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Journal of Neurosurgical Sciences 2021 Aug 03

DOI: 10.23736/S0390-5616.21.05410-2


language: English

The impact of strategies to manage the COVID-19 pandemic on patients with intrathecal baclofen therapy

Manuela D’ERCOLE, Alessandro IZZO, Filomena FUGGETTA, Alessandro RAPISARDA, Benedetta BURATTINI, Nicola MONTANO

Neurosurgery Section, Department of Neuroscience, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario Agostino Gemelli IRCCS, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Rome, iTALY


BACKGROUND: The activities related to intrathecal baclofen (ITB) therapy could not be interrupted at the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic due to possible life-threatening related complications such as withdrawal and over dosage syndromes. In this study we reported the different adopted strategies to manage patients with an ITB implanted infusion pump during the pandemic period and studied the impact of these strategies on experiences reported from patients and their caregivers, assessed through a specific survey.
METHODS: Thirty-five patients (mean age: 43.71 ± 12.33 years) were included. Their clinical and medical data were recorded and observed from March 2020 to March 2021 and different strategies implemented in order to limit patients and providers risk of exposure to COVID-19. The impact of these strategies was assessed trough a survey that was performed after the first two months of pandemic (coinciding with the period of general lockdown) and after one year from the pandemic onset.
RESULTS: We observed a statistically significant improvement of the following items: difficulties in reaching medical clinic (p=0.0072), continuation of physical therapy (p=0.0021) and feelings of anxiety in medical conditions (p=0.0006). Considering the difficulties in communications with the medical staff we obtained optimal scores both at the beginning of pandemic and after one year from the pandemic onset without significant difference.
CONCLUSIONS: Our survey showed that the adopted strategies provided a feeling of confidence and safety among ITB patients and their caregivers during the COVID-19 pandemic. We think that a clear communication is always of paramount importance to manage these patients.

KEY WORDS: COVID-19 pandemic; Intrathecal baclofen therapy; Survey; Outcome

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