Purpose of review: The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an overburdened healthcare system. While an increased rate of ACS is expected due to the pro-thrombotic state of COVID patients, observed ACS incidence and admission rates were paradoxically decreased during the (first wave of the) pandemic. In this narrative review, we will discuss potential reasons for this decrease in ACS incidence. Furthermore, we will discuss ACS management during the COVID-19 pandemic, and we will discuss outcomes in ACS. Recent findings: A reluctance to seek medical contact (in order not to further overburden the health system or due to fear of being infected with COVID-19 while in hospital) and unavailability of medical services seem to be important factors. This may have led to an increased symptom onset to first medical contact time and an increased rate of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests. A trend towards less invasive management was observed (less invasive coronary angiography in NSTEMI patients and more “fibrinolysis-first” in STEMI patients), although a large variation was observed with some centers having a relative increase in early invasive management. Patients with ACS and concomitant COVID-19 infection have worse outcomes compared to ACS patients without COVID-19 infection. All of the above led to worse clinical outcomes in patients presenting with ACS during the COVID-19 pandemic. Interestingly, staffing and hospital bed shortages led to experimentation with very early discharge (24 h after primary PCI) in low-risk STEMI patients which had a very good prognosis and resulted in significant shorter hospital duration. Summary: During the COVID-19 pandemic, ACS incidence and admission rates were decreased, symptom onset to first medical contact time prolonged, and out-of-hospital rates increased. A trend towards less invasive management was observed. Patients presenting with ACS during the COVID-19 pandemic had a worse outcome. On the other hand, experimental very early discharge in low-risk patients may relieve the healthcare system. Such initiatives, and strategies to lower the reluctance of patients with ACS symptoms to seek medical help, are vital to improve prognosis in ACS patients in future pandemics.
|Number of pages
|Current Treatment Options in Cardiovascular Medicine
|Published - Jul 2023