Background: The coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic significantly affected management of cardiovascular disease around the world. The effect of the pandemic on volume of cardiovascular diagnostic procedures is not known. Objectives: This study sought to evaluate the effects of the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic on cardiovascular diagnostic procedures and safety practices in Asia. Methods: The International Atomic Energy Agency conducted a worldwide survey to assess changes in cardiovascular procedure volume and safety practices caused by COVID-19. Testing volumes were reported for March 2020 and April 2020 and were compared to those from March 2019. Data from 180 centers across 33 Asian countries were grouped into 4 subregions for comparison. Results: Procedure volumes decreased by 47% from March 2019 to March 2020, showing recovery from March 2020 to April 2020 in Eastern Asia, particularly in China. The majority of centers cancelled outpatient activities and increased time per study. Practice changes included implementing physical distancing and restricting visitors. Although COVID testing was not commonly performed, it was conducted in one-third of facilities in Eastern Asia. The most severe reductions in procedure volumes were observed in lower-income countries, where volumes decreased 81% from March 2019 to April 2020. Conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic in Asia caused significant reductions in cardiovascular diagnostic procedures, particularly in low-income countries. Further studies on effects of COVID-19 on cardiovascular outcomes and changes in care delivery are warranted.
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.
Subject(s)COVID-19 , COVID-19/epidemiology , Delivery of Health Care , Health Personnel , Humans , Pandemics , Surveys and Questionnaires
BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the delivery of care for cardiovascular diseases in Latin America. However, the effect of the pandemic on the cardiac diagnostic procedure volumes has not been quantified. OBJECTIVE: To assess (1) the impact of COVID-19 on cardiac diagnostic volumes in Latin America and (2) determine its relationship with COVID-19 case incidence and social distancing measures. METHODS: The International Atomic Energy Agency conducted a worldwide survey assessing changes in cardiac diagnostic volumes resulting from COVID-19. Cardiac diagnostic volumes were obtained from participating sites for March and April 2020 and compared to March 2019. Social distancing data were collected from Google COVID-19 community mobility reports and COVID-19 incidence per country from the Our World in Data. RESULTS: Surveys were conducted in 194 centers performing cardiac diagnostic procedures, in 19 countries in Latin America. Procedure volumes decreased 36% from March 2019 to March 2020, and 82% from March 2019 to April 2020. The greatest decreases occurred in echocardiogram stress tests (91%), exercise treadmill tests (88%), and computed tomography calcium scores (87%), with slight variations between sub-regions of Latin America. Changes in social distancing patterns (p < 0.001) were more strongly associated with volume reduction than COVID-19 incidence (p = 0.003). CONCLUSIONS: COVID-19 was associated with a significant reduction in cardiac diagnostic procedures in Latin America, which was more related to social distancing than to the COVID-19 incidence. Better balance and timing of social distancing measures and planning to maintain access to medical care is warranted during a pandemic surge, especially in regions with high cardiovascular mortality.
FUNDAMENTO: A pandemia de COVID-19 interferiu na prestação de atendimento a doenças cardiovasculares na América Latina. No entanto, o efeito da pandemia nos volumes de procedimentos cardíacos diagnósticos ainda não foi quantificado. OBJETIVO: Avaliar (1) o impacto de COVID-19 nos volumes de diagnóstico cardíaco na América Latina e (2) determinar sua relação com a incidência de casos de COVID-19 e as medidas de distanciamento social. MÉTODOS: A International Atomic Energy Agency realizou uma pesquisa mundial avaliando mudanças nos volumes diagnósticos cardíacos decorrentes da COVID-19. Foram obtidos os volumes diagnósticos cardíacos dos locais participantes para março e abril de 2020 e comparados com março de 2019. Foram coletados dados de distanciamento social a partir dos Relatórios de mobilidade da comunidade de Google e a incidência de COVID-19 por país a partir de Our World in Data. RESULTADOS: Foram realizadas pesquisas em 194 centros que realizam procedimentos diagnósticos cardíacos, em 19 países da América Latina. Em comparação com o mês de março de 2019, os volumes dos procedimentos diagnósticos cardíacos diminuíram 36% em março de 2020 e 82% em abril de 2020.As maiores reduções ocorreram em relação aos testes de estresse ecocardiográfico (91%), testes ergométricos de esteira (88%) e escore de cálcio por tomografia computadorizada (87%), com pequenas variações entre as sub-regiões da América Latina. As mudanças em padrões de distanciamento social (p < 0,001) estavam mais fortemente associadas com a redução do volume do que a incidência de COVID-19 (p = 0,003). CONCLUSÕES: A COVID-19 foi associada a uma redução significativa de procedimentos diagnósticos cardíacos na América Latina, a qual foi mais relacionada ao distanciamento social do que ao aumento da incidência da COVID-19. São necessários melhor equilíbrio e timing de medidas de distanciamento social e planejamento para manter o acesso ao atendimento médico durante um surto pandêmico, especialmente em regiões com alta mortalidade cardiovascular.
Subject(s)COVID-19 , Heart Diseases , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , Heart Diseases/epidemiology , Humans , Latin America/epidemiology , Pandemics , Surveys and Questionnaires
OBJECTIVES: This study sought to quantify and compare the decline in volumes of cardiovascular procedures between the United States and non-U.S. institutions during the early phase of the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the care of many non-COVID-19 illnesses. Reductions in diagnostic cardiovascular testing around the world have led to concerns over the implications of reduced testing for cardiovascular disease (CVD) morbidity and mortality. METHODS: Data were submitted to the INCAPS-COVID (International Atomic Energy Agency Non-Invasive Cardiology Protocols Study of COVID-19), a multinational registry comprising 909 institutions in 108 countries (including 155 facilities in 40 U.S. states), assessing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on volumes of diagnostic cardiovascular procedures. Data were obtained for April 2020 and compared with volumes of baseline procedures from March 2019. We compared laboratory characteristics, practices, and procedure volumes between U.S. and non-U.S. facilities and between U.S. geographic regions and identified factors associated with volume reduction in the United States. RESULTS: Reductions in the volumes of procedures in the United States were similar to those in non-U.S. facilities (68% vs. 63%, respectively; p = 0.237), although U.S. facilities reported greater reductions in invasive coronary angiography (69% vs. 53%, respectively; p < 0.001). Significantly more U.S. facilities reported increased use of telehealth and patient screening measures than non-U.S. facilities, such as temperature checks, symptom screenings, and COVID-19 testing. Reductions in volumes of procedures differed between U.S. regions, with larger declines observed in the Northeast (76%) and Midwest (74%) than in the South (62%) and West (44%). Prevalence of COVID-19, staff redeployments, outpatient centers, and urban centers were associated with greater reductions in volume in U.S. facilities in a multivariable analysis. CONCLUSIONS: We observed marked reductions in U.S. cardiovascular testing in the early phase of the pandemic and significant variability between U.S. regions. The association between reductions of volumes and COVID-19 prevalence in the United States highlighted the need for proactive efforts to maintain access to cardiovascular testing in areas most affected by outbreaks of COVID-19 infection.
Subject(s)COVID-19 , Pandemics , COVID-19 Testing , Humans , Predictive Value of Tests , SARS-CoV-2 , United States/epidemiology
OBJECTIVES: We aimed to explore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cardiac diagnostic testing and practice and to assess its impact in different regions in Europe. METHODS: The online survey organised by the International Atomic Energy Agency Division of Human Health collected information on changes in cardiac imaging procedural volumes between March 2019 and March/April 2020. Data were collected from 909 centres in 108 countries. RESULTS: Centres in Northern and Southern Europe were more likely to cancel all outpatient activities compared with Western and Eastern Europe. There was a greater reduction in total procedure volumes in Europe compared with the rest of the world in March 2020 (45% vs 41%, p=0.003), with a more marked reduction in Southern Europe (58%), but by April 2020 this was similar in Europe and the rest of the world (69% vs 63%, p=0.261). Regional variations were apparent between imaging modalities, but the largest reductions were in Southern Europe for nearly all modalities. In March 2020, location in Southern Europe was the only independent predictor of the reduction in procedure volume. However, in April 2020, lower gross domestic product and higher COVID-19 deaths were the only independent predictors. CONCLUSION: The first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on care of patients with cardiac disease, with substantial regional variations in Europe. This has potential long-term implications for patients and plans are required to enable the diagnosis of non-COVID-19 conditions during the ongoing pandemic.
Subject(s)COVID-19 , Cardiac Imaging Techniques/trends , Cardiologists/trends , Healthcare Disparities/trends , Heart Diseases/diagnostic imaging , Practice Patterns, Physicians'/trends , Europe , Health Care Surveys , Humans , Predictive Value of Tests
OBJECTIVES: The INCAPS COVID Oceania study aimed to assess the impact caused by the COVID-19 pandemic on cardiac procedure volume provided in the Oceania region. METHODS: A retrospective survey was performed comparing procedure volumes within March 2019 (pre-COVID-19) with April 2020 (during first wave of COVID-19 pandemic). Sixty-three (63) health care facilities within Oceania that perform cardiac diagnostic procedures were surveyed, including a mixture of metropolitan and regional, hospital and outpatient, public and private sites, and 846 facilities outside of Oceania. The percentage change in procedure volume was measured between March 2019 and April 2020, compared by test type and by facility. RESULTS: In Oceania, the total cardiac diagnostic procedure volume was reduced by 52.2% from March 2019 to April 2020, compared to a reduction of 75.9% seen in the rest of the world (p<0.001). Within Oceania sites, this reduction varied significantly between procedure types, but not between types of health care facility. All procedure types (other than stress cardiac magnetic resonance [CMR] and positron emission tomography [PET]) saw significant reductions in volume over this time period (p<0.001). In Oceania, transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) decreased by 51.6%, transoesophageal echocardiography (TOE) by 74.0%, and stress tests by 65% overall, which was more pronounced for stress electrocardiograph (ECG) (81.8%) and stress echocardiography (76.7%) compared to stress single-photon emission computerised tomography (SPECT) (44.3%). Invasive coronary angiography decreased by 36.7% in Oceania. CONCLUSION: A significant reduction in cardiac diagnostic procedure volume was seen across all facility types in Oceania and was likely a function of recommendations from cardiac societies and directives from government to minimise spread of COVID-19 amongst patients and staff. Longer term evaluation is important to assess for negative patient outcomes which may relate to deferral of usual models of care within cardiology.
Subject(s)COVID-19 , Cardiology , Humans , Pandemics , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Tomography, X-Ray Computed
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.