Keele cardiologists study the nation’s heart health during Covid-19

The number of procedures used to treat heart attacks recorded in the UK decreased by 40% during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report by Keele researchers, suggesting that patients were not seeking medical attention for life threatening heart attacks. 

Cardiology researchers from Keele University have presented their latest findings into how the nation’s cardiovascular health has fared during the Covid-19 pandemic, and found that this decrease in recorded treatment procedures was paralleled by an increase in cardiac arrests during this timeframe, highlighting a loss of opportunities for saving lives. 

The purpose of the report was to provide insights into cardiovascular care and outcomes during the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as providing insights into the country’s cardiovascular health for the UK Government’s SAGE committee.

Led by Professor Mamas Mamas, members of the Keele Cardiovascular Research Group and partners have produced the report as part of the National Cardiac Audit Programme (NCAP), run by the National Institute for Cardiovascular Outcomes Research.

Professor Mamas has previously warned about the impacts that lockdown weight gain might have on the nation’s cardiovascular health, and co-authored research into the number of heart attack patients who missed out on life saving treatment due to the pandemic lockdown.

Keele’s researchers contributed 10 out of the 14 analyses contained within the report, which covered a variety of topics related to the nation’s cardiovascular health during the pandemic.

Key findings from the report include 10,000 more non-Covid related deaths being recorded than expected; an 80% drop in elective coronary stenting procedures being performed; cancellation of valve intervention procedures meaning over 2000 patients with aortic stenosis remain untreated; and significantly worse outcomes for BAME patients with acute coronary syndrome during the pandemic.

The report is significant as it will inform cardiovascular care and patient outcomes during the ongoing pandemic, as well as identifying important longer term problems such as increased waiting lists for procedure, and providing a model by which rapid analysis of national data can be undertaken.

Professor Mamas said: “The impact of Covid-19 has been significant on the cardiovascular health of the country. Not only have we seen widespread reductions in admissions for serious cardiovascular events because patients are avoiding health services, but we have seen an accompanying increase in non-Covid-19 deaths. The cancellation of elective cardiovascular procedures in the UK has meant that there is currently a backlog of over 40,000 cases which will further impact the country’s cardiac health.”

The full report can be read here.