COVID-19 and Neurosurgery Consultation Call Volume at a Single Large Tertiary Center With a Propensity-Adjusted Analysis
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly affected patient care across specialties. Ramifications for neurosurgery include substantial disruptions to surgical training and changes in nonurgent patient presentations to the emergency department. This study quantifies the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the number of emergency department patients who were referred to the neurosurgery department for further consultation and treatment and identifies and describes trends in the characteristics of these visits. Methods: A retrospective review was performed of neurosurgical consultations at a single high-volume institution for 28 call-day periods before and after the official announcement of the pandemic. Primary outcomes included consultations per call-day, patient presentation category, and patient admission. Results: The neurosurgical service was consulted regarding 629 patients (367 male patients) during the study period, with 471 (75%) and 158 (25%) patients presenting before and after the announcement of the COVID-19 pandemic, respectively. The mean number of neurosurgical consultations per call-day was significantly lower in the COVID-19 period (5.6 consultations) compared with the pre–COVID-19 period (16.8 consultations) (P < 0.001). After adjusting for patient demographics, the rate of presentation for general nonurgent concerns, such as back pain, headaches, and other general weaknesses, significantly decreased (odds ratio [95% confidence interval], 0.60 [0.47–0.77], P < 0.001). Conclusions: Neurosurgical consultations significantly decreased after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a substantially lower overall number of consultations necessitating operative interventions. Furthermore, the relative number of patients with nonemergent neurological conditions significantly decreased during the pandemic.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Koester, Stefan W.; Catapano, Joshua S.; Ma, Kevin L.; Kimata, Anna R.; Abbatematteo, Joseph M.; Walker, Corey T.; Cole, Tyler S.; Whiting, Alexander C.; Ponce, Francisco A.; and Lawton, Michael T., "COVID-19 and Neurosurgery Consultation Call Volume at a Single Large Tertiary Center With a Propensity-Adjusted Analysis" (2021). Neurosurgery. 1397.