We are living in a unique moment in modern times when different sectors of society have come together to fight a common enemy: the new coronavirus and its impacts on health and society. In such a delicate situation, solidarity emerges as one of the main weapons against the pandemic. Volunteers and companies, including Neurovirtual, have been mobilizing to assist institutions or people in vulnerable conditions. The company donated a electroencephalograph, the BWIII EEG Plus ICU Brain Monitor, to the Cardioinfantil Foundation of Bogotá (Colombia).
Neurovirtual News spoke with Dr. Jesús Hernán Rodríguez, a neurologist and neurophysiologist, coordinator of the neurology service and of the neurophysiology laboratory at the Cardioinfantil Foundation, and with Paula Saavedra, a nurse at the same institution, to understand how Cardioinfantil has been facing the challenges of the current moment.
The Cardioinfantil Foundation
The Cardioinfantil Foundation is a Colombian institution of high complexity that has provided care, diagnosis, and free treatment to children with cardiovascular problems since 1973. It offers many services, mainly dedicated to cardiovascular surgery, oncology, and transplants, in addition to other services, such as the neurophysiology laboratory.
Covid-19 and neurological changes
Currently, the foundation’s neurophysiology laboratory has the capacity to serve 100 patients per month, which is equivalent to a thousand hours of EEG and videotelemetry in babies, children, and adults. Of the total number of patients examined, about 30% enter the positive Covid-19 registry, usually also showing pathologies that affect the brain, such as encephalopathies, acute ischemic injuries, seizures, or encephalitis.
Having equipment that makes the diagnosis more agile is essential for taking additional measures to the treatment and to favor the recovery of patients. “Electroencephalographic monitoring with video provides important information about patients who are under sedation, allowing us to check immediate and continuous brain activity and make decisions treatment more quickly,” explains Dr. Rodríguez.
Tests carried out in the foundation’s neurophysiology laboratory relate Covid-19 to encephalopathy, a brain dysfunction resulting from changes caused by the virus, capable of altering the state of consciousness of the patient. “It is not possible to determine the occurrence of sequelae, since the majority of patients also have respiratory changes with the need for orotracheal intubation, making it difficult to have an in- depth neurological assessment of their consciousness,” says the neurologist. However, he emphasizes that most of the patients who emerged from the crisis did not show significant changes in their neurological function.
Changes due to the pandemic
The evolution of the pandemic caused changes in the routines and dynamics of the health institution, mainly focused on the protective measures adopted, both for the patient and for the professionals who perform the procedures. In the neurophysiology service, two teams are assigned to care for patients with Covid-19 and to carry out videotelemetry studies even more cautiously.
“The equipment is coated to prevent any microorganisms from this virus from remaining on the surfaces, in addition to being kept in an exclusive place so that no one has contact with them,” explains the nurse Paula Saavedra.
The Cardioinfantil Foundation team evaluated the electroencephalograph equipment, the BWIII EEG Plus ICU Brain Monitor that was donated to the institution by Neurovirtual, and concluded that it adequately meets the needs of the institution. “It provides us with the information we need quickly and accurately and allows us to make concise decisions for patients who need treatment or adjustments in their treatment in progress”, says Dr. Rodríguez.
Nurse Paula complements the assessment, saying “The equipment is easy to handle, meets all the criteria that the institution seeks to provide excellent care, and expands the opportunity to conduct studies with patients.”
Whether for the Cardioinfantil Foundation or for other institutions, from Colombia to anywhere else in the world, solidarity has been at the forefront as an important requirement to expand the fight against the impacts of the pandemic. “By sympathizing with the serious current situation, actions such as the donation of equipment made by Neurovirtual translate into an easier execution of our work and increased access to a safe diagnosis for thousands of Colombians,” concludes Dr. Rodríguez.