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J Telemed Telecare ; : 1357633X211073428, 2022 Feb 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1666541


Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, cardiology clinics rapidly implemented telemedicine to maintain access to care. Little is known about subsequent trends in telemedicine use and visit volumes across cardiology subspecialties. We conducted a retrospective cohort study including all patients with ambulatory visits at a multispecialty cardiovascular center in Northern California from March 2019 to February 2020 (pre-COVID) and March 2020 to February 2021 (COVID). Telemedicine use increased from 3.5% of visits (1200/33,976) during the pre-COVID period to 63.0% (21,251/33,706) during the COVID period. Visit volumes were below pre-COVID levels from March to May 2020 but exceeded pre-COVID levels after June 2020, including when local COVID-19 cases peaked. Telemedicine use was above 75% of visits in all cardiology subspecialties in April 2020 and stabilized at rates ranging from over 95% in electrophysiology to under 25% in heart transplant and vascular medicine. From June 2020 to February 2021, subspecialties delivering a greater percentage of visits through telemedicine experienced larger increases in new patient visits (r = 0.81, p = 0.029). Telemedicine can be used to deliver a significant proportion of outpatient cardiovascular care though utilization varies across subspecialties. Higher rates of telemedicine adoption may increase access to care in cardiology clinics.

Am Heart J ; 240: 46-57, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1316364


BACKGROUND: Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEI) and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARB) are known to impact the functional receptor for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The association between chronic therapy with these medications and infection risk remains unclear. OBJECTIVES: The objective was to determine the association between prior ACEI or ARB therapy and SARS-CoV-2 infection among patients with hypertension in the U.S. Veteran's Affairs health system. METHODS: We compared the odds of SARS-CoV-2 infection among three groups: patients treated with ACEI, treated with ARB, or treated with alternate first-line anti-hypertensives without ACEI/ARB. We excluded patients with alternate indications for ACEI or ARB therapy. We performed an augmented inverse propensity weighted analysis with adjustment for demographics, region, comorbidities, vitals, and laboratory values. RESULTS: Among 1,724,723 patients with treated hypertension, 659,180 were treated with ACEI, 310,651 with ARB, and 754,892 with neither. Before weighting, patients treated with ACEI or ARB were more likely to be diabetic and use more anti-hypertensives. There were 13,278 SARS-CoV-2 infections (0.8%) between February 12, 2020 and August 19, 2020. Patients treated with ACEI had lower odds of SARS-CoV-2 infection (odds ratio [OR] 0.93; 95% CI: 0.89-0.97) while those treated with ARB had similar odds (OR 1.02; 95% CI: 0.96-1.07) compared with patients treated with alternate first-line anti-hypertensives without ACEI/ARB. In falsification analyses, patients on ACEI did not have a difference in their odds of unrelated outcomes. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest the safety of continuing ACEI and ARB therapy. The association between ACEI therapy and lower odds of SARS-CoV-2 infection requires further investigation.

Angiotensin Receptor Antagonists/therapeutic use , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors/therapeutic use , Antihypertensive Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/epidemiology , Hypertension/drug therapy , Renin-Angiotensin System/drug effects , Adrenergic beta-Antagonists/therapeutic use , Aged , Angiotensin II Type 2 Receptor Blockers , Calcium Channel Blockers/therapeutic use , Case-Control Studies , Comorbidity , Confidence Intervals , Diabetes Mellitus/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Odds Ratio , Propensity Score , Receptors, Virus , SARS-CoV-2 , Sodium Chloride Symporter Inhibitors/therapeutic use , United States/epidemiology , United States Department of Veterans Affairs , Veterans/statistics & numerical data
BMJ ; 372: n311, 2021 02 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1083594


OBJECTIVE: To evaluate whether early initiation of prophylactic anticoagulation compared with no anticoagulation was associated with decreased risk of death among patients admitted to hospital with coronavirus disease 2019 (covid-19) in the United States. DESIGN: Observational cohort study. SETTING: Nationwide cohort of patients receiving care in the Department of Veterans Affairs, a large integrated national healthcare system. PARTICIPANTS: All 4297 patients admitted to hospital from 1 March to 31 July 2020 with laboratory confirmed severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and without a history of anticoagulation. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The main outcome was 30 day mortality. Secondary outcomes were inpatient mortality, initiating therapeutic anticoagulation (a proxy for clinical deterioration, including thromboembolic events), and bleeding that required transfusion. RESULTS: Of 4297 patients admitted to hospital with covid-19, 3627 (84.4%) received prophylactic anticoagulation within 24 hours of admission. More than 99% (n=3600) of treated patients received subcutaneous heparin or enoxaparin. 622 deaths occurred within 30 days of hospital admission, 513 among those who received prophylactic anticoagulation. Most deaths (510/622, 82%) occurred during hospital stay. Using inverse probability of treatment weighted analyses, the cumulative incidence of mortality at 30 days was 14.3% (95% confidence interval 13.1% to 15.5%) among those who received prophylactic anticoagulation and 18.7% (15.1% to 22.9%) among those who did not. Compared with patients who did not receive prophylactic anticoagulation, those who did had a 27% decreased risk for 30 day mortality (hazard ratio 0.73, 95% confidence interval 0.66 to 0.81). Similar associations were found for inpatient mortality and initiation of therapeutic anticoagulation. Receipt of prophylactic anticoagulation was not associated with increased risk of bleeding that required transfusion (hazard ratio 0.87, 0.71 to 1.05). Quantitative bias analysis showed that results were robust to unmeasured confounding (e-value lower 95% confidence interval 1.77 for 30 day mortality). Results persisted in several sensitivity analyses. CONCLUSIONS: Early initiation of prophylactic anticoagulation compared with no anticoagulation among patients admitted to hospital with covid-19 was associated with a decreased risk of 30 day mortality and no increased risk of serious bleeding events. These findings provide strong real world evidence to support guidelines recommending the use of prophylactic anticoagulation as initial treatment for patients with covid-19 on hospital admission.

Anticoagulants/therapeutic use , COVID-19/mortality , Enoxaparin/therapeutic use , Thromboembolism/prevention & control , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Anticoagulants/adverse effects , COVID-19/complications , Enoxaparin/adverse effects , Female , Hemorrhage/chemically induced , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Patient Admission , SARS-CoV-2 , Thromboembolism/virology , Time Factors , United States/epidemiology