Cardiovascular admissions in Intensive Care Units during COVID-19 pandemic

This article was originally published here

Medicina (B Aires). 2020;80(5):425-432.


The COVID-19 pandemic has led to measures of social isolation, labor restrictions, a strong information campaign and the suspension of scheduled medical activities. The aim of this study was to describe the impact of these measures on the number of hospitalizations in Cardiovascular Intensive Care Units, with the hypothesis that the social behavior generated by this emergency promotes a decreased demand for medical care, even when severe cardiovascular disease is involved. We compared the number of admissions in March-April 2010-2019 versus March-April 2020, based on a prospective study including six institutions (three public and three private) that use Epi-Cardio® as a multicenter registry of cardiovascular care unit discharge. Altogether, we included 6839 patients discharged during the 11-year study period (2010-2020). The average number of patient admissions on March-April 2010-19 was 595 (CI 95%: 507-683) and decreased to 348 in 2020 (fall of 46.8%, p < 0.001). The reasons for hospitalization were classified into 11 groups and a statistically significant reduction was seen in 10 of these groups: cardiovascular surgery 72.3%, electrophysiological interventions 67.8%, non-ST acute coronary syndromes 52.6%, angioplasties 47.6%, arrhythmias 48.7%, heart failure 46%, atrial fibrillation 35.7%, ST elevation myocardial infarction 34.7%, non cardiac chest pain 31.8%, others 51.6%. Although with low prevalence, hypertensive crisis increased in 89%. The abrupt decrease observed in the number of admissions due to critical pathologies may be considered an “adverse effect” related to the measures adopted, with potentially severe consequences. This trend could be reversed by improving public communication and policy adjustment.