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J Am Coll Cardiol ; 79(20): 2001-2017, 2022 05 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1828669


BACKGROUND: The extent to which health care systems have adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic to provide necessary cardiac diagnostic services is unknown. OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to determine the impact of the pandemic on cardiac testing practices, volumes and types of diagnostic services, and perceived psychological stress to health care providers worldwide. METHODS: The International Atomic Energy Agency conducted a worldwide survey assessing alterations from baseline in cardiovascular diagnostic care at the pandemic's onset and 1 year later. Multivariable regression was used to determine factors associated with procedure volume recovery. RESULTS: Surveys were submitted from 669 centers in 107 countries. Worldwide reduction in cardiac procedure volumes of 64% from March 2019 to April 2020 recovered by April 2021 in high- and upper middle-income countries (recovery rates of 108% and 99%) but remained depressed in lower middle- and low-income countries (46% and 30% recovery). Although stress testing was used 12% less frequently in 2021 than in 2019, coronary computed tomographic angiography was used 14% more, a trend also seen for other advanced cardiac imaging modalities (positron emission tomography and magnetic resonance; 22%-25% increases). Pandemic-related psychological stress was estimated to have affected nearly 40% of staff, impacting patient care at 78% of sites. In multivariable regression, only lower-income status and physicians' psychological stress were significant in predicting recovery of cardiac testing. CONCLUSIONS: Cardiac diagnostic testing has yet to recover to prepandemic levels in lower-income countries. Worldwide, the decrease in standard stress testing is offset by greater use of advanced cardiac imaging modalities. Pandemic-related psychological stress among providers is widespread and associated with poor recovery of cardiac testing.

COVID-19 , COVID-19/epidemiology , Delivery of Health Care , Health Personnel , Humans , Pandemics , Surveys and Questionnaires
J Am Coll Cardiol ; 77(2): 173-185, 2021 01 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1019160


BACKGROUND: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has adversely affected diagnosis and treatment of noncommunicable diseases. Its effects on delivery of diagnostic care for cardiovascular disease, which remains the leading cause of death worldwide, have not been quantified. OBJECTIVES: The study sought to assess COVID-19's impact on global cardiovascular diagnostic procedural volumes and safety practices. METHODS: The International Atomic Energy Agency conducted a worldwide survey assessing alterations in cardiovascular procedure volumes and safety practices resulting from COVID-19. Noninvasive and invasive cardiac testing volumes were obtained from participating sites for March and April 2020 and compared with those from March 2019. Availability of personal protective equipment and pandemic-related testing practice changes were ascertained. RESULTS: Surveys were submitted from 909 inpatient and outpatient centers performing cardiac diagnostic procedures, in 108 countries. Procedure volumes decreased 42% from March 2019 to March 2020, and 64% from March 2019 to April 2020. Transthoracic echocardiography decreased by 59%, transesophageal echocardiography 76%, and stress tests 78%, which varied between stress modalities. Coronary angiography (invasive or computed tomography) decreased 55% (p < 0.001 for each procedure). In multivariable regression, significantly greater reduction in procedures occurred for centers in countries with lower gross domestic product. Location in a low-income and lower-middle-income country was associated with an additional 22% reduction in cardiac procedures and less availability of personal protective equipment and telehealth. CONCLUSIONS: COVID-19 was associated with a significant and abrupt reduction in cardiovascular diagnostic testing across the globe, especially affecting the world's economically challenged. Further study of cardiovascular outcomes and COVID-19-related changes in care delivery is warranted.

COVID-19 , Heart Diseases/diagnosis , Diagnostic Techniques, Cardiovascular/statistics & numerical data , Global Health , Health Care Surveys , Humans , International Agencies
J Nucl Med ; 62(3): 422-430, 2021 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-639248


The Nuclear Medicine Global Initiative was formed in 2012 by 13 international organizations to promote human health by advancing the field of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging by supporting the practice and application of nuclear medicine. The first project focused on standardization of administered activities in pediatric nuclear medicine and resulted in 2 articles. For its second project the Nuclear Medicine Global Initiative chose to explore issues impacting on access and availability of radiopharmaceuticals around the world. Methods: Information was obtained by survey responses from 35 countries on available radioisotopes, radiopharmaceuticals, and kits for diagnostic and therapeutic use. Issues impacting on access and availability of radiopharmaceuticals in individual countries were also identified. Results: Detailed information on radiopharmaceuticals used in each country, and sources of supply, was evaluated. Responses highlighted problems in access, particularly due to the reliance on a sole provider, regulatory issues, and reimbursement, as well as issues of facilities and workforce, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. Conclusion: Strategies to address access and availability of radiopharmaceuticals are outlined, to enable timely and equitable patient access to nuclear medicine procedures worldwide. In the face of disruptions to global supply chains by the coronavirus disease 2019 outbreak, renewed focus on ensuring a reliable supply of radiopharmaceuticals is a major priority for nuclear medicine practice globally.

Internationality , Nuclear Medicine/statistics & numerical data , Radiopharmaceuticals/supply & distribution , Positron-Emission Tomography , Radiopharmaceuticals/therapeutic use , Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon