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Assessing the impact of COVID-19 on heart failure hospitalisation

New research shows an increase of in-hospital mortality for patients admitted for heart failure during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a significant decrease in hospital admissions due to heart failure (HF).

Following up on this research with a second study, Dr Antonio Cannata and Dr Daniel Bromage from the School of Cardiovascular Medicine & Sciences, have used Hospital Episode Statistics data to reveal the resurgence of admissions following the peak of the pandemic and report an excess of heart failure related in-hospital mortality.

They demonstrated that despite the reduction in hospitalisation during COVID-19 there is now a return to pre-COVID-19 levels with the lockdown measures being lifted. Being hospitalised for acute heart failure in 2020 is shown as an independent predictor of adverse outcomes.

This is the first report to date that shows an increase of in-hospital mortality for patients admitted primarily for HF during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This study provides important insight into the widespread effect of COVID-19 and has shed the light to the changes happened during the pandemic. In these times, most of the attention has been diverted to limit the spread of the virus and to reconfigure healthcare systems to be prepared to manage COVID-19 patients.– Dr Antonio Cannata, School of Cardiovascular Medicine & Sciences

This reconfiguration and the limited mobility of patients led to a reduced number of patients presenting to the hospital, often with more advanced conditions than previously noted, partially explaining the increased mortality observed.

This analysis therefore shows an insight into the side-effects of COVID-19 which not caused itself a huge number of deaths but also put a significant strain on the healthcare systems leading to higher mortality for conditions that, in other times, would have been more favourable.

The impact of the presented results might be paramount as it will also force a discussion about how to deliver patients' care to provide, even in difficult and extreme times, the best management possible to patients affected by cardiovascular conditions.– Dr Antonio Cannata, School of Cardiovascular Medicine & Sciences

Going forward, more detailed analysis of outpatient’s management and changes in pathways of care will provide a clearer picture of how the COVID-19 pandemic affected all the aspects of patients’ management. This research represents a unique opportunity to reassess the structure of cardiovascular services and to provide a real-world experience on possible changes to deliver a better care.

Read their previous study.

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Daniel Bromage

Daniel Bromage

Clinical Lecturer