An Italian Neurology Outpatient Clinic Facing SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic: Data From 2,167 Patients

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Objective: Neurological sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection have already been reported, but there is insufficient data about the impact of the pandemic on the management of the patients with chronic neurological diseases. We aim to analyze the effect of COVID-19 pandemic and social restriction rules on these fragile patients.

Methods: Patients with chronic neurologic diseases routinely followed at the outpatient clinic of Gemelli University Hospital, Rome, were assessed for symptoms suggestive of SARS-CoV-2 infection in the pandemic period, consequences of social restrictions, and neurological disease features, concomitant medical conditions, current medical and disease-specific treatments. Data source: a dedicated telephone survey designed to encompass questions on COVID-19 symptoms and on pandemic effects in chronic neurologic conditions.

Results: Overall, 2,167 individuals were analyzed: 63 patients reported contact with COVID-19 positive cases, 41 performed the swab, and 2 symptomatic patients tested positive for COVID-19 (0.09%). One hundred fifty-eight individuals (7%) needed urgent neurological care, deferred due to the pandemic; 641 patients (30%) suspended hospital treatments, physiotherapy or other support interventions; 405 individuals (19%) reported a subjective worsening of neurological symptoms.

Conclusions: In our population, the presence of neurological chronic diseases did not increase the prevalence of COVID-19 infection. Nevertheless, the burden of neurological disorders has been worsened by the lockdown.

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