Thomas Maddox, M.D., MSc, FACC, the chair of the American College of Cardiology (ACC) Science and Quality Committee, explains concerns by ACC in a large drop in ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) heart attacks and strokes since the U.S. spread of COVID-19. Maddox is also the executive director of the Healthcare Innovation Lab of BJC Healthcare and Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis. He is also an assistant professor of cardiology at Washington University.
The ACC is concerned about the 35-40 percent drop in STEMI and stroke patients presenting to emergency rooms across the U.S. and internationally since the start of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2) pandemic. Maddox is alarmed by the drop in cases and suspects patients are deciding to stay home rather than go to the hospitals out of fear about catching COVID-19. ACC launched a public relations campaign April 14, 2020, aimed at the public to get them to call 911 or go to hospitals if they have symptoms of stoke of a heart attack. Maddox said hospitals are still seeing and treating non-COVID-19 patients and the cardiovascular departments are still activating their cath labs to handle and acute cardiac cases that come in.
He said Spain, which was hit earlier than the U.S. by the virus, saw a STEMI case decrease of about 40 percent. Based on limited U.S. data, he said U.S. cath lab activations are down about 35 percent. A clearer picture of the actual numbers of STEMI and other PCI cases will not be known from the ACC National Cardiovascular Data Registry (NCDR) until later this year, since most hospitals pull this data quarterly.
ACC is offering resources for the public at www.cardiosmart.org/Coronavirus to evaluate their symptoms and help decide it they should go to the hospital or call 911.
Read the related article "Rapid Drop in Heart Attacks and Stroke at Hospitals Concerns ACC."
Watch another interview with Maddox in the VIDEO: What Cardiologists Need to Know about COVID-19.