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Research versus reality: Stroke care amid COVID-19 and beyond

Mayank Goyal and Johanna Ospel, both from the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, talk to NeuroNews about the challenges facing stroke care five years after endovascular therapy became the standard. But, as Goyal posits, “Right now, it is difficult to talk about anything at all without talking about COVID-19”, they also discuss the imminent threat to stroke systems and public health; the global pandemic.

“In 2015, when endovascular therapy was demonstrated to be effective, we also faced a [challenging] situation. It was not as extreme as COVID-19, but it was also new. Suddenly a whole network of endovascular therapy centres had to be established, which is a huge effort,” Ospel adds. While Goyal alludes to the current lack of comprehensive data on the prevalence of large vessel occlusion strokes, stressing the need for better data at the population level to optimise stroke systems of care, Ospel argues that more training on simulation models is needed to move the field further.

Yet, with new regulations and protocols being released in rapid succession in the wake of the pandemic, Ospel also asserts that every institution around the world currently faces their own unique challenge. Goyal and Ospel touch on research into COVID-simulation training, and explain the measures their institution has taken to increase efficiency and reduce stress on the system.

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