Acute cardiovascular hospitalizations and illness severity before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

BACKGROUND: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) hospitalizations declined worldwide during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is unclear how shelter-in-place orders affected acute CVD hospitalizations, illness severity, and outcomes. HYPOTHESIS: COVID-19 pandemic was associated with reduced acute CVD hospitalizations (heart failure [HF], acute coronary syndrome [ACS], and stroke [CVA]), and worse HF illness severity. METHODS: We compared acute CVD hospitalizations at Duke University Health System before and after North Carolina's shelter-in-place order (January 1-March 29 vs. March 30-August 31), and used parallel comparison cohorts from 2019. We explored illness severity among admitted HF patients using ADHERE ("high risk": >2 points) and GWTG-HF (">10%": >57 points) in-hospital mortality risk scores, as well as echocardiography-derived parameters. RESULTS: Comparing hospitalizations during January 1-March 29 (N = 1618) vs. March 30-August 31 (N = 2501) in 2020, mean daily CVD hospitalizations decreased (18.2 vs. 16.1 per day, p = .0036), with decreased length of stay (8.4 vs. 7.5 days, p = .0081) and no change in in-hospital mortality (4.7 vs. 5.3%, p = .41). HF hospitalizations decreased (9.0 vs. 7.7 per day, p = .0019), with higher ADHERE ("high risk": 2.5 vs. 4.5%; p = .030), but unchanged GWTG-HF (">10%": 5.3 vs. 4.6%; p = .45), risk groups. Mean LVEF was lower (39.0 vs. 37.2%, p = .034), with higher mean LV mass (262.4 vs. 276.6 g, p = .014). CONCLUSIONS: CVD hospitalizations, HF illness severity, and echocardiography measures did not change between admission periods in 2019. Evaluating short-term data, the COVID-19 shelter-in-place order was associated with reductions in acute CVD hospitalizations, particularly HF, with no significant increase in in-hospital mortality and only minor differences in HF illness severity.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Rao, VN; Kelsey, MD; Kelsey, AM; Russell, SD; Mentz, RJ; Patel, MR; Fudim, M

Published Date

  • May 1, 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 44 / 5

Start / End Page

  • 656 - 664

PubMed ID

  • 33682157

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC8119829

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1932-8737

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1002/clc.23590


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States