Lessons learned in stroke care during COVID-19 pandemic and preparing for future pandemics in the MENA+ region: A consensus statement from the MENA+-SINO

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Background: COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted stroke care services at multiple levels. There was a decline in acute stroke admissions. Fewer interventions have been performed. Increased "door-to-needle times and "door-to-groin puncture" during this pandemic. These factors combined have led to declining in the favoured outcomes of stroke patients' globally. Yet this pandemic permits an opportunity for higher preparedness for future pandemics.
Objectives and methods: This paper aims to shed light on the main lessons learned in the field of stroke care during the first wave of COVID-19 pandemic. Here we are presenting proposals and initiatives for better preparedness in future similar emergencies. These proposals are based primarily on literature review of COVID-19 publications, as well as the first-hand experience gained during the first wave at the regional level. In addition to the consensus and collective ride of stroke experts in the Middle East North Africa Stroke and Interventional Neurotherapies Organization (MENA+-SINO) and interaction and collaboration with international stroke specialists from the Stroke World Organization (WSO), European Stroke Organization (ESO) and stroke and COVID-19 papers authors.
Conclusion: Stroke care is very complex, particularly in the initial hours after onset of symptoms. A successful outcome requires very close collaboration between clinical personnel from multiple specialties. Preparedness for future pandemics requires the improvement of care plans that allow for rapid assessment of stroke patients and ensuring that regular 'mock exercises' familiarize quintessential services that care for the stroke patients.


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Journal of the Neurological Sciences