INTRODUCTION: During the Covid-19 pandemic there has been a general belief that hospital admissions for non-infectious causes, especially cardiovascular disease, have fallen.
OBJECTIVES: To assess the impact of the pandemic on admissions for ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) during the first pandemic wave.
METHODS: We performed a multicenter retrospective analysis of consecutive patients presenting with STEMI in two Portuguese hospital centers in two sequential periods - P1 (March 1 to April 30) and P2 (May 1 to June 30). Patients' clinical data and hospital outcomes were compared between the two periods for the years 2017 to 2019 and for 2020.
RESULTS: During P1 in 2020, a reduction in the number of STEMI patients was observed in comparison with previous years (26.0±4.2 vs. 16.5±4.9 cases per month; p=0.033), as well as an increase in the number of mechanical complications (0.0% vs. 3.0%; p=0.029). Percutaneous coronary interventions in the setting of failed thrombolysis were more frequent (1.9% vs. 9.1%; p=0.033). An overall trend for longer delays in key timings of STEMI care bundles was noted. Mortality was higher during P1 compared to previous years (1.9% vs. 12.1%; p=0.005).
CONCLUSIONS: During the first Covid-19 wave fewer patients presented with STEMI at the catheterization laboratory for percutaneous coronary intervention. These patients presented more mechanical complications and higher mortality.