Background Prior studies indicated a decrease in the incidences of aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage (aSAH) during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. We evaluated differences in the incidence, severity of aSAH presentation, and ruptured aneurysm treatment modality during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic compared with the preceding year.Methods We conducted a cross-sectional study including 49 countries and 187 centres. We recorded volumes for COVID-19 hospitalisations, aSAH hospitalisations, Hunt-Hess grade, coiling, clipping and aSAH in-hospital mortality. Diagnoses were identified by International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision, codes or stroke databases from January 2019 to May 2021.Results Over the study period, there were 16 247 aSAH admissions, 344 491 COVID-19 admissions, 8300 ruptured aneurysm coiling and 4240 ruptured aneurysm clipping procedures. Declines were observed in aSAH admissions (-6.4% (95% CI -7.0% to -5.8%), p=0.0001) during the first year of the pandemic compared with the prior year, most pronounced in high-volume SAH and high-volume COVID-19 hospitals. There was a trend towards a decline in mild and moderate presentations of subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH) (mild: - 5% (95% CI -5.9% to -4.3%), p=0.06; moderate: - 8.3% (95% CI -10.2% to -6.7%), p=0.06) but no difference in higher SAH severity. The ruptured aneurysm clipping rate remained unchanged (30.7% vs 31.2%, p=0.58), whereas ruptured aneurysm coiling increased (53.97% vs 56.5%, p=0.009). There was no difference in aSAH in-hospital mortality rate (19.1% vs 20.1%, p=0.12).Conclusion During the first year of the pandemic, there was a decrease in aSAH admissions volume, driven by a decrease in mild to moderate presentation of aSAH. There was an increase in the ruptured aneurysm coiling rate but neither change in the ruptured aneurysm clipping rate nor change in aSAH in-hospital mortality.
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