Optimising Secondary Prevention and Cardiac Rehabilitation for Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Position Statement From the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand (CSANZ)

Heart Lung Circ. 2020 Jul;29(7):e99-e104. doi: 10.1016/j.hlc.2020.04.007. Epub 2020 Apr 30.


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.

Publication types

  • Letter

MeSH terms

  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Betacoronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • Cardiac Rehabilitation* / methods
  • Cardiac Rehabilitation* / trends
  • Cardiology* / methods
  • Cardiology* / organization & administration
  • Cardiology* / trends
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / complications
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / prevention & control
  • Consensus
  • Coronavirus Infections* / epidemiology
  • Coronavirus Infections* / prevention & control
  • Delivery of Health Care / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Infection Control / organization & administration*
  • New Zealand / epidemiology
  • Pandemics* / prevention & control
  • Pneumonia, Viral* / epidemiology
  • Pneumonia, Viral* / prevention & control
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Secondary Prevention* / methods
  • Secondary Prevention* / organization & administration
  • Societies, Medical