Collateral damage of COVID-19 pandemic: Delayed medical care

J Card Surg. 2020 Jun;35(6):1345-1347. doi: 10.1111/jocs.14638. Epub 2020 May 17.


During the COVID-19 pandemic, emergency room visits have drastically decreased for non-COVID conditions such as appendicitis, heart attack, and stroke. Patients may be avoiding seeking medical attention for fear of catching the deadly condition or as an unintended consequence of stay-at-home orders. This delay in seeking care can lead to increased morbidity and mortality, which has not been figured in the assessment of the extent of damage caused by this pandemic. This case illustrates an example of "collateral damage" caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. What would have been a standard ST-elevation myocardial infarction treated with timely and successful stenting of a dominant right coronary artery occlusion, became a much more dangerous postinfarction ventricular septal defect; all because of a 2-day delay in seeking medical attention by an unsuspecting patient.

Keywords: COVID-19; coronary artery disease; postinfarction ventricular septal defect.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Delayed Diagnosis
  • Echocardiography / methods
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Heart Rupture, Post-Infarction / diagnostic imaging*
  • Heart Rupture, Post-Infarction / surgery
  • Heart Septal Defects, Ventricular / diagnostic imaging
  • Heart Septal Defects, Ventricular / etiology*
  • Heart Septal Defects, Ventricular / surgery
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics
  • Patient Safety
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology*
  • Risk Assessment
  • ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction / complications
  • ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction / diagnostic imaging*
  • ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction / therapy*
  • Time Factors
  • Time-to-Treatment*
  • Treatment Outcome