Challenges in managing ST elevation myocardial infarction during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may contribute to delayed presentations of acute myocardial infarction. Delayed presentation with late reperfusion is often associated with an increased risk of mechanical complications and adverse outcomes. Inherent delays are possible as every patient who is acutely sick is being considered a potential case or a career of COVID-19. Also, standardized personal protective equipment precautions are established for all members of the team, regardless of pending COVID-19 testing which might further add to delays.To compare performance measures and clinical outcomes of all patients who presented to our facility with ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) during the COVID-19 pandemic to same time cohort from 2019.All patients who presented to our facility with STEMI during the pandemic were compared to a matched cohort during the same time period in 2019. STEMI with unknown time of symptom onset and inpatient STEMI patients were excluded. Primary outcome was major adverse cardiac events (MACE) in-hospital and up to 14 d after STEMI, including death, myocardial infarction, cardiac arrest, or stroke. Significant differences among groups for continuous variables were tested through ANOVA, using SYSTAT, version 13. Chi-square tests of association were used to compare patient characteristics among groups using SYSTAT. Relative risk scores and associated tests for significance were calculated for discrete variables using MedCalc (MedCalc Software, Ostend, Belgium).There was a significantly longer time interval from symptom onset to first medical contact (FMC) in the COVID-19 group (P < 0.02). Time to first electrocardiogram, door-to-balloon time, and FMC to balloon time were not significantly affected. The right coronary artery was the most common culprit for STEMI in both the cohorts. Over 60% of patients had one or more obstructive (> 50%) lesion(s) remote from the culprit site. In-hospital and 14 d MACE were more prevalent in the COVID-19 group (P < 0.01 and P < 0.001).This single academic center study in the United States suggests that there is a delay in patients with STEMI seeking medical attention during the COVID-19 pandemic which could be translating into worse clinical outcomes.

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Authors: Megan Smith, Aniruddha Singh, Douglas McElroy, Shilpi Mittal, Richard Pham