- Acute heart failure (HF) hospitalizations declined in hard-hit London during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- HF patients who were admitted had symptoms that were more severe than usual.
Why this matters
- The authors are concerned that patients with less severe acute HF may have avoided the hospital out of fear of COVID-19, raising worries about later increased HF hospitalization and mortality.
- Compared with pre-pandemic (2017-2019), acute HF admissions were significantly lower during the COVID-19 pandemic period:
- E.g., n=78 in 2019 vs n=26 during the pandemic.
- 2020 weekly admissions during the pandemic were significantly lower vs all years 2017-2019 and pre-pandemic 2020 (P<.01>
- More admitted patients with HF also had more severe disease during vs pre-pandemic:
- NYHA III or IV symptoms: 96% vs 77% (P=.03).
- Severe peripheral edema: 39% vs 14% (P=.01).
- Length of stay did not differ between 2019 and the 2020 pandemic period.
- In-hospital mortality was low during each year.
- 1 patient had COVID-19 as the primary diagnosis.
- King’s College Hospital, London, data reported to the National Heart Failure Audit for England and Wales, March 2-April 19, 2020, compared with a pre-COVID cohort from 2020 and corresponding periods in 2017-2019.
- Funding: None disclosed.
- Single center.
- Small numbers in 2020 especially.