Abstract 17- 1330-1345
Category: Clinical

At the end of the session,
participants will be able to:

  • Compare the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on neuropathology surgical specimens with other pathology subspecialties
  • Compare different tumoral and non-tumoral pathologies before and during COVID-19 pandemic

Dr. Shervin Pejhan is a second year Neuropathology resident at Western University.


Shervin Pejhan1, Chris Tran1, David Driman1, Robert Hammond1, 2, Lee Cyn Ang1, 2, Qi Zhang1, 2

1. Department of Pathology & Lab Medicine, 2. Department of Clinical Neurological Sciences, London Health Sciences Centre, Ontario, Canada

Target Audience:
Pathologists, Residents, Medical Students, Medical Laboratory technologists, Graduate students

Medical Expert (the integrating role), Communicator, Collaborator, Scholar, Professional

COVID-19 pandemic impact on surgical neuropathology services at London Health Sciences Centre


The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on medical services. Many jurisdictions postponed non-urgent procedures to balance individual patient care with public health precautions. Surgical backlogs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have been evaluated by different groups. However, the impact of this pandemic on pathology and specifically neuropathology (NP) services has received limited attention. In this study, we reviewed all surgical NP reports of our centre from March 2018 (two years before the pandemic declaration) through July 2021. Patient demographic information and pathological variables were collected. For tumours, site, type, and WHO grade were analyzed.

Within the period under study, the total number of NP samples was lowest in April 2020, corresponding to the first Ontario provincial lockdown. In comparison to the dramatic decrease in other surgical pathology subspecialties (CAMJ 2021;193(10): E343), the NP surgical specimen initially had a minimal volume reduction, with a rapid return to baseline. Among the different types of NP surgical specimens, muscle biopsy and epilepsy-related specimens showed a more significant reduction. There was a slight increase in higher-grade tumours. Interestingly, a gradual increase of brain biopsies for inflammatory conditions was noticed.

Our results show that the neuropathology service volume reduction due to the COVID-19 pandemic has not been as significant as other pathology subspecialties. Studying the variations in histopathological diagnoses in pandemic years could be helpful for future planning in both clinical and pathological sectors, especially when the data is strengthened by the experiences of other medical centers.