MONDAY, May 18, 2020 (HealthDay News) — From a prepandemic to early-pandemic epoch, there was a decrease in the use of imaging for the evaluation of stroke, according to a research letter published online May 8 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Akash P. Kansagra, M.D., from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and colleagues used the numbers of patients in a commercial neuroimaging database associated with the RAPID software platform as a surrogate for the quantity of care that hospitals provided to patients with acute ischemic stroke. Data for 231,753 patients who underwent imaging processed with RAPID software in 856 U.S. hospitals between July 1, 2019, and April 27, 2020, were included.

The researchers found that in March 2020, there was a decrease in the daily counts of unique patients who underwent imaging. The mean daily counts per hospital of patients in the RAPID system in an ostensibly prepandemic epoch (Feb. 1 to 29, 2020) were compared to the mean daily counts during the early pandemic (March 26 to April 8, 2020). From the prepandemic to the early-pandemic epoch, there was a 39 percent decrease in the number of patients who underwent imaging, from 1.18 to 0.72 patients per day per hospital.

“We found that the collateral effect of COVID-19 was a decrease of approximately 39 percent in the numbers of patients who received evaluations for acute stroke between two recent epochs in U.S. hospitals,” the authors write.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the vendor of the RAPID software platform.

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