Background and purpose: There are concerns that the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak negatively affects the quality of care for acute cardiovascular conditions. We assessed the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on trends in hospital admissions and workflow parameters of acute stroke care in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Methods: We used data from the three hospitals that provide acute stroke care for the Amsterdam region. We compared two 7-week periods: one during the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak (March 16th–May 3th 2020) and one prior to the outbreak (October 21st–December 8th 2019). We included consecutive patients who presented to the emergency departments with a suspected stroke and assessed the change in number of patients as an incidence-rate ratio (IRR) using a Poisson regression analysis. Other outcomes were the IRR for stroke subtypes, change in use of reperfusion therapy, treatment times, and in-hospital complications. Results: During the COVID-19 period, 309 patients presented with a suspected stroke compared to 407 patients in the pre-COVID-19 period (IRR 0.76 95%CI 0.65–0.88). The proportion of men was higher during the COVID-19 period (59% vs. 47%, p < 0.001). There was no change in the proportion of stroke patients treated with intravenous thrombolysis (28% vs. 30%, p = 0.58) or endovascular thrombectomy (11% vs 12%, p = 0.82) or associated treatment times. Seven patients (all ischemic strokes) were diagnosed with COVID-19. Conclusion: We observed a 24% decrease in suspected stroke presentations during the COVID-19 outbreak, but no evidence for a decrease in quality of acute stroke care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)403-408
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of neurology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


  • Acute care
  • Quality
  • Reperfusion
  • Stroke

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