The most common neurological disease in the world and one of the leading reasons for mortality is stroke. In addition to its effect on many systems of the body, COVID-19 infection also affects the central nervous system and causes neurological involvement. In our study, we examined the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on stroke by comparing the pre-pandemic and pandemic times. Patients who presented to the emergency department with a stroke during the same time in two different years were included in the study. Patients with clinical conditions mimicking stroke in the differential diagnosis, those with a positive polymerase chain reaction test for COVID-19, and those with COVID-19 pneumonia were excluded from the sample. Patients diagnosed with stroke were examined using clinical, laboratory, and radiological imaging methods. Length of stay in hospital (service or intensive care unit) and mortality rates were recorded. There was no significant difference between the pre-pandemic and pandemic times in relation to the incidence of ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke, sex, and age. Although the number of patients presenting with an ischemic stroke increased during the pandemic time, the rate of acute ischemic stroke patients decreased. In addition, there was a decrease in the rates of patients who underwent intravenous thrombolytic and mechanical thrombectomy. Stroke cases increased during the pandemic time, but the rate of admission for acute ischemic stroke decreased. Because of this reason patients delaying their hospital visits because of pandemics lost their chance of acute treatment.
Keywords: COVID-19, pandemic, effect, stroke
Conflict of interests: The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest in the study.
Financial Disclosure: The authors declare that they have received no financial support for the study.
Ethical approval: The study was approved by Malatya Clinical Research Ethics Committee with the 2020/199 decision number, dated 23.12.2020.
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Ekmekyapar T, Ekmekyapar M, Sahin L.Examining the effects of COVID-19 pandemic on stroke. Med Science. 2022;11(2): 836-40.
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Corresponding Author: Muhammed Ekmekyapar, Malatya Education and Research Hospital, Department of Emergency Medicine, Malatya, Turkey