Italian Lombardy has had to struggle hard under the current pandemic, which has led to a major rethink in medical care. First and foremost, intensive care beds were to be made available for Covid-19 patients and all surgical activities were to be reduced. But how to deal with other patients who also needed emergency care, e.g. because of a brain tumor? Dr. Alessandro Perin, Director at the NeuroSim Center of the IRCCS Neurological Institute Carlo Besta, and some of his colleagues report how Lombardy has gone its own way to maintain the treatment of brain tumor patients.
Italy and especially the Lombardy were severely affected by COVID-19. The mortality rate in the country is now about 14%.1 At the beginning of the epidemic it quickly became apparent that the number of available ICU beds in the region would be far from sufficient. All strategies therefore aimed to increase the critical care capacity and to reduce all surgical activities, including emergency cases. However, this posed enormous challenges for specialist disciplines such as neurosurgical oncology since patients could not have been treated at all or only under more risky conditions.
The Italian government thus asked for an estimate of the number of neurosurgical patients who would need emergency treatment within two months. Finally, in order to be able to treat these patients in a Covid-19-free environment, four neuro-oncological centers were established. One of these centers, the Hospital Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta, was dedicated to the treatment of all nondeferrable tumor cases in the region.2 The center provided neurosurgeons from Lombardy with the entire neuro-oncological infrastructure, including the equipment for ultrasonic neurosurgery like SONOCA 300 ultrasonic generator and the LEVICS Micro instrument. In this way, even in these difficult times Söring was able to contribute to saving lives with its products.
If you would like to know more about the effort Dr. Alessandro Perin and his colleagues have made on behalf of the "Hub and Spoke" Lombardy Neurosurgery Group, please have a look at the article "May we provide neuro-oncology in difficult times (e.g. COVID-19)?”
In addition, the European Association of Neurosurgical Societies (EANS) has set up a discussion forum for neurosurgeons on its website, where all experiences concerning Covid-19 are collected and later processed.
1 https://bing.com/covid/local/italy, accessed on 09 July 2020