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To outline features of the neurologic examination that can be performed virtually through telemedicine platforms (the virtual neurological examination [VNE]), and provide guidance for rapidly pivoting in-person clinical assessments to virtual visits during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
The full neurologic examination is described with attention to components that can be performed virtually.
A screening VNE is outlined that can be performed on a wide variety of patients, along with detailed descriptions of virtual examination maneuvers for specific scenarios (cognitive testing, neuromuscular and movement disorder examinations).
During the COVID-19 pandemic, rapid adoption of virtual medicine will be critical to provide ongoing and timely neurological care. Familiarity and mastery of a VNE will be critical for neurologists, and this article outlines a practical approach to implementation.
Large prospective observational studies have cast doubt on the common assumption that endovascular thrombectomy (EVT) is superior to intravenous thrombolysis for patients with acute basilar artery occlusion (BAO). The purpose of this study was to retrospectively review our experience for patients with BAO undergoing EVT with modern endovascular devices.
All consecutive patients undergoing EVT with either a second-generation stent retriever or direct aspiration thrombectomy for BAO at our regional stroke center from January 1, 2013 to March 1, 2019 were included. The primary outcome measure was functional outcome at 1 month using the modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score. Multivariable logistic regression was used to assess the association between patient characteristics and dichotomized mRS.
A total of 43 consecutive patients underwent EVT for BAO. The average age was 67 years with 61% male patients. Overall, 37% (16/43) of patients achieved good functional outcome. Successful reperfusion was achieved in 72% (31/43) of cases. The median (interquartile range) stroke onset to treatment time was 420 (270–639) minutes (7 hours) for all patients. The procedure-related complication rate was 9% (4/43). On multivariate analysis, posterior circulation Alberta stroke program early computed tomography score and Basilar Artery on Computed Tomography Angiography score were associated with improved functional outcome.
EVT appears to be safe and feasible in patients with BAO. Our finding that time to treatment and successful reperfusion were not associated with improved outcome is likely due to including patients with established infarcts. Given the variability of collaterals in the posterior circulation, the paradigm of utilizing a tissue window may assist in patient selection for EVT. Magnetic resonance imaging may be a reasonable option to determine the extent of ischemia in certain situations.
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