Background: The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has placed severe stress on healthcare systems around the world. There is limited information on current practices in pediatric cardiac catheterization laboratories in the United States (US).
Objectives: To describe current practice patterns and make recommendations regarding potential resource allocation for congenital cardiac catheterization during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Methods: A web-based survey was distributed regarding case candidacy and catheterization laboratory preparedness. Centers were categorized based on the current degree of disease burden in that community (as of April 1, 2020). Data and consensus opinion were utilized to develop recommendations.
Results: Respondents belonged to 56 unique US centers, with 27 (48.2%) located in counties with a high number of COVID-19 cases. All centers have canceled elective procedures. There was relative uniformity (>88% agreement) among centers as to which procedures were considered elective. To date, only three centers have performed a catheterization on a confirmed COVID-19 positive patient. Centers located in areas with a higher number of COVID-9 cases have been more involved in a simulation of donning and doffing personal protective equipment (PPE) than low-prevalence centers (46.7% vs 10.3%, respectively; P<.001). Currently, only a small fraction of operators has been reassigned to provide clinical services outside their scope of practice.
Conclusions: At this stage in the COVID-19 pandemic, pediatric/congenital catheterization laboratories have dramatically reduced case volumes. This document serves to define current patterns and provides guidance and recommendations on the preservation and repurposing of resources to help pediatric cardiac programs develop strategies for patient care during this unprecedented crisis.
Keywords: COVID-19; cardiac catheterization; congenital heart disease; pandemic; personal protective equipment.