The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has been associated with a declining volume of patients seen in the emergency department. Despite the need for seeking urgent care for conditions such as myocardial infarction, many people may not seek treatment. This study seeks to measure associations between the COVID-19 pandemic and location of death among individuals who died from ischemic heart disease (IHD). Data obtained from death certificates from the Arkansas Department of Health was used to conduct a difference-in-difference analysis to assess whether decedents of IHD were more likely to die at home during the pandemic (March 2020 through September 2020). The analysis compared location of death for decedents of IHD pre and during the pandemic to location of death for decedents from non-natural causes. Before the pandemic, 50.0% of decedents of IHD died at home compared to 57.9% dying at home during (through September 2020) the pandemic study period (p < .001). There was no difference in the proportion of decedents who died at home from non-natural causes before and during the pandemic study period (55.8% vs. 53.5%; p = .21). After controlling for confounders, there was a 48% increase in the odds of dying at home from IHD during the pandemic study period (p < .001) relative to the change in dying at home due to non-natural causes. During the study period, there was an increase in the proportion of decedents who died at home due to IHD. Despite the ongoing pandemic, practitioners should emphasize the need to seek urgent care during an emergency.
Keywords: COVID-19; Ischemic heart disease; Mortality.
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