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Eur J Cardiothorac Surg ; 59(4): 901-907, 2021 04 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1114845


OBJECTIVES: Healthcare systems worldwide have been overburdened by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak. Accordingly, hospitals had to implement strategies to profoundly reshape both non-COVID-19 medical care and surgical activities. Knowledge about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cardiac surgery practice is pivotal. The goal of the present study was to describe the changes in cardiac surgery practices during the health emergency at the national level. METHODS: A 26-question web-enabled survey including all adult cardiac surgery units in Italy was conducted to assess how their clinical practice changed during the national lockdown. Data were compared to data from the corresponding period in 2019. RESULTS: All but 2 centres (94.9%) adopted specific protocols to screen patients and personnel. A significant reduction in the number of dedicated cardiac intensive care unit beds (-35.4%) and operating rooms (-29.2%), along with healthcare personnel reallocation to COVID departments (nurses -15.4%, anaesthesiologists -7.7%), was noted. Overall adult cardiac surgery volumes were dramatically reduced (1734 procedures vs 3447; P < 0.001), with a significant drop in elective procedures [580 (33.4%) vs 2420 (70.2%)]. CONCLUSIONS: This national survey found major changes in cardiac surgery practice as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This experience should lead to the development of permanent systems-based plans to face possible future pandemics. These data may effectively help policy decision-making in prioritizing healthcare resource reallocation during the ongoing pandemic and once the healthcare emergency is over.

COVID-19 , Cardiac Surgical Procedures , Communicable Disease Control , Humans , Italy , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
Interact Cardiovasc Thorac Surg ; 31(6): 755-762, 2020 12 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-889563


The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has profoundly affected all health care professionals. The outbreak required a thorough reorganization of the Italian regional local health care system to preserve resources such as ventilators, beds in intensive care units and surgical and anaesthesiological staff. Levels of priority were created, together with a rigorous triage procedure for patients with COVID-19, which led to postponement of all elective procedures. Urgent cases were discussed with the local heart team and percutaneous approaches were selected as the first treatment option to reduce hospital stay. COVID-19 and COVID-19-free pathways were created, including adequate preparation of the operating room, management of anaesthesiological procedures, transportation of patients and disinfection. It was determined that patients with chronic diseases were at increased risk of adverse outcomes. Systemic inflammation, cytokine storm and hypercoagulability associated with COVID-19 increased the risk of heart failure and cardiac death. In this regard, the early use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation could be life-saving in patients with severe forms of acute respiratory distress syndrome or refractory heart failure. The goal of this paper was to report the Italian experience during the COVID-19 pandemic in the setting of cardiovascular surgery.

COVID-19/epidemiology , Cardiac Surgical Procedures/methods , Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation/methods , Heart Failure/surgery , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Comorbidity , Heart Failure/epidemiology , Humans , Intensive Care Units , Italy/epidemiology