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News & Press: Blog

Message from the President Walter Paulus

Monday, April 20, 2020   (0 Comments)
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Dear Colleagues,

Thank you for finding the time to complete the IFCN COVID-19 survey. Your responses have yielded some interesting results. It is not surprising to learn that most formal training programs have been suspended, curtailed, or, in one case, trainees have been sent to the neurological departments to help with stroke care.

Additionally, educational activities such as congresses and other face-to-face meetings have been cancelled, postponed, or moved to virtual events. Please visit the IFCN Meetings and Events page for the latest information regarding convention dates and format. The financial impact to these host organizations may not be known for a while. 

The financial impact of COVID-19 varies widely within the CN community, with some reporting no impact at all; while others, such as private practice clinicians have seen a reduction in elective OPD services. Moreover, neurophysiologists at hospitals who are paid for services-provided are seeing a sharp reduction in their workload.

Due to differing country regulations, hospitals and laboratories are instituting various precautionary measures when allowing standard CN studies to be conducted. Many IFCN member societies have and are posting recommendations for how best to meet patients’ needs. I encourage you to continue to visit your local society website, as well as review the resources provided below. The IFCN website will continue to link to resources and COVID-19 relevant articles. 

Diverse facilities have different protocols for CN testing while dealing with the COVID-19 crisis. Some have added taking a patient’s temperature before proceeding with normal practices. If tests are conducted on non-COVID patients, almost all survey respondents reported that they and their staff have the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) needed to be safe while working. Results show that although some neurophysiology technologists are being called to the front lines to help manage medical issues with COVID-19, most are not. 

The “yes” and “no” survey responses were almost evenly split for the following questions:

  • Are neurophysiologic studies (EEGs, EMGs, other) being requested on COVID-19 patients more or less often than you would have suspected?
  • Do you approach all patients as if they are COVID-19 patients? 
  • In your outpatient practice, are you finding that many of your epilepsy/neuromuscular/sleep or other patients are being affected by COVID-19 more than the general population?

From this short survey, it is challenging to make any global assessment of the impact that COVID-19 is having on the CN community.

In addition to sharing the results from the IFCN COVID-19 survey, this message contains links to resources and journal articles of relevance to the CN community regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. The New England Journal of Medicine, “Death from Covid-19 of 23 Health Care Workers in China”, provides evidence that with sufficient precautions, infectious risks can be very low in healthcare workers. One person who died was an electrocardiography technician, closely associated to those we rely on in our profession, reflecting the need for continuous awareness and protective measures in both infected and non-infected COVID areas.

Providing a forum to exchange knowledge is what the IFCN is here to do; please continue to share your experiences via this Open Blog.

Resources:
Journal articles:

Website resources:

I wish all of us good health and thank you for sharing your experiences via the survey and blog.

Sincerely,
Walter Paulus
IFCN President