Predicted clinical and economic burden associated with reduction in access to acute coronary interventional care during the COVID-19 lockdown in two European countries

Eur Heart J Qual Care Clin Outcomes. 2024 Jan 12;10(1):25-35. doi: 10.1093/ehjqcco/qcad025.


Aims: As a consequence of untimely or missed revascularization of ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) patients during the COVID-19 pandemic, many patients died at home or survived with serious sequelae, resulting in potential long-term worse prognosis and related health-economic implications.This analysis sought to predict long-term health outcomes [survival and quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs)] and cost of reduced treatment of STEMIs occurring during the first COVID-19 lockdown.

Methods and results: Using a Markov decision-analytic model, we incorporated probability of hospitalization, timeliness of PCI, and projected long-term survival and cost (including societal costs) of mortality and morbidity, for STEMI occurring during the first UK and Spanish lockdowns, comparing them with expected pre-lockdown outcomes for an equivalent patient group.STEMI patients during the first UK lockdown were predicted to lose an average of 1.55 life-years and 1.17 QALYs compared with patients presenting with a STEMI pre-pandemic. Based on an annual STEMI incidence of 49 332 cases, the total additional lifetime costs calculated at the population level were £36.6 million (€41.3 million), mainly driven by costs of work absenteeism. Similarly in Spain, STEMI patients during the lockdown were expected to survive 2.03 years less than pre-pandemic patients, with a corresponding reduction in projected QALYs (-1.63). At the population level, reduced PCI access would lead to additional costs of €88.6 million.

Conclusion: The effect of a 1-month lockdown on STEMI treatment led to a reduction in survival and QALYs compared to the pre-pandemic era. Moreover, in working-age patients, untimely revascularization led to adverse prognosis, affecting societal productivity and therefore considerably increasing societal costs.

Keywords: COVID-19; Myocardial infarction; Quality of life; health economy.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Communicable Disease Control
  • Financial Stress
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • Percutaneous Coronary Intervention*
  • ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction* / epidemiology
  • ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction* / surgery