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Impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak on acute admissions at the emergency and cardiology departments across Europe



We evaluated whether the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 pandemic was associated with changes in the pattern of acute cardiovascular admissions across European centres.


We set-up a multi-centre, multi-national, pan-European observational registry in 15 centres from 12 countries. All consecutive acute admissions to emergency departments and cardiology departments throughout a 1-month period during the COVID-19 outbreak were compared with an equivalent 1-month period in 2019. The acute admissions to cardiology departments were classified into 5 major categories: acute coronary syndrome, acute heart failure, arrhythmia, pulmonary embolism and other.


Data from 54331 patients were collected and analysed. Nine centres provided data on acute admissions to emergency departments comprising 50384 patients: 20226 in 2020 vs 30158 in 2019 – incidence rate ratio (IRR) with 95% confidence interval (95%CI): 0.66(0.58-0.76). The risk of death at the emergency departments was higher in 2020 vs 2019: odds ratio (OR) with 95%CI: 4.1(3.0-5.8), P<0.0001. All 15 centers provided data on acute cardiology departments admissions: 3007 patients in 2020 vs 4452 in 2019, respectively, IRR(95%CI): 0.68(0.64-0.71). In 2020, there were less admissions with IRR(95%CI): acute coronary syndrome: 0.68(0.63-0.73), acute heart failure: 0.65(0.58-0.74), arrhythmia: 0.66(0.60-0.72), other: 0.68(0.62-0.76); we found a relatively higher percentage of pulmonary embolism admissions in 2020: OR(95%CI): 1.5(1.1-2.1), P=0.02. Among patients with acute coronary syndrome there were fewer admissions with unstable angina: 0.79(0.66-0.94), non-ST segment elevation myocardial infarction: 0.56(0.50-0.64) and ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction: 0.78(0.68-0.89).


In the European centres during the COVID-19 outbreak, there were fewer acute cardiovascular admissions. Also, fewer patients were admitted to the emergency departments with 4-times higher death risk at the emergency departments.