Impact of COVID-19 on an Academic Neurosurgery Department: The Johns Hopkins Experience

Adham M. Khalafallah, Adrian E. Jimenez, Ryan P. Lee, Jon D. Weingart, Nicholas Theodore, Alan R. Cohen, Rafael J. Tamargo, Judy Huang, Henry Brem, Debraj Mukherjee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Objective: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a disruptive pandemic that has continued to test the limits of health care system capacities. It is important to highlight the specific challenges facing US neurosurgery during these difficult circumstances. In the present study, we have described our neurosurgery department's unique experience during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: We analyzed the following data points both before and during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic: the number of patients infected with COVID-19 at our institution, changes in neurosurgical operative workflow, changes in neurosurgical outpatient and inpatient clinic workflows, resident redeployment statistics and changes in call schedules, and changes in neurosurgical education. Results: At our institution, the adult surgery numbers decreased from 120 during the week of March 4–11, 2020 (before the World Health Organization had classified the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic) to 17 during the week of April 13–17, 2020. The number of pediatric surgeries decreased from 15 to 3 during the same period. Significantly more surgeries were cancelled than were delayed (P < 0.0001). A drastic decline occurred in the number of in-person neurosurgery clinic visits (97.12%) between March and April 2020 (P = 0.0020). The inpatient census declined from mid-March to mid-April 2020 by 44.68% compared with a 4.26% decline during the same period in 2019 (P < 0.0001). Finally, neurosurgery education has largely shifted toward video-conferencing sessions rather than in-person sessions. Conclusion: By detailing our experience during the COVID-19 pandemic, we hope to have provided a detailed picture of the challenges facing neurosurgery within an academic medical center.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e877-e884
JournalWorld neurosurgery
StatePublished - Jul 2020


  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus
  • Education
  • Neurosurgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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