The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Stroke Council Leadership has released the “Temporary Emergency Guidance to US Stroke Centers During the COVID-19 Pandemic”.
The Stroke Council Leadership recommends that US stroke centers:
• Adhere to treatment guidelines for individuals to ensure appropriate stroke care is provided to the extent possible during the crisis;
• Seek ways to minimize the use of scarce personal protective equipment (PPE) and reduce the number of team members responding to emergency stroke patients;
• Increase the use of interactive videoconferencing in the remote delivery of acute stroke care, also known as telestroke;
• Follow their local health department, Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization guidelines on hand washing, use of PPE and COVID-19 testing and evaluation;
• Continue to deliver multidisciplinary, collaborative stroke care to individuals for a unified Stroke System of Care;
• Ask medical personnel who are exposed or contract COVID-19 to self-quarantine as appropriate.
The Stroke Council Leadership noted, “While these recommendations have not yet undergone the traditional rigorous process of development, refinement and peer review … we acknowledge the mounting concern regarding optimal stroke care during the COVID-19 pandemic among vascular neurologists and those clinicians who care for individuals with stroke. We issue this temporary statement as an interim stopgap opinion, pending a more thorough and considered process.”
The Stroke Council Leadership will continue to collect patient protocols and best practices and to evaluate and update the statement continuously during the crisis.
• Coronavirus – precautions and information for all
• COVID-19 Content: An AHA Compendium – resources for health care professionals
• Additional editorials on stroke care during COVID-19, recently published in Stroke
Diana Castro, MD
Ryan Verity, MD; Andrew Kirk, MD, FRCPC; and Gary Hunter, MD, FRCPC, CSCN(EEG)