Background: Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, cath labs have had to modify their workflow for elective and urgent patients.
Methods: We surveyed 16 physicians across 3 hospitals in our healthcare system to address COVID-19 related concerns in the management of interventional and structural heart disease patients, and to formulate system wide criteria for deferring cases till after the pandemic.
Results: Our survey yielded common concerns centered on the need to protect patients, cath lab staff and physicians from unnecessary exposure to COVID-19; for COVID-19 testing prior to arrival to the cath lab; for clear communication between the referring physician and the interventionalist; but there was initial uncertainty among physicians regarding the optimal management of ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI; percutaneous coronary intervention versus thrombolytics). Patients with stable angina and hemodynamically stable acute coronary syndromes were deemed suitable for initial medical management, except when they had large ischemic burden. Most transcatheter aortic valve implantations (TAVI) were felt appropriate for postponement except in symptomatic patients with aortic valve area <0.5 cm2 or recent hospitalization for heart failure (HF). Most percutaneous mitral valve repair (pMVR) procedures were felt appropriate for postponement except in patients with HF. All left atrial appendage closure (LAAC) and patent foramen ovale (PFO)/atrial septal defect (ASD) closure procedures were felt appropriate for postponement.
Conclusion: Our survey of an experienced team of clinicians yielded concise guidelines to direct the management of CAD and structural heart disease patients during the initial phases of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Keywords: COVID; Cath lab; Structural.
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