HealthDay News — During the initial phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was an increase in deaths caused by ischemic heart disease and hypertensive diseases in the United States, as well as a reduction in cardiovascular diagnostic testing across the world, according to two studies published in the Jan. 19 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Rishi K. Wadhera, M.D., from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, and colleagues examined the rate of deaths due to cardiovascular causes after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. The researchers found that compared with changes during the same period in 2019, deaths caused by ischemic heart disease increased nationally after the onset of the pandemic in 2020 (ratio of the relative change in deaths per 100,000 in 2020 versus 2019, 1.11). The investigators also observed an increase in deaths caused by hypertensive disease (ratio, 1.17), but not heart failure, cerebrovascular disease, or other diseases of the circulatory system.

Andrew J. Einstein, M.D., Ph.D., from the Columbia University Irving Medical Center/New York Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, and colleagues examined the impact of COVID-19 on global cardiovascular diagnostic procedural volumes and safety practices using data obtained from surveys submitted by 909 inpatient and outpatient centers in 108 countries. The researchers found that procedural volumes decreased 42 and 64 percent from March 2019 to March 2020 and from March 2019 to April 2020, respectively. There were decreases of 59, 76, and 78 percent in transthoracic echocardiography, transesophageal echocardiography, and stress tests, respectively. There was a 55 percent decrease noted in coronary angiography.


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“These findings raise serious concerns for long-term adverse cardiovascular health outcomes resulting from decreased diagnosis,” Einstein said in a statement.

Several authors from both studies disclosed financial ties to the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and/or medical device industries.

Abstract/Full Text – Wadhera

Abstract/Full Text – Einstein

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