Treat covid-19, but not only covid-19: Stroke matters as well

Petra Sedova, Robert D. Brown ., Tomas Bryndziar, Jiri Jarkovsky, Ales Tomek, Martin Sramek, Ondrej Skoda, Tereza Sramkova, Simona Littnerova, Robert Mikulik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: During the COVID-19 pandemic, studies reported less number of hospitalizations for acute stroke and reduction in the use of recanalization treatments. This study analyzes nationwide data on stroke admissions and management in the Czech Republic during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: We compared the early COVID- 19 pandemic (March-May 2020) with the pre-pandemic period (January-February 2020 and March-May 2019): (a) the National Register of Reimbursed Health Services provided volume of all admissions for subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH), and ischemic stroke (IS), and volume of recanalization treatments (intravenous thrombolysis [IVT] and mechanical thrombectomy [MT]); (b) Registry of Stroke Care Quality provided door-to-needle time (DNT), onset-to-door time (ODT), and stroke severity at admission (National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale, NIHSS) for IS. Results: During the pandemic (March-May 2020), the peak number of COVID-19 patients treated in Czech hospitals was 39 per million. In March-May 2020 versus March- May 2019, hospital admissions decreased as follows: stroke overall by 14% (p < 0.001), IS by 14% (p < 0.001), SAH by 15% (p = 0.07), and ICH by 7% (p = 0.17). The mean age was 74 years versus 74 years (p = 0.33), and 52% versus 51% were men (p = 0.34). The volumes of IVT and MT decreased by 14% (p = 0.001) and 19% (p = 0.01), respectively. The proportions of all IS patients receiving IVT or MT remained unchanged, with, respectively, 17% versus 17% receiving IVT (p = 0.86) and 5% versus 5% receiving MT (p = 0.48). DNT and ODT were 24 versus 25 min (p = 0.58) and 168 versus 156 min (p = 0.23), respectively. NIHSS at admission did not differ (6 vs. 6; p = 0.54). Conclusion: Even with a low burden of COVID-19 during the first wave and no change in organization and logistics of stroke services, stroke admissions and volume of recanalization treatments decreased. Public health communication campaigns should encourage people to seek emergency medical care for stroke symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)52-59
Number of pages8
JournalCerebrovascular Diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2022


  • COVID-19
  • Czech Republic
  • Intravenous thrombolysis
  • Mechanical thrombectomy
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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