The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on ED referrals and care for stroke patients: A four-year comparative study

Mor Saban, Anna Reznik, Tal Shachar, Rachel Wilf-Miron, Rotem Sivan-Hoffmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Purpose: To examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the presentation and care provided to patients with acute ischemic stroke (AIS) at the emergency department (ED). Method: A retrospective-archive study was conducted between January-April 2020, compared with the parallel months in 2017–2019, in a comprehensive stroke center. We compared the time from symptoms onset to ED arrival, the number of neurologic consultations completed in the ED, patients diagnosed with AIS, patients receiving acute treatment and hospital mortality. Results: During January-April 2020, we found an increase in the proportion of stroke patients arriving at the ED within 6 h of symptom onset: 68–100% per month during the study period, compared with 28–42% per month in the previous years. The number of patients admitted to the ED with suspected AIS declined by 41%, compared to the parallel period in 2019. An increase was noted in the number of patients diagnosed with AIS who underwent treatment, with the number of s endovascular thrombectomy increasing throughout the examined year. Conclusion: During the COVID-19 pandemic, we observed a significant decline in the number of AIS patients admitted to the ED. Paradoxically, we have seen an increase in the proportion of patients who arrived shortly after the onset of symptoms and received timely treatment. Future studies might investigate the medical mechanism and ramifications of this phenomenon.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)230-234
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Critical Care
StatePublished - Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Inc.


  • Acute ischemic stroke
  • COVID-19
  • Critical care
  • Emergency department
  • In-hospital mortality


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