Emergency activations for chest pain and ventricular arrhythmias related to regional COVID-19 across the US

Sci Rep. 2021 Dec 14;11(1):23959. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-03243-6.


Evidence that patients may avoid healthcare facilities for fear of COVID-19 infection has heightened the concern that true rates of myocardial infarctions have been under-ascertained and left untreated. We analyzed data from the National Emergency Medical Services Information System (NEMSIS) and incident COVID-19 infections across the United States (US) between January 1, 2020 and April 30, 2020. Grouping events by US Census Division, multivariable adjusted negative binomial regression models were utilized to estimate the relationship between COVID-19 and EMS cardiovascular activations. After multivariable adjustment, increasing COVID-19 rates were associated with less activations for chest pain and non-ST-elevation myocardial infarctions. Simultaneously, increasing COVID-19 rates were associated with more activations for cardiac arrests, ventricular fibrillation, and ventricular tachycardia. Although direct effects of COVID-19 infections may explain these discordant observations, these findings may also arise from patients delaying or avoiding care for myocardial infarction, leading to potentially lethal consequences.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / epidemiology*
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / etiology
  • COVID-19 / complications
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology*
  • Chest Pain / epidemiology*
  • Chest Pain / etiology
  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Non-ST Elevated Myocardial Infarction / epidemiology
  • Non-ST Elevated Myocardial Infarction / genetics
  • United States / epidemiology