Trends in interventional stroke device utilization during the COVID-19 pandemic

Clin Neurol Neurosurg. 2021 Sep 2;209:106931. doi: 10.1016/j.clineuro.2021.106931. Online ahead of print.


Objectives: The collateral effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on interventional stroke care is not well described. We studied this effect by utilizing stroke device sales data as markers of interventional stroke case volume in the United States.

Methods: Using a real-time healthcare device sales registry, this observational study examined trends in the sales of thrombectomy devices and cerebral aneurysm coiling from the same 945 reporting hospitals in the U.S. between January 22 and June 31, 2020, and for the same months in 2018 and 2019 to allow for comparison. We simultaneously reviewed daily reports of new COVID-19 cases. The strength of association between the cumulative incidence of COVID-19 and procedural device sales was measured using Spearman rank correlation coefficient (CC).

Results: Device sales decreased for thrombectomy (- 3.7%) and cerebral aneurysm coiling (- 8.5%) when comparing 2019-2020. In 2020, thrombectomy device sales were negatively associated with the cumulative incidence of COVID-19 (CC - 0.56, p < 0.0001), with stronger negative correlation during April (CC - 0.97, p < 0.0001). The same negative correlation was observed with aneurysm treatment devices (CC - 0.60, p < 0.001), with stronger correlation in April (CC - 0.97, p < 0.0001).

Conclusions: The decline in sales of stroke interventional equipment underscores a decline in associated case volumes. Future pandemic responses should consider strategies to mitigate such negative collateral effects.

Keywords: Aneurysm; COVID-19; Device sales; Subarachnoid hemorrhage; Thrombectomy.