Neuro-oncology practice guidelines from a high-volume surgeon at the COVID-19 epicenter

Evan Luther, Joshua Burks, Daniel G. Eichberg, Gregory Basil, Katherine Berry, Victor Lu, Ashish Shah, Gurvinder Kaur, Michael Ivan, Ricardo Komotar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: During the coronavirus 19 (COVID-19) pandemic, physicians have begun adapting their daily practices to prevent transmissions. In this study we aimed to provide surgical neuro-oncologists with practice guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic based on objective data from a high-volume brain tumor surgeon at the current COVID-19 epicenter. Methods: All outpatient visits and surgeries performed by the senior author during the COVID-19 pandemic were compared between the initial quarantine (3/23/20–5/4/20), the plateau period following quarantine (5/5/20–6/27/20), and the second peak (6/28/20–7/20/20). In-person and telemedicine visits were evaluated for crossovers. Surgeries were subdivided based on lesion type and evaluated across the same time period. Results: From 3/23/20–7/20/20, 469 clinic visits and 196 surgeries were identified. After quarantine was lifted, face-to-face visits increased (P < 0.01) yet no change in telehealth visits occurred. Of 327 telehealth visits, only 5.8% converted to in-person during the 4-month period with the most cited reason being patient preference (68.4%). Of the 196 surgeries performed during the pandemic, 29.1% occurred during quarantine, 49.0% during the plateau, and 21.9% occurred in the second peak. No COVID negative patients developed symptoms at follow-up. 55.6% were performed on malignant tumors and 31.6% were benign with no difference in case volumes throughout the pandemic. Conclusions: Despite exceptional challenges, we have maintained a high-volume surgical neuro-oncology practice at the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. We provide the protocols implemented at our institution in order to maximize neuro-oncology care while mitigating risk of COVID-19 exposure to both patients and providers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Neuroscience
Volume85
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2021

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus
  • Neuro-oncology
  • Neurosurgery
  • Pandemic
  • Telehealth
  • Telemedicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)

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