January 5, 2021

Impact of the COVID-19 Lockdown on Patients and Families with Dravet Syndrome

Summary, originally published in Epilepsia Open

We explored the impact of coronavirus virus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on patients with Dravet Syndrome (DS) and their family. With European patient advocacy groups (PAGs), we developed an online survey in 10 languages to question health status, behavior, personal protection, and health services before and after lockdown.

Approximately 538 European PAG members received electronic invitations. Survey ran from 14 April to 17 May 2020 with 219 answers; median age 9 y 10 m. Protection against infection were highly used prior to COVID-19, but 88% added facemask-use according to pandemic recommendations. Only one patient was tested positive for COVID?19. Most had stable epilepsy during lockdown and few families (4%) needed emergency care during lockdown. However, behavior disorder worsened in over one-third of patients, regardless of epilepsy changes. Half of appointments scheduled prior to lockdown were postponed; 12 patients (11%) had appointments fulfilled; 39 (36%) had remote consultations. Responders welcomed remote consultations. Half of responders were unsatisfied with psychological remote support as only few (21 families) received this support. None of the five of patient in clinical trials stopped investigational treatment. Prior adoption of protective measures against general infection might have contributed to avoiding COVID-19 infections. Protocols for the favored remote contact ought to now be prepared.

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