Excess deaths in people with cardiovascular diseases during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wai Keong Wong,
James TH Teo,
Ajay M Shah,
Liang V Tang,
Cathie LM Sudlow,
Gregory YH Lip,
Posted 11 Jun 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.06.10.20127175
Posted 11 Jun 2020
Background: Cardiovascular diseases(CVD) increase mortality risk from coronavirus infection(COVID-19), but there are concerns that the pandemic has affected supply and demand of acute cardiovascular care. We estimated excess mortality in specific CVDs, both direct, through infection, and indirect, through changes in healthcare. Methods: We used population-based electronic health records from 3,862,012 individuals in England to estimate pre- and post-COVID-19 mortality risk(direct effect) for people with incident and prevalent CVD. We incorporated: (i)pre-COVID-19 risk by age, sex and comorbidities, (ii)estimated population COVID-19 prevalence, and (iii)estimated relative impact of COVID-19 on mortality(relative risk, RR: 1.5, 2.0 and 3.0). For indirect effects, we analysed weekly mortality and emergency department data for England/Wales and monthly hospital data from England(n=2), China(n=5) and Italy(n=1) for CVD referral, diagnosis and treatment until 1 May 2020. Findings: CVD service activity decreased by 60-100% compared with pre-pandemic levels in eight hospitals across China, Italy and England during the pandemic. In China, activity remained below pre-COVID-19 levels for 2-3 months even after easing lockdown, and is still reduced in Italy and England. Mortality data suggest indirect effects on CVD will be delayed rather than contemporaneous(peak RR 1.4). For total CVD(incident and prevalent), at 10% population COVID-19 rate, we estimated direct impact of 31,205 and 62,410 excess deaths in England at RR 1.5 and 2.0 respectively, and indirect effect of 49932 to 99865 excess deaths. Interpretation: Supply and demand for CVD services have dramatically reduced across countries with potential for substantial, but avoidable, excess mortality during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
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