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

Mateusz Sokolski, Piotr Gajewski, Robert Zymliński, Jan Biegus, Jurrien M. Ten Berg, Wilbert Bor, Frieder Braunschweig, Daniel Caldeira, Florim Cuculi, Emilia D'elia, Istvan Ferenc Edes, Mateusz Garus, John P. Greenwood, F.R. Halfwerk, Gerhard Hindricks, Juhani Knuuti, Steen Dalby Kristensen, Ulf Landmesser, Lars H. Lund, Alexander LyonAlexandre Mebazaa, Béla Merkely, Sylwia Nawrocka-Millward, Fausto J. Pinto, Frank Ruschitzka, Edimir Semedo, Michele Senni, Alireza Sepehri Shamloo, Jacob Sorensen, Carsten Stengaard, Holger Thiele, Stefan Toggweiler, Andrzej Tukiendorf, Patrick M.J. Verhorst, David Jay Wright, Pepe Zamorano, Michel Zuber, Jagat Narula, Jeroen J. Bax, Piotr Ponikowski*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Purpose: We evaluated whether the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-COV-2) pandemic was associated with changes in the pattern of acute cardiovascular admissions across European centers.

Methods: We set-up a multicenter, multinational, pan-European observational registry in 15 centers 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.

Results: Data from 54,331 patients were collected and analyzed. Nine centers provided data on acute admissions to emergency departments comprising 50,384 patients: 20,226 in 2020 compared with 30,158 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 compared to 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 and 4452 in 2019; IRR (95% CI): 0.68 (0.64-0.71). In 2020, there were fewer 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); and other: 0.68(0.62-0.76). We found a relatively higher percentage of pulmonary embolism admissions in 2020: odds ratio (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).

Conclusion: In the European centers 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)482-489
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Medicine
Issue number4
Early online date30 Sep 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2021


  • Acute coronary syndrome
  • COVID-19
  • Outbreak
  • SARS-CoV2
  • Acute cardiovascular admissions


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