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Throughout the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has strongly impacted cardiac departments, healthcare professionals and patients. COVID-19 has kept more than half of heart attack patients away from hospitals.
3,101 healthcare practitioners involved in the treatment of STEMI patients in 141 countries completed an online survey from 16 to 26 April 2020.
“Patients’ fears of becoming infected by going to hospital must be addressed. They need to be assured that the in-hospital risk of coronavirus infection has been minimised for patients being admitted with heart attacks or strokes. If you have chest pain or other heart attack symptoms – such as pain in the throat, neck, back, stomach or shoulders that lasts for more than 15 minutes – you must call an ambulance. Remember that COVID-19 mortality is 10 times lower than that of an untreated heart attack. And rapid treatment for a heart attack works.” Professor Barbara Casadei, ESC President.
“Don’t delay if you have heart attack symptoms: call emergency. Every minute counts.” Professor Dariusz Dudek, EAPCI President.
Download the press release
The survey revealed that one of the main consequences of the pandemic was that fewer severe heart attack patients went to hospitals and that this phenomenon affected many hospitals.
Many healthcare professionals also noted that STEMI patients who presented to hospitals did so later than usual.
Many cardiology departments have been impacted by the outbreak of the infection.
Robust worldwide data.
The survey gathered data from 3,101 respondents in 141 countries on six continents.
Most respondents were cardiologists and interventional cardiologists from large hospitals.
Respondents mostly worked in university and regional hospitals.
Most countries were locked-down at the time of the survey.
Question: Is your country in lockdown (e.g. most shops and restaurants are closed, people are working from home as much as possible)?
Consequence #1 of the pandemic: There is a considerable decrease in STEMI patients coming to hospitals.
Question: Have you perceived a change in the number of people coming to your hospital with STEMI since the coronavirus outbreak?
Respondents who noted a decrease in STEMI patients:
Question: By what percentage has the number of STEMI patients decreased?
Consequence #2 of the pandemic: STEMI patients present later than usual.
Question: Do STEMI patients present later than usual (i.e. beyond the optimal window for PCI/thrombolysis)?
Up to 65% of respondents estimated that at least 41% of STEMI patients present later than usual. Overall, on average, 48% of patients present later than usual.
Question: What percentage of STEMI patients present later than usual (i.e. beyond the optimal window for PCI/thrombolysis)?
Consequence #3 of the pandemic: the huge wave of COVID patients also impacted cardiology departments.
Question: How many patients are currently admitted to your hospital with COVID-19?
Up to 68% of respondents stated that their unit had been either “partially” or “totally” restructured as a result of the pandemic.
Question: Has your ward/unit/department been restructured as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic?
For those reporting an increase in STEMI patients, the increase was marginal.
Question: By what percentage has the number of STEMI patients increased?
Only 3% of all respondents reported an increase in STEMI patients. For 30% of those respondents, the main reason for the increase in STEMI patients was “anxiety”.
Question: What do you think the reasons for an increase are?
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Increase/decrease of STEMI patients’ admissions in hospitals in countries with National (NCS) and Affiilated (ACS) Cardiac Societies.
Our mission: To reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease.
© 2020 European Society of Cardiology. All rights reserved.