Resource: Angels webinar: Stroke care in the time of COVID-19 (links embedded)

Author: Dr Tom Moullaali for the ESO Young Stroke Physicians and Researchers Committee, twitter: @tom_moullaali

Affiliations: Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences, University of Edinburgh; George Institute for Global Health, Sydney.

A recent ESO survey (described by Dr Else Sandset ) of 426 respondents from 55 countries and 6 continents captured the international stroke community’s reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. The shape of stroke care has changed: 80% of respondents thought that at least some of their stroke patients were not receiving usual care, with areas such as acute care and rehabilitation most affected.

In the face of this global pandemic, how can we deliver high quality stroke care for all? And what can we learn from each other in order to prepare for future challenges?

In collaboration with ESO, the Angels webinar ‘Stroke care in the time of COVID-19’ features voices of stroke doctors from some of Europe’s worst affected countries. They address several issues that readers may find useful, whether they are preparing for the first surge, or a second peak in COVID-19 cases in their region:

Do early data support our suspicions that stroke patients are avoiding hospital, or presenting later with more severe symptoms?

Professor Carlos Molina shows data from Catalunya, Spain that support this hypothesis, and describes how the situation evolved during the first surge in COVID-19 cases in his region.

How can we triage patients with suspected stroke, with or without COVID-19 symptoms, acquire appropriate brain imaging, and safely deliver reperfusion therapy?

Professor Claudio Baracchini discusses lessons from the Italian experience; further details can be found here 10.1007/s10072-020-04375-9

How do we rapidly mobilise relevant stakeholders to maintain high quality audit, introduce surveillance of COVID-19-associated stroke, and implement telemedicine for the assessment and treatment of TIA and minor stroke?

Dr David Hargroves discusses the UK experience, including the rapid implementation of national guidelines.

Finally, on behalf of the ESO Young Stroke Physicians and Researchers Committee, I’d like to echo the speaker’s final thoughts at this difficult time: thank you to everyone who is working tirelessly to maintain excellent stroke care for their patients.