total hospital visits, as symptoms become more severe before medical attention is sought, which was shown. A significant decrease in pre-mRS and no difference in time to IV tPa, duration of hospital stays, or post-mRS may indicate optimal stroke care despite challenges imposed by COVID-19 variants.
What will audience learn from your presentation?
- Understand how COVID-19 influenced stroke epidemiology and care at UTMB
- Discuss how COVID-19 influenced stroke care in marginalized communities
- Analyze the impact of COVID-19 on hospital arrival modes of transportation
- Analyze the impact of COVID-19 variants on stroke care