Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has introduced a major disruption to the delivery of routine health care across the world. This provides challenges for the use of secondary prevention measures in patients with established atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (CVD). The aim of this Position Statement is to review the implications for effective delivery of secondary prevention strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Challenges: The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced limitations for many patients to access standard health services such as visits to health care professionals, medications, imaging and blood tests as well as attendance at cardiac rehabilitation. In addition, the pandemic is having an impact on lifestyle habits and mental health. Taken together, this has the potential to adversely impact the ability of practitioners and patients to adhere to treatment guidelines for the prevention of recurrent cardiovascular events.
Recommendations: Every effort should be made to deliver safe, ongoing access to health care professionals and the use of evidenced based therapies in individuals with CVD. An increase in use of a range of electronic health platforms has the potential to transform secondary prevention. Integrating research programs that evaluate the utility of these approaches may provide important insights into how to develop more optimal approaches to secondary prevention beyond the pandemic.
Keywords: Atherosclerosis; COVID-19; Cardiac rehabilitation; Cardiovascular disease; Secondary prevention; Telehealth.
Copyright © 2020 Australian and New Zealand Society of Cardiac and Thoracic Surgeons (ANZSCTS) and the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand (CSANZ). Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.