Background and purposeThe novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-Cov-2), now named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), may change the risk of stroke through an enhanced systemic inflammatory response, hypercoagulable state, and endothelial damage in the cerebrovascular system. Moreover, due to the current pandemic, some countries have prioritized health resources towards COVID-19 management, making it more challenging to appropriately care for other potentially disabling and fatal diseases such as stroke. The aim of this study is to identify and describe changes in stroke epidemiological trends before, during, and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
MethodsThis is an international, multicenter, hospital-based study on stroke incidence and outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic. We will describe patterns in stroke management, stroke hospitalization rate, and stroke severity, subtype (ischemic/hemorrhagic), and outcomes (including in-hospital mortality) in 2020 during COVID-19 pandemic, comparing them with the corresponding data from 2018 and 2019, and subsequently 2021. We will also use an interrupted time series (ITS) analysis to assess the change in stroke hospitalization rates before, during, and after COVID-19, in each participating center.
ConclusionThe proposed study will potentially enable us to better understand the changes in stroke care protocols, differential hospitalization rate, and severity of stroke, as it pertains to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ultimately, this will help guide clinical-based policies surrounding COVID-19 and other similar global pandemics to ensure that management of cerebrovascular comorbidity is appropriately prioritized during the global crisis. It will also guide public health guidelines for at-risk populations to reduce risks of complications from such comorbidities.