Reduction of cardiac imaging tests during the COVID-19 pandemic: The case of Italy. Findings from the IAEA Non-invasive Cardiology Protocol Survey on COVID-19 (INCAPS COVID)

on behalf of the INCAPS COVID Investigators Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: In early 2020, COVID-19 massively hit Italy, earlier and harder than any other European country. This caused a series of strict containment measures, aimed at blocking the spread of the pandemic. Healthcare delivery was also affected when resources were diverted towards care of COVID-19 patients, including intensive care wards. Aim of the study: The aim is assessing the impact of COVID-19 on cardiac imaging in Italy, compare to the Rest of Europe (RoE) and the World (RoW). Methods: A global survey was conducted in May–June 2020 worldwide, through a questionnaire distributed online. The survey covered three periods: March and April 2020, and March 2019. Data from 52 Italian centres, a subset of the 909 participating centres from 108 countries, were analyzed. Results: In Italy, volumes decreased by 67% in March 2020, compared to March 2019, as opposed to a significantly lower decrease (p < 0.001) in RoE and RoW (41% and 40%, respectively). A further decrease from March 2020 to April 2020 summed up to 76% for the North, 77% for the Centre and 86% for the South. When compared to the RoE and RoW, this further decrease from March 2020 to April 2020 in Italy was significantly less (p = 0.005), most likely reflecting the earlier effects of the containment measures in Italy, taken earlier than anywhere else in the West. Conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic massively hit Italy and caused a disruption of healthcare services, including cardiac imaging studies. This raises concern about the medium- and long-term consequences for the high number of patients who were denied timely diagnoses and the subsequent lifesaving therapies and procedures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-106
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Cardiology
Volume341
DOIs
StatePublished - 15 Oct 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Cardiac imaging
  • Cardiovascular disease

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