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Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Neurosurgical Practice in India: Results of an Anonymized National Survey.

Research paper by Tejas T Venkataram, Nishant N Goyal, Chinmaya C Dash, Prarthana P PP Chandra, Jitender J Chaturvedi, Amol A Raheja, Raghav R Singla, Jayesh J Sardhara, Bhoopendra B Singh, Ravi R Gupta

Indexed on: 10 Jul '20Published on: 10 Jul '20Published in: Neurology India



Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented challenge for medical professionals throughout the world to tackle the rapidly changing scenario. The objective of this survey was to analyze the change in neurosurgical practice in India following the COVID-19 outbreak and assess its impact on practising neurosurgeons. Between May 7 and 23, 2020, a validated questionnaire was circulated amongst practising neurosurgeons across the country by social media and e-mails, regarding changes in the patterns of patients seen, adaptations made in their practice, effect on surgeries performed, financial burden, and impact on their personal lives. The responses were kept anonymous and were analyzed for correlations between the changes observed and independent factors such as hospital affiliations, teaching professions, and neurosurgical experience. Our survey showed a drastic fall in the number of neurosurgical patients seen in the outpatient department (OPD) as well as the number of surgeries performed. A drop of 76.25% was seen in OPD patients (P = 0.000) and that of 70.59% in surgeries performed (P = 0.000). There was no uniformity among the neurosurgeons in the number of COVID-19 tests being done before elective/emergency surgery and in the use of protective gear while examining patients. Private practitioners were more affected financially as compared to those in the government sector. The pandemic has affected the research work of 53.23% of all respondents, with those in the teaching profession (70.96%) more affected than those in the non-teaching profession (24.67%). Evidence-based policies, screening COVID-19 tests with better sensitivity, and better-quality personal protective equipment kits in adequate numbers are required to protect our medical professionals from COVID-19. Mental health issues among neurosurgeons may also be an issue, this being a high risk speciality and should be closely watched for.