Neurosurgical Practice During the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) Pandemic: A Worldwide Survey

Marco M. Fontanella, Lucio De Maria, Luca Zanin, Giorgio Saraceno, Lodovico Terzi di Bergamo, Franco Servadei, Bipin Chaurasia, Alessandro Olivi, Peter Vajkoczy, Karl Schaller, Paolo Cappabianca, Francesco Doglietto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Objective: The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic has consistently changed medical practice throughout specialties, regardless of their contribution in facing the disease itself. We surveyed neurosurgeons worldwide to investigate the situation they are experiencing. Methods: A 17-question, web-based survey was administered to neurosurgeons worldwide through the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies and the Neurosurgery Cocktail from March 28 to April 5, 2020, by web link or e-mail invitation. Questions were divided into 3 subgroups: general information, health system organization, and institutional plans for the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak. Collected data were initially elaborated using SurveyMonkey software. Country-specific data were extracted from the World Health Organization website. Statistical analysis was performed using R, version 3.6.3. Results: Of the 446 respondents, most were from Italy (20%), India (19%), and Pakistan (5%). Surgical activity was significantly reduced in most centers (79%) and dedicated in-hospital routes were created for patients with SARS-CoV-2 (58%). Patient screening was performed only when there were symptoms (57%) and not routinely before surgery (18%). The preferred methods included a nasopharyngeal swab and chest radiograph. Health professionals were rarely screened (20%) and sometimes, even if SARS-CoV-2 positive, were asked to work if asymptomatic (26%). Surgical planning was changed in most institutions (92%), whereas indications were modified for nonurgent procedures (59%) and remained unchanged for subarachnoid hemorrhages (85%). Conclusions: Most neurosurgeons worldwide reported work reorganization and practices that respond to current international guidelines. Differences in practice might be related to the perception of the pandemic and significant differences in the health systems. Sharing data and experiences will be of paramount importance to address the present moment and challenges in the near future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e818-e826
JournalWorld Neurosurgery
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020


  • COVID-19
  • Neurosurgery
  • Survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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