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An unprecedented wave of patients with acute respiratory failure due to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) disease 2019 (COVID-19) hit emergency departments (EDs) in Lombardy, starting in the second half of February 2020. This study describes the direct and indirect impacts of the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak on an urban major-hospital ED.
Data regarding all patients diagnosed with COVID-19 presenting from February 1 to March 31, 2020, were prospectively collected, while data regarding non-COVID patients presenting within the same period in 2019 were retrospectively retrieved.
ED attendance dropped by 37% in 2020. Two-thirds of this reduction occurred early after the identification of the first autochthonous COVID-19 case in Lombardy, before lockdown measures were enforced. Hospital admissions of non-COVID patients fell by 26%. During the peak of COVID-19 attendance, the ED faced an extraordinary increase in: patients needing oxygen (+239%) or noninvasive ventilation (+725%), transfers to the intensive care unit (+57%), and in-hospital mortality (+309%), compared with the same period in 2019.
The COVID-19 outbreak determined an unprecedented upsurge in respiratory failure cases and mortality. Fear of contagion triggered a spontaneous, marked reduction of ED attendance, and, presumably, some as yet unknown quantity of missed or delayed diagnoses for conditions other than COVID-19.
We used [18F]FDG and PET in patients with obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) to evaluate cerebral metabolic involvement before and after treatment with serotonin-specific reuptake inhibitors.
In 11 untreated, drug-free adults, regional cerebral metabolic rate for glucose (rCMRglu) was compared with that of 15 age-matched normal controls.
rCMRglu values were significantly increased in the cingulate cortex, thalamus and pallidum/putamen complex. After treatment a significant improvement in obsessive–compulsive symptoms on the Y-BOC scale (t = 3.59, P < 0.01) was associated with a significant bilateral decrease of metabolism in the whole cingulate cortex (P < 0.001). Clinical and metabolic data were significantly intercorrelated (Kendall's τ = 0.65; P < 0.01).
These findings indicate that OCD is associated with functional hyperactivity of a selected neuronal network and that treatment to reduce symptoms may have a selective neuromodulatory effect on cingulate cortex.
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