Short-term outcome associated with remote evaluation (telecardiology) of patients with cardiovascular diseases during the COVID-19 pandemic

Int J Cardiol Heart Vasc. 2020 Oct;30:100625. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcha.2020.100625. Epub 2020 Sep 2.


Introduction: During the recent COVID-19 outbreak, Italian health authorities mandated to replace in-person outpatient evaluations with remote evaluations.

Methods: From March 16th 2020 to April 22th 2020, all outpatients scheduled for in-person cardiac evaluations were instead evaluated by phone. We aimed to report the short-term follow-up of 345 patients evaluated remotely and to compare it with a cohort of patients evaluated in-person during the same period in 2019.

Results: During a mean follow-up of 54 ± 11 days, a significantly higher proportion of patients evaluated in-person in 2019 visited the emergency department or died for any cause (39/391, 10% versus 13/345 3.7%, p = 0.001) and visited the emergency department for cardiovascular causes (19/391, 4.9% versus 7/345, 2.0%, p = 0.04) compared to 2020. No cardiovascular death was recorded in the two periods. To an evaluation with a satisfaction questionnaire 49% of patients would like to continue using remote controls in addition to traditional ones.

Conclusion: These findings may have important implications for the management of patients during the current COVID-19 pandemic because they suggest that remote cardiovascular evaluations may replace in-hospital visits for a limited period.

Keywords: COVID 19; Telecardiology.