The mystery of "missing" visits in an emergency cardiology department, in the era of COVID-19.; a time-series analysis in a tertiary Greek General Hospital

Clin Res Cardiol. 2020 Dec;109(12):1483-1489. doi: 10.1007/s00392-020-01682-1. Epub 2020 Jun 6.


Background: In the era of the current COVID-19 health crisis, the aim of the present study was to explore population behavior as regards the visits in the Εmergency Cardiology department (ECD) of a tertiary General Hospital that does not hospitalize SARS-CoV-2 infected patients METHODS AND RESULTS: Daily number of visits at the EDC and admissions to Cardiology Wards and Intensive Care Unit of a tertiary General Hospital, in Athens, Greece, were retrieved from hospital's database (January 1st-April 30th 2018, 2019 and 2020). A highly significant reduction in the visits at ECD of the hospital during March and April 2020 was observed as compared with January and February of the same year (p for linear trend < ·001); in particular the number of visits was 41.1% lower in March 2020 and 32.7% lower in April 2020, as compared to January 2020. As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases throughout the country increased (i.e., from February 26th to April 2nd) the number of visits at ECD decreased (p = 0.01), whereas, the opposite was observed in the period afterwards (p = 0.01).The number of acute Myocardial infarctions (MI) cases in March 2020 was the lowest compared to the entire three year period (p < 0·001); however, the number of acute MI cases in April 2020 was doubled as compared to March 2020, but still was lower than the preceding years (p < 0·001).

Conclusions: It is hard to explain the mystery of the "missing" emergency hospital visits. However, if this decline in cardiovascular disease related hospital visits is "true", it is something that needs to be rigorously studied, to learn how to keep these rates down.

Keywords: Covid19; Emergency cardiological department; Missing visits.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 / epidemiology
  • COVID-19 / prevention & control*
  • COVID-19 / transmission
  • Cardiology Service, Hospital / trends*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / therapy*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / trends*
  • Greece / epidemiology
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Services Accessibility / trends
  • Health Services Needs and Demand / trends
  • Hospitals, General / trends*
  • Humans
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Patient Admission / trends*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tertiary Care Centers / trends*
  • Time Factors