Intensive cardiac care unit admission trends during the COVID-19 outbreak in Italy: a multi-center study

Intern Emerg Med. 2021 Nov;16(8):2077-2086. doi: 10.1007/s11739-021-02718-8. Epub 2021 Mar 25.


A significant decline in the admission to intensive cardiac care unit (ICCU) has been noted in Italy during the COVID-19 outbreak. Previous studies have provided data on clinical features and outcome of these patients, but information is still incomplete. In this multicenter study conducted in six ICCUs, we enrolled consecutive adult patients admitted to ICCU in three specific time intervals: from February 8 to March 9, 2020 [before national lockdown (pre-LD)], from March 10 to April 9, 2020 [during the first period of national lockdown (in-LD)] and from May 18 to June 17, 2020 [soon after the end of all containment measures (after-LD)]. Compared to pre-LD, in-LD was associated with a significant drop in the admission to ICCU for all causes (- 35%) and acute coronary syndrome (ACS; - 49%), with a rebound soon after-LD. The in-LD reduction was greater for women (- 49%) and NSTEMI (- 61%) compared to men (- 28%) and STEMI (- 33%). Length-of-stay, and in-hospital mortality did not show any significant change from to pre-LD to in-LD in the whole population as well as in the ACS group. This study confirms a notable reduction in the admissions to ICCUs from pre-LD to in-LD followed by an increment in the admission rates after-LD. These data strongly suggest that people, particularly women and patients with NSTEMI, are reluctant to seek medical care during lockdown, possibly due to the fear of viral infection. Such a phenomenon, however, was not associated with a rise in mortality among patients who get hospitalization.

Keywords: COVID-19; Intensive cardiac care unit.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Acute Coronary Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology*
  • COVID-19 / therapy
  • Comorbidity
  • Coronary Care Units*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Non-ST Elevated Myocardial Infarction / epidemiology*
  • Non-ST Elevated Myocardial Infarction / therapy
  • Patient Admission / statistics & numerical data
  • Patient Admission / trends*
  • Risk Assessment