OBJECTIVE: To assess the impact of ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on epilepsy care in India.
METHODS: We conducted a three-part survey comprising neurologists, people with epilepsy (PWE), and 11 specialized epilepsy centers across India. We sent two separate online survey questionnaires to Indian neurologists and PWE to assess the epilepsy practice, seizures control, and access to care during the COVID-19 pandemic. We collected and compared the data concerning the number of PWE cared for and epilepsy procedures performed during the 6 months periods preceding and following COVID-19 lockdown from epilepsy centers.
RESULTS: The survey was completed by 453 neurologists and 325 PWE. One third of the neurologist reported >50 % decline in outdoor visits by PWE and EEG recordings. The cumulative data from 11 centers showed 65-70 % decline in the number of outdoor patients, video-EEG monitoring, and epilepsy surgery. Working in a hospital admitting COVID-19 patients and use of teleconsultation correlated with this decline. Half of PWE had postponed their planned outpatient visits and EEG. Less than 10 % of PWE missed their antiseizure medicines (ASM) or had seizures due to the nonavailability of ASM. Seizure control remained unchanged or improved in 92 % PWE. Half of the neurologists started using teleconsultation during the pandemic. Only 4% of PWE were afflicted with COVID-19 infection.
CONCLUSIONS: Despite significant decline in the number of PWE visiting hospitals, their seizure control and access to ASMs were not affected during the COVID-19 pandemic in India. Risk of COVID-19 infection in PWE is similar to general population.
C. Rathore, Baheti, N., Bansal, A. Ram, Jabeen, S. Afshan, Siby Gopinath, Jagtap, S., Patil, S., Suryaprabha, T., Jayalakshmi, S., Ravat, S., Nayak, D. S., Prakash, S., Rana, K., Jaiswal, S. K., Khan, F. R., Murthy, J. Mk, and Radhakrishnan, K., “Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on epilepsy practice in India: A tripartite survey.”, Seizure, vol. 86, pp. 60-67, 2021.