Direct and indirect effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on patients with cardiomyopathy

Open Heart. 2022 Jan;9(1):e001918. doi: 10.1136/openhrt-2021-001918.


Objectives: (1) To evaluate the prevalence and hospitalisation rate of COVID-19 infections among patients with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) in the Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospital Cardiovascular Research Centre (RBHH CRC) Biobank. (2) To evaluate the indirect impact of the pandemic on patients with cardiomyopathy through the Heart Hive COVID-19 study. (3) To assess the impact of the pandemic on national cardiomyopathy-related hospital admissions.

Methods: (1) 1236 patients (703 DCM, 533 HCM) in the RBHH CRC Biobank were assessed for COVID-19 infections and hospitalisations; (2) 207 subjects (131 cardiomyopathy, 76 without heart disease) in the Heart Hive COVID-19 study completed online surveys evaluating physical health, psychological well-being, and behavioural adaptations during the pandemic and (3) 11 447 cardiomyopathy-related hospital admissions across National Health Service (NHS) England were studied from NHS Digital Hospital Episode Statistics over 2019-2020.

Results: A comparable proportion of patients with cardiomyopathy in the RBHH CRC Biobank had tested positive for COVID-19 compared with the UK population (1.1% vs 1.6%, p=0.14), but a higher proportion of those infected were hospitalised (53.8% vs 16.5%, p=0.002). In the Heart Hive COVID-19 study, more patients with cardiomyopathy felt their physical health had deteriorated due to the pandemic than subjects without heart disease (32.3% vs 13.2%, p=0.004) despite only 4.6% of the cardiomyopathy cohort reporting COVID-19 symptoms. A 17.9% year-on-year reduction in national cardiomyopathy-related hospital admissions was observed in 2020.

Conclusion: Patients with cardiomyopathy had similar reported rates of testing positive for COVID-19 to the background population, but those with test-proven infection were hospitalised more frequently. Deterioration in physical health amongst patients could not be explained by COVID-19 symptoms, inferring a significant contribution of the indirect consequences of the pandemic.

Trial registration number: NCT04468256.

Keywords: COVID-19; cardiomyopathies; delivery of health care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • COVID-19* / psychology
  • COVID-19* / therapy
  • Cardiomyopathy, Dilated* / epidemiology
  • Cardiomyopathy, Dilated* / therapy
  • Cardiomyopathy, Hypertrophic* / epidemiology
  • Cardiomyopathy, Hypertrophic* / therapy
  • Comorbidity
  • Emotional Adjustment
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility* / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Services Accessibility* / trends
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health* / statistics & numerical data
  • Mental Health* / trends
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • SARS-CoV-2 / isolation & purification
  • State Medicine / statistics & numerical data*
  • Survival Analysis
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology

Associated data